Lynne Milford’s novel, A Killer Christmas, was published by Readthrough Press on 15 November 2021.
Lynne kindly answered a few of my questions.
1. Tell us a little about A Killer Christmas.
It’s a seasonal special, part of the Allensbury Mysteries series, and is set in the local department store, Fenleys. The action starts at the opening of the Christmas window display. When the curtains open, well, let’s just say that things don’t go to plan! There’s a body in the display and Emma, the intrepid crime reporter at the Allensbury Post, swings into action to work out what’s going on – and to get the story of course.
2. What inspired the book?
I wanted to write something shorter for the Allensbury series and decided to make it a Christmas special. All good crime series have one. But I can’t really pinpoint the moment I came up with the idea. I love Christmas events so I probably thought ‘oooh, I wonder what would happen if the curtains open and something’s wrong?’. Then you carry on from there, who could have done it, means motive and opportunity.
This one sat in a Word doc on my laptop for a long time because I kept getting distracted, but I decided 2021 was the time to go for it!
3. Are you a plan, plan, plan writer or do you sit down and see where the words take you?
I’ve tried both ways and haven’t really found what works for me yet. I didn’t plan A Deadly Rejection or A Deadly Truth and they both took ages to write and then even longer to kick into shape. I write alongside a full-time job, so writing time is often restricted.
I planned the next novel to within an inch of its life and although I wrote it much faster, it still needs a lot of work. The feedback from my editor was brutal – completely right, as ever – but it shows I’ve still got a lot to learn. I think I need to find a middle ground between planning and pantsing that works. Who knows, by the time I get to book four maybe I’ll have found the right way to go.
4. Is there anything about the process of publishing a book that surprised you?
I decided to go down the self-publishing route so there were plenty of surprises. All of a sudden I was in charge of everything and I needed to build up a pretty slick team to get me through it. There’s the editing, proofreading, cover design, marketing, all the usual stuff, and it’s all on your head to get things right. It’s not easy but it’s worth it when you stand there with the paperback in your hand and you can say ‘I did that’. There is a team there, but at the end of the day it’s your book and I couldn’t be more proud of mine. Once the books start selling and you start to get positive feedback from readers, it makes all the hard work worthwhile!
5. What do you do when you aren’t writing? What do you do to relax and get away from it all?
I like to chill out in front of some crime drama, usually something like Midsomer Murders or Hudson & Rex (a Canadian crime drama where the detective’s sidekick is a former K9, a gorgeous German Shepherd). I do also like something a bit more psychological, but I have to be in the mood.
I’m also into crochet, which is mostly quite relaxing. I’m a bit of a worrier, but I find crochet to be as absorbing as writing. You have to focus on the pattern so it give my brain a break from thinking.
I also love Pilates and Feldenkrais. As a writer, you spend a lot of time sitting down and these are both activities that involve moving your body and understanding how it works. (Feldenkrais is hard to explain, but you can find out more here https://feldenkrais.com )
6. If you could only read one book for the rest of your life which book would it be?
Oooh, very good question. I think it would be a difficult choice between 4.50 from Paddington by Agatha Christie and either Pride & Prejudice or Persuasion by Jane Austen. The latter might win it just for That Speech from Captain Wentworth at the end. But they’re all the type of story that you can read over and over and not get bored. In fact, I suspect you could find new aspects every time that you’d not noticed before.
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?
You’re good at the tough questions, aren’t you? I don’t think I’ve ever been asked what music I listen to when I’m writing. The answer to that is usually classical music. I like the background noise but nothing with lyrics as that tends to get distracting. But I know I’m in the writing flow when I’ve missed a few pieces of music without realising it. I can have other music when doing other writing activities, like social media or something like that, but not while writing.
I do also have a playlist on Spotify for my main character Dan and I’ve been putting one together for my next full-length novel. It involves ballet so there’s a bit of Swan Lake and Romeo & Juliet going on.
About the Book
When the curtains open on the Fenleys department store Christmas window display, there’s a shock in store.
A man lies dead amid the snow and reindeer, stabbed in the back. But who would murder mild-mannered, gentle Adrian Kendall?
Crime reporter Emma Fletcher is immediately on the case, determined to find the killer.
When a friend becomes the police’s prime suspect, she ploughs ahead with her investigation, desperate to find the truth whatever the cost.
Emma has to decide who has been naughty or nice before someone else gets hurt.
A Killer Christmas is a seasonal special and the next enthralling adventure in the Allensbury Mysteries crime series.