Please welcome today’s guest on the Mystery November book tour, it’s Throne Moore and her book A Time For Silence.
Where is your home town?
I was born and grew up in Luton, and still think of myself as a Lutonian, but for the past 30 years I’ve lived in North Pembrokeshire, not far from Cardigan and this is very much my home now. No towns, exactly. Not even very serious villages, but a lot of farms, trees, hills, sea and sky.
How long have you been writing?
I remember discussing my writing ambitions at school, so at least 45 years. I wrote fantasy for years, then sci-fi, which I still enjoy writing, but most of what I produce now is strictly reality-based.
What is your favourite sub-genre of mystery?
Psychological. I’m more interested in examining why something happened rather than making a mystery of who or how.
Tell us where and when your book is set.
A Time For Silence is set mostly in North Pembrokeshire, in two periods. The chapters alternate between Sarah’s story, set in the present day, and her grandmother Gwen’s story, set in the 30s and 40s.
Please introduce us to Sarah.
Sarah is a young woman who apparently has everything – good career with prospects, high-flying fiancé – but in reality she’s completely lost her way. She’s looking for an escape and she finds it when she comes across her grandparents’ derelict farmhouse and discovers a family secret that she’d known nothing about.
Can you tell us a bit about Gwen and John?
Gwen belongs to a completely different world that Sarah, decades later, can’t begin to understand. Society, religion and economic necessity have placed her in a cramped and subservient position as the wife of John Owen and she thinks her guiding principle is duty, though in reality it’s pride. Her husband John struggles to survive as the tenant of a tiny farm. His proud determination is seen as a sterling virtue by the local community, but it’s the front of an obsessive controlling personality. As his wife and mother of his children, Gwen knows what lies beneath the surface.
What is the mystery element in this book?
John Owen was murdered. No one was ever charged. No one speaks about it. For Sarah, the mystery is who did it and how did they get away with it. The mystery, for the reader, is how it could have been allowed to happen and how it was all buried.
What inspired some of the ideas for the storyline?
Two local stories. There’s a derelict cottage near me, and I was told (never confirmed) that a crime was committed there and everyone, including the police, knew about it but nothing was done. What intrigued me was the idea of a society so closed and isolated that such blanket secrecy could be possible. I found the other story in a 1950s newspaper: a magistrates’ court report, concerning a young girl who was up before the bench for the ‘wicked crime’ of attempting suicide. Her explanation was brushed aside as a lie. Yet, reading between the lines, it was clear the magistrates did believe her but couldn’t openly acknowledge something that would undermine their understanding of the way society worked. That may sound too cryptic, but I don’t want to give the whole book away.
Tell us what you are working on at the moment.
I’m just waiting for the final edit of my second book, Motherlove, which will be published in February. It’s less focussed on Pembrokeshire, but like A Time For Silence, it’s split between periods – the present day and 1990. There’s a crime that’s just as bad as murder, but is there really a criminal? After that, I’m working on a couple of mysteries, both set in Pembrokeshire.
Where can readers find out more about you?
I have a website: www.thornemoore.co.uk, which has links to several interviews, as well as lots of photos of North Pembrokeshire, just to set the scene. I also have a Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/thornemoorenovelist
My Twitter account is @ThorneMoore
Honno Press: http://www.honno.co.uk/dangos.php?ISBN=9781906784454
Amazon.co.uk: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Time-Silence-A-Thorne-Moore/dp/1906784450/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1384095395&sr=8-1 (sorry, is the link really that long?)