When I was fifteen, I remember watching a documentary about April Fabb. She went missing in Norfolk in the sixties, only her bicycle was found. To this day, no one knows what happened to her.I remember watching the pain of her family and how, many years on, her parents still expected to see her walk up the garden path. It has stayed with me ever since and is partly where the idea for Memory Scents came from. I have always wondered if it's better to know what happened to your child and what I would do in that situation? I would probably write love letters to my child in a desperate attempt to keep them alive...
I also read a lot about Mary Bell when I was younger. She killed two children in the fifties when she was just a child herself. I was intrigued to know what led her to these actions and the never ending question of nature versus nurture. Years later when I returned to a book written about Mary Bell, I came up with the idea for Shell House which is loosely based on her. My sister and I visited The Shell Museum in Glandford near Holt and I was fascinated by the glass cabinets filled with a lifetime of collecting. A few days later, I was going out for the day with a very dear friend and she asked if we could stop via the hospital where she worked, so that she could hand in some coursework. She said she might be a little while and did I want to come in and wait. I declined and told her I would buy a newspaper from the shop and was happy to sit and have a read. Whilst I was in the shop I bought a notepad and pen. As I sat in the warm car reading the paper, something began to form in my mind about The Shell Museum and Mary Bell and I began to write. Don't ask me how I connected the two because I have no idea! I see my books, in a strange way, as children and each one has a private name separate to the title. This is due to the fact that it usually takes me nine months to write a book and I feel that I go through a lot of similar emotions as it is growing and developing...I certainly experience the post natal emotions when I've finished a book! I'm happy, sad, bereft, exhausted, happy, sad, bereft, exhausted...!! So, it seems ironic that Shell House was conceived in the Queen Elizabeth's hospital car park in the car of a Midwife!
A few years ago a ginger cat arrived on our doorstep all the way from Northern Ireland. He has a very strange curly tail and a big personality (not uncommon in ginger cats) and he inspired me to try a new style of writing. His name is Mr. Wilfred Ginge and I quickly became his ghost writer (he struggles with writing having baked beans on his paws instead of fingers)and we began to write a weekly blog which can be viewed on our website www.wilfredginge.co.uk. It has recently been made into a book, Wilfred, Fanny and Floyd: Autobiographical Sketches of a Culinary Genius.
I enjoy the contrast between light and dark and both subjects suit me well. I am currently writing another psychological thriller similar to Memory Scents called Beneath the Miasma. This is about a sociopath and his twin sister and how they cope with the various events of their traumatic lives. Their father has been sentenced to life in prison for the murder of their mother nearly thirty years after she went missing. Both of them have very different opinions about what happened and it threatens to ruin their lives and the lives of those around them. That's all I'm saying about it for now, I don't want to give too much away!
I am also writing another book alongside this called, Anonymous. Shell House has been described as a psychological portrait and Anonymous is along the same lines, although it is an entirely different story. This is about the mental health problems of a young woman who decides to give her baby away, leaving her husband to choose between the two of them. Like Shell House, it's very sad, so I am glad of the light relief that Wilfred's writing brings me!
We are represented by The Feldstein Agency and snippets of my work, and Wilfred's can be viewed there or on the www.wilfredginge.co.uk website. All three books are available as ebooks at Amazon.