Please welcome the fabulous Anne Lown to the StudioBlog, and believe us when we say fabulous. This woman can write! The Chapel End Mysteries series is going to be amazing if the prequel and book one are anything to go by. If you love the quiet village where suddenly things start going bad, then this is the series for you.

Studioenp: Silence or noise when writing?

Anne Lown: Silence, I get too easily distracted with competing sounds.

 

Studioenp: Yes, silence is best for Em, too. What’s your latest release?

Anne Lown:Parcels of Doom from the Chapel End Mysteries series.

 

Studioenp: Love this book—LOVE! How did the plot come about for it?

Anne Lown: I love to tease people I am friendly with. I liked to make up little stories about my colleagues just for them, and we would have fun. After not being able to work out what I was doing for a different story idea, I realised I was surrounded by great characters and had a knowledge of my job, which hadn’t been covered in my chosen genre. I said to one lady that she would make a fantastic protagonist and joked about what she would be getting up to in the story. The idea slowly grew as more of my colleagues became characters. They are such vibrant people that it was easy to give them a story arc even if their personality was changed. The characters are not actually them personally in the stories, but built from the seed of the idea, that is why they are all so different. To lay the story out I used a beat sheet from Jami Gold and allowed the characters to help lead the way.

 

Studioenp: Cool! How long did it take you to write it?

Anne Lown: The story took months to write because I was new to the process and I was still working at the time. That was the first draft. I then put it aside for nearly a year while I wrote other first drafts for further novels. When I left my job, I knuckled down and rewrote the story in two months because I scrutinised every sentence to follow the advice of a good friend. The editing didn’t take long, though, my editor is wonderful.

 

Studioenp: Hee hee. Wonder who that is. Hmm… What’s next on your writing list?

Anne Lown: I am currently rewriting book two after publishing book one and a reader magnet (Would They Miss Me?). I am also working on book one for another series of novellas.

 

Studioenp: Oooh, that sounds fab! Plotter or panster?

Anne Lown: Plot Gardener. It is a term coined by Chris Fox for his book on craft, Plot Gardening. It covers people who are neither truly plotters nor pansters. I plot bits and I panst other parts. Once I get so far with a story, I reevaluate where I am, what has happened so far, and what needs to come next. The great thing is, I never know who the killer will be, so it’s as exciting to write as it is to read.

 

Studioenp: Brilliant! What is your go-to form of procrastination?

Anne Lown: Facebook. I love to see what my friends are up to. Being friends with other authors can be exciting, especially when they are getting ready to launch a new title.

 

Studioenp: Ah, everyone’s place to procrastinate lol. How many hours per week do you write?

Anne Lown: I have no idea. Being an author is now my job, so I work at it every day. Some days I write for hours and other days it is hard to sit down and concentrate. If I am moving forward in some way, I am happy.

 

Studioenp: Great way to look at it. What’s one genre you’ve always wanted to write but haven’t—and will you ever write it?

Anne Lown: Police Procedural. That was the book I tried to write in the beginning when I didn’t know what I was doing. I managed to write 50,000 words, but knew I needed to do a learning curve. That is why I started again with a cosy mystery type story. I will return to my character in the first book and redo what is already there, but with a better understanding of what is involved.

 

Studioenp: Can’t wait for that one! What’s the best book you’ve written?

Anne Lown: Parcels of Doom, but the readers seem to love Would They Miss Me? too.

 

Studioenp: They are both utterly fab, and your way with words is amazing. So very well done, you, and good luck with this series—not that you need it!

Dear readers, please help yourself to a nice hot chocolate—bit nippy here in the UK—and a cinnamon bun, then relax and enjoy the excerpt.

Blurb for Parcels of Doom:

When a villager returns, evil stirs.

Bad omens appear in a shop.

 

Two decades after a teenager's suicide, the manner of her death is brought into question.

The police refuse to reopen the case, but someone has taken an interest.

Postwoman Jenny Reid reluctantly gets caught up in the mystery.

Is the old case really connected to current events?

Can Jenny flush out a killer and bring an end to her fears?

Excerpt from Parcels of Doom:

The glass pane cracked, a noise so sharp Jenny leapt from her chair. Someone banged on the door, a thunderous sound matched by her heart at the sudden intrusion. The hammering turned to thuds when something connected with the edge near the lock. Jenny rushed to open it before it could break. Scott stood in front of her, weeping breaths catching in his chest. The sight of him upset weakened her knees.

 

“You can’t be here,” she said.

 

The words affected him more than she’d expected, and he crumpled to the path. Scott’s head of curly brown hair grazed the concrete while spittle dribbled from his mouth and into his beard.

 

“You can’t be here,” Jenny repeated, but it was harder to say it the second time. Seeing him on his knees, broken, wrenched her emotions. She covered her quivering chin with her hands, biting her lip to keep her nerve. The stress from seeing her ex-fiancé wracked with torment tore at her insides. This was not how it should be.

 

Scott gulped air and whimpered, “You can’t leave me.”

 

It was a mantra she’d heard many times of late.

 

“We split up, remember?”

 

He howled. Jenny flitted her gaze to the houses opposite, searching for signs of disturbance. Scott rolled from his knees onto his back, arms outstretched and getting louder with every moment that passed. A pungent aroma wafted up to her—he must’ve been drinking alcohol all day.

 

Her impulse was to reach out to him, but it was imperative to resist and remain strong. She’d decided, and he’d have to accept it.

 

“Is everything all right?” a strange male voice called from out of the darkness, the man hidden by the bushes at the end of her garden.

 

Relieved, Jenny looked up and welcomed the intrusion. The chill breeze caressed her skin, and she shivered, hugging herself.

 

Scott continued to howl.

 

“It’s fine. Really,” she told the stranger.

 

The man stepped through the gate and came closer. He was nearing forty, a similar age to both Jenny and Scott. His clothing resembled a caricature of a past decade, a new romantic or some such thing. His long, open trench coat flapped from a gust of wind to reveal jeans, a crew neck sweater, and on his feet, trainers. The sleeves were rolled partway up his forearms, his blond hair spiked like the early eighties. Jenny was so grateful he didn’t have a mullet, or she would’ve burst out laughing.

 

“Are you sure?” the stranger asked, his brow furrowed.

 

A movement flickered below her. Scott had stopped the tears and got to his feet. He thrust out his chest and shouted, “Of course she’s sure.”

 

She placed a hand on his arm, but he shrugged it off. “Scott, it’s fine.” She’d been in this situation, too many times. He’d change from emotionally sensitive to angry and brutal in a flash. A fight was about to take place—it was the last thing she needed.

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