Today I'm joined by Alice Castle, author of the London crime series, featuring Dulwich amateur investigator, Beth Haldane and DI Harry York.
Before turning to crime, Alice Castle was a UK newspaper journalist for The Daily Express, The Times and The Daily Telegraph. Her first book, Hot Chocolate, set in Brussels and London, was a European hit and sold out in two weeks. Death in Dulwich was published in September 2017 and has been a number one best-seller in the UK, US, France, Spain and Germany. A sequel, The Girl in the Gallery was published in December 2017 to critical acclaim. Calamity in Camberwell, the third book in the London Murder Mystery series, will be published this summer, with Homicide in Herne Hill due to follow in early 2019. Alice is currently working on the fifth London Murder Mystery adventure. Once again, it will feature Beth Haldane and DI Harry York. Alice is also a top mummy blogger and book reviewer via her website: www.alicecastleauthor.com. She lives in south London and is married with two children, two step-children and two cats.
Megan: Alice, welcome to Espresso Tales. What can I offer you to drink?
Alice: I'd love an Earl Grey tea with milk, please.
Megan: Absolutely. First off the bat, I'm a big fan. I loved Death in Dulwich and the Girl in the Gallery. I've noticed that in your books, your characters enjoy a good cup of coffee too - are there any of your characters you'd like to share a cuppa with?
Alice: I’d love to have coffee with my single mum amateur sleuth, Beth Haldane – partly because she has coffee all day long and knows all the best cafes. I’d least like to have coffee, or any other beverage, with Belinda MacKenzie, Queen Bee of the Village Primary playground and terrifying uber-mummy bossy boots.
Megan: I'd like to sit on that one I think, particularly if DI Harry York might make an appearance. I've loved the series thus far and the unfolding relationship between Beth and Harry. What are you currently working on? Will we see more of these two characters?
Alice: Yes, you will. I’m currently working on the next Beth Haldane mystery, the fifth in the series, and also a psychological thriller that I’m playing with.
Megan: Fantastic. Your background is in journalism - have you always enjoyed writing? When did you start?
Alice: I began writing as an eleven-year-old, with my first magazine, Good Mousekeeping, with cheese recipes and cat-avoidance tips.
Megan: That's so cute. I always like to hear about author's writing rituals - do you have any?
Alice: I have a ridiculous number of writing rituals! I write best in the morning but spend loads of time faffing before I get down to business. I work at the kitchen table so the family’s breakfast has to be out of the way, the washing has to be on and the dishwasher emptied. Then I prevaricate by looking at my emails, pottering on Twitter, completing two hands of bridge on No Fear Bridge (yes, really) and then do the Guardian concise crossword. By the time I’ve done all that, assuming it’s not already time for lunch, I can settle down to some work!
Megan: Do you find you are more of a planner or a pantser?
Alice: I’m a Planster – I have a vague outline in my head but I don’t like to tie my characters down too much. It’s amazing what they’ll get up to when they have a bit of leeway.
Megan: Does writing energise your or exhaust you?
Alice: It can be tiring, which is surprising as it doesn’t involve physical energy, apart from the pounding of fingers on the keyboard. It can be really satisfying if everything’s going well.
Megan: What sort of books do you like to read? Which authors do you most admire?
Alice: Whodunits are my favourite – of course! The last one I read was Val Penny’s Hunter’s Chase, set in Edinburgh, a real slice of tartan noir.
I admire all authors – it’s such a leap of faith to spend time pouring out your heart in the hope that someone else will be interested.
Megan: Thank you for joining me and I'll look forward the upcoming release of Calamity in Camberwell and the future books in the series.
Alice: Thanks for having me.
To learn more about Alice and her novels, visit:
To purchase, Alice's books:
The Girl in the Gallery
Death in Dulwich
Calamity in Camberwell (pre-order)