Welcome to today’s guest on the mystery November book tour, Juliet Greenwood and her book Eden’s Garden.
Where is your home town?
I live in a traditional quarryman’s cottage on the edges of a village in Snowdonia in North Wales, halfway between Conwy Castle and the romantic island of Anglesey. I lived and worked in London for several years, so I certainly appreciate the peace and quiet! It’s a very traditional village with one or two outrageous characters, and many an intriguing story to tell…
How long have you been writing?
All my life! I was first inspired by Rosemary Sutcliffe and wrote my first rip-roaring historical (set in Saxon times) at the age of ten, and never looked back. It’s taken me a long time to be actually published and begin to be the writer I want to be. It’s been a long learning curve, and I still feel I’m at the beginning, but I feel that it’s vital to the making of a long-term career as a writer.
What is your favourite sub-genre of mystery?
I love cosies (I’m squeamish) and historical mysteries. I love Miss Marple, who is still my comfort reading, Sara Waters and Elizabeth Peters’ Amelia Peabody murder mysteries set in Victorian Egypt starting with ‘The Crocodile on the Sandbank’ – may Amelia wield her trusty umbrella against cads and rascalians forever! Some of my favourite classics are Wilkie Collins and Dickens’ ‘Bleak House’ – Inspector Bucket is still my favourite detective.
Tell us where and when Eden’s Garden is set.
The story of Eden’s Garden moves between Cornwall and Wales, with a touch of London in between. It’s a timeshift, with two parallel stories taking place in contemporary and Victorian times.
Can you introduce us to Carys?
Carys is the heroine of the modern story. When we first meet her, she is in her thirties and at a crossroads in her life. She returns to her home village to look after her mother as she recovers from a fall, and finds herself becoming a historical sleuth to solve a mystery from the past. The story she uncovers challenges her own choices, and changes her future forever.
What is Plas Eden, who did she know there?
Plas Eden is a rambling old house on the outskirts of a village in southern Snowdonia. It is the ancestral home of the Meredith family and holds many memories, not least a collection of mysterious statues in its overgrown grounds that set Carys off on her journey of discovery into the past. As a child, Carys had been drawn into Plas Eden and the lives of the Merediths after a family tragedy. As she returns, she meets up again with her teenage sweetheart, David Meredith, who is trying to save the estate. But Plas Eden is haunted by past secrets, ones that threaten to destroy everything Carys and David hold dear….
Now tell us about Ann, please
Ann is the heroine of the Victorian strand of the mystery. We first meet her on Westminster Bridge, a young woman wracked with grief and guilt, who is has lost everything and feels she has nothing to live for. At the last minute, instead of throwing herself in the river, she makes her way to the nearby Meredith Charity Hospital, where her story becomes intertwined with that of Plas Eden and the Meredith family.
What is Carys looking for as she follows Ann’s trail?
Carys and David travel to Cornwall to try and uncover the story behind the mysterious statues, hoping to find a way of saving Plas Eden. As they begin to uncover the past, they are drawn into an increasingly terrifying story of love and betrayal, of redemption and the enduring power of female friendship.
Tell us what you are working on at the moment.
I’m writing my next historical mystery, this time set in Devon and London in the years between ‘Eden’s Garden’ and ‘We That are Left’, just before the First World War. It has a rambling old house, greed, betrayal and love – and maybe even a brick-wielding suffragette or two….
Where can readers find out more about you?
‘Eden’s Garden’, Honno Press, 2012
Finalist for ‘The People’s Book Prize’, May 2014
Amazon Kindle #5 June 2014
‘We That Are Left’, Honno Press, 2014
The Welsh Books Council’s Book of the Month, March 2014
The National Museum of Wales Book of the Month, March 2014
Waterstones Wales Book of the Month March, 2014
Amazon Kindle #4 May 2014