In The Chair 69: Nell Peters

Welcome, Nell Peters.

11102784_844407928976852_7866671121152746412_nHow would you describe your writing style in only three words?

Nell: Pantster. Twisty. Humorous (until my editor gets his big red pen out!)

If you could have a relationship with one of your fictional characters who would it be and why?

Nell: Assuming it doesn’t have to be a sexual relationship, that would be protagonist DCI Rose Huntingford from the series Double You, Santa’s Slays and (working title) Be Sure Your Sins. Rose is all the Fs – fat, forties, frustrated and fantasising about a job where she’d never again have to look at a dead body or haul herself out of bed before dawn. She has done well to progress so far in the patriarchal Met, but secretly longs to vegetate between designated coffee and lunch breaks in a proper job and get herself a life before it’s too late. I’m very fond of the character, not least because I took her name from my paternal great grandmother, who was born in extreme poverty in Kingston-upon-Thames Workhouse in 1876. Her mother, also Rose, was born there too and it’s impossible to imagine how hard their lives must have been. Real Rose also could have been crushed by the patriarchy and class constraints of Victorian society, but managed to pull herself up by the bootstraps and marry a wealthy landowner – the sort of social mobility that was almost unheard of in those times. What a gal! But then so is DCI Rose, albeit in a very different way.

If you had to exist for a week in one of your books … which one would it be? Would you be a central character or simply watch the story unfold from the sidelines?

Nell: I’d be an also-ran in one of my back list, The Call. It would be entertaining to listen to Gabrielle – an is-she-isn’t-she guardian angel – telling her charge, history teacher Chris Salmon, stories from ‘the other side’. She also puts him right about historical fact – for instance that Jack the Ripper was actually a woman, and why the Titanic really sank. I could learn a lot.

Dead or alive literary dinner party: who would you invite, and what would you serve?

o-jamie-oliver-facebookNell: I’ve sat in this chair before, and went for the usual suspects like Agatha Christie and Ian Rankin – also Jean Jacques Rousseau, because I wrote a dissertation on him and wondered if he’d approve. This time, however, I’d invite some of my fellow Accent authors and others whom I’ve ‘met’ on social media. It’s a huge list, but let’s start with Jan Ruth (she’d only sulk if I didn’t invite her), Jenny Kane, Kelly Hambly, Gilli Allan, Eric McFarlane, Jane Risdon, Georgina Troy, Pete Adams and Eva Jordan. That will be enough for the first sitting, I think – even though we have a 9’ dining table (huge family!) people need elbow room. I loathe cooking and I’m rubbish at it, so I’ll sneak in one additional guest – Jamie Oliver – on condition he does the honours.

If you had to write in a different genre which would it be and why?

shutterstock_185032865-700x467Nell: I recently wrote a 1500 word piece for a charity horror anthology. I don’t generally read or write horror – and I’ve never even seen The Exorcist, but when I was asked to submit, I thought I’d give it a go. And I really enjoyed the whole exercise, helped by the fact that the ‘horror’ brief was pretty loose and humour was allowed (phew!) My story wasn’t uber-gory or full of decapitated ghouls with running sores – nor indeed did it feature any scaly monsters with eight flashing red eyes. I mostly relied upon the suggestion of something ghastly and I suppose it also drifted into the paranormal. I’m not sure if I could manage a full length novel, but I’d certainly give it my best shot.    

What do you dislike the most about being an author?

Nell: Self-promo! I’m an introverted soul and I don’t like to raise my head above the parapet – my mother’s words, ‘Who on earth do you think wants to hear what you have to say?’ remain forever echoing around my head.

Favourite word? Nell: WINE!

Nell Peters was in the chair, author of:

Hostile Witness:

By Any Other Name:


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