Carmen Radtke – Q&A

Carmen Radtke’s latest novel, Let Sleeping Murder Lie, was published on 1 March 2021.

Carmen kindly answered a few of my questions.

1. Tell us a little about Let Sleeping Murder Lie. 

Let Sleeping Murder Lie is a story about a woman, Eve Holdsworth, who is chasing her quintessential British dream in an ivy-clad cottage. While she is absolutely aware that her idea of village life, inspired by old novels, may not even exist, she can’t resist it. Just like she can’t resist meddling in an unsolved crime, when she finds out that her new friend Ben is widely regarded as a wife murderer who escaped justice. What she doesn’t understand is why he is adamant to let the case rest and prefers to live with this shadow hanging over him. 

2. What inspired the book? 

Two things! First, there is my own infatuation with these timeless places where you’d expect Miss Marple to sit knitting or sleuthing with binoculars, when she proclaims to be birdwatching. There is something enchanting about these settings, despite their sky-high murder rates on the page. 

Also, I used to be a newspaper reporter and for a while I covered the police desk. “My” first murder case was never solved, and I always wondered how suspects would live with the aftermath, if they’re guilty or not. Would they stick around, and if so, why?  

Those two ideas combined gave me Let Sleeping Murder Lie, which lately is demanding to become a cozy series.  

3. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you? 

Good question. When I wrote my first mystery, The Case of the Missing Bride, I had my historical research and, because it was inspired by a true event, an idea about the beginning, the middle, and the end in my head. It worked, and the novel became a finalist in the Malice Domestic competition and was nominated for a CWA Historical Dagger. 

But nowadays I don’t start before I have an outline on page. It’s usually between two and four pages long and leaves me ample space for discovery, but I need it in case work and other issues prevent me from writing for a couple of months and I no longer have any idea whodunnit. True story! 

4. Is there anything about publishing that still surprises you? 

How bestsellerdom still eludes me … Jokes aside, I’m not sure it’s a surprise but I’m constantly amazed by the support from book lovers, bloggers, readers, and reviewers, as well as among authors. I have several friends who trust me to help with their books and vice versa. Writing is lonely, but once you’re done, there is a whole community to be discovered. 

5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all? 

Like most writers, when I’m not writing, I’m thinking about stories or characters or entertaining moments. I love travelling, I love reading (never enough time though, as a writer), and I’m taking tap-dance classes, although my enthusiasm and my talent aren’t exactly well-matched. Then there’s the cat to be spoilt and the family too is rarely allowing me to ignore them. 

6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be? 

That’s such a tough decision! But, as much as I adore Agatha Christie, Jane Austen, Joan Hess and a multitude of other writers, I’ll have to go with a book by Sir Terry Pratchett. For me it would probably be Carpe Jugulum, featuring the witches and a family of modern vampires, excuse me, vampyres. It is hilarious, witty, sharp, and underneath all the joking lurk important questions. Irresistible! 

7. I like to end my Q&As with the same question so here we go. During all the Q&As and interviews you’ve done what question have you not been asked that you wish had been asked – and what’s the answer? 

Another tough one! Maybe, how do you stay sane with all these different voices and stories in your head? The answer is, by writing them down. I only ever write a story that has been sticking with me for a while, because I’m not going to waste my time and love on an idea doomed to fizzle out or be replaced. Also, sanity can only be maintained if a writer learns to accept harsh and (at least in our opinion) unfair critique. If we’re lucky, we find readers who understand and love our work, but that’s not a given. That said, I have had the most wonderful messages and emails from readers. Oh, and one last thing. Chocolate is pretty much a must to keep going. Show me one masterpiece fuelled only by green salad! 

About the Book

Love can be the death of you …

American Eve Holdsworth is living her quintessential English dream in a picturesque village in the countryside. Meeting an attractive stranger adds to the appeal.

But Ben Dryden is a pariah in Eve’s new neighbourhood, since his wife was murdered five years ago, and he was the only suspect.

Eve, who is absolutely sure someone as charming as Ben could never be a killer is  determined to solve the case and clear Ben’s name, even if it’s against his will.

Soon enough Eve finds herself in deep waters, and with her life at stake, she can only pray that her romantic notions won’t be the end of her.

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