I’m honoured to have acclaimed crime/thriller author Frances di Plino answering questions about her brilliant series of novels which feature the enigmatic detective, Paolo Storey. She talks about her new novel, Someday Never Comes; gives some excellent advice about writing and even discusses her latest ‘work-in-progress’.
There are links to her websites – and don’t forget to buy Bad Moon Rising. You won’t regret it and you’ll be hooked and ready for the sequel out in August.Click on the cover image of Bad Moon Rising to purchase this gripping novel. Read my review below.
1. What are the main ideas or themes in this series of books?
The main theme is the age-old battle between good and evil – while recognising that no one is all good and no one is completely bad. I like to look at how even the most flawed people have aspects that lift them out of the ‘bad’ camp and into the ‘good’ – and vice versa.
My criminals have redeeming features and my protagonists have urges that don’t fit with the standard ‘good guy’ image.
2. What is the setting or context of the narrative? Why is it important?
My crime novels are set in a large town – the sort of place that is instantly recognisable to most people because they, too, live somewhere similar. I hope this gives the reader a sense of being inside the story. I want to make them feel that the events in the novel could happen in their town or even their street.
3. Tell us more about the main characters and their dilemmas.
The central character in my crime series is Detective Inspector Paolo Storey. He is of mixed parentage – Italian mother, Scottish father – and has had to cope with the tragedy of losing one of his daughters in a hit and run intended for him.
His biggest strength is also his greatest weakness – he is incapable of giving up. He doesn’t know how to let go of lost causes.
4. Why did you write these novels? Any other issues or ‘big ideas’ behind it.
I started out simply intending to write a basic crime thriller, but as the character of Paolo developed, I found I wanted to get deeper into the minds of both criminals and those hunting them down. As a result, my novels alternate in point of view between Paolo and his adversaries.
In Bad Moon Rising we are inside the head of the murderer from time to time, which was difficult to write at first, but it became easier as time went on. In fact, my husband got a bit spooked with how completely I identified with the killer.
In Someday Never Comes, which will be released by Crooked Cat Publishing on 16 August, the alternate point of view is that of a former rock star who is about a to make a comeback. Without going into detail and spoiling the book for readers, we know very early on in the book that the persona seen by the outside world bears little resemblance to the depraved creature he is behind closed doors.
I want to make readers think: if that person had taken a different path earlier in life, would he or she still have turned out like that? I’m a firm believer in nurture winning out over nature.
5. How do you go about writing a novel? Is it a simple or complex process?
For me, it starts with an idea that I allow to float around in my subconscious for a few weeks or months. When I find the characters start having conversations, I know it’s time to get to work. I write only the most basic outline initially.
After I’ve written a few chapters I then have a better idea of who the characters are and what they are capable of doing. At that point I write a full chapter by chapter breakdown of how the story will progress – however, that is subject to change as I write. Very often new characters will appear that hadn’t figured in the original outline – or existing characters will veer off and take a different path to the one I intended.
6. What advice do you have for less experienced writers?
Don’t stop and worry about your opening chapters. Too many new writers aim for perfection on the first draft and this stops them from ever completing a novel. You should only worry about editing and improving your story after you have written The End on the manuscript.
Diamonds in the rough look like lumps of worthless rock, but underneath lies a sparkling and valuable gem. That is what a first draft is – your raw material, ready to be polished until it shines like a diamond.
7. What are you working on next?
My current work in progress is Call it Pretending – number three in the Detective Inspector Paolo Storey series. It’s funny, I only ever intended to write one crime novel, but Paolo has become so real to me that I cannot now imagine my life without him in it.
8. If you could leave a message to the world, what would it be?
Let’s be kinder to each other. It’s very easy to be nice to people we like, but not so easy to extend that kindness to those we don’t like. Maybe if we looked harder for the good in others, instead of only seeing what is on the surface, we might change our lives and theirs for the better.
Frances di Plino is the pseudonym of columnist, editor, non-fiction author, short story writer, poet and writing tutor, Lorraine Mace. Writing as Frances di Plino gives her the opportunity to allow the dark side of her personality to surface and take control. She is currently working on Call it Pretending, the next in the Paolo Storey series following the highly acclaimed Bad Moon Rising and soon to be released, Someday Never Comes.
My Review for Bad Moon Rising
‘Bad Moon Rising’ is an exciting and challenging story. It follows the
investigation of a serial killer and explores the psychology of the murderer by
creating a genuine sense of danger and horror. Paulo, the detective and
protagonist, is a fully rounded character – and in the true tradition of
detective fiction is a greatly flawed and vulnerable individual. The characters
portrayed are incredibly real, with difficult relationships and complex lives.
Frances Di Plino keeps up the pace and action with gusto, with plenty of
narrative twists and red herrings to keep the reader guessing throughout. It’s
the kind of book that grabs your attention from page one and never relinquishes
its uncompromising grip. Thoroughly recommended.