Having so enjoyed my afternoon of romance with Yorkshire Author Promotions (you can catch up on my earlier post here), I was delighted to return to Harrogate Library for another event on Wednesday. You might remember that author Angela Wren was my guest here on Being Anne back in March 2017 (you can catch up on the post here, a lovely introduction to the Cévennes setting of her books), and I’m slightly ashamed that although I’ve added each new book to my kindle, they’re still languishing there unread (but hopefully not for too much longer).
There are now three Jacques Forêt mysteries – Messandrierre, Merle and Montbel, more details below – and I was really looking forward to catching up with Angela and offering some support for her talk. I thought the audience numbers might be low for a talk on a sunny Wednesday afternoon, but what a nice surprise – there were quite a number of us there, a lively and interested group who were only too ready to ask questions (and, at the end, even to buy a few books!).
I always think it must be a daunting experience for any author to stand and talk about their writing, especially when the audience is something of an unknown quantity – but Angela spoke with confidence and enthusiasm about her books, the main characters and the settings, and really held our attention throughout. I very much liked her introduction to Jacques Forêt, and found her description of how she builds her characters – starting with their shoes, then onto their general appearance, with the faces sometimes some way behind (and discovered in the most unexpected ways!) – absolutely fascinating, as was learning more about the geography of the Cévennes with its isolated communities way above sea level, nestled among the mountains, a perfect setting for her mysteries.
Angela and I share a background in project management, and I loved the fact that she creates spreadsheets for her stories (once a project manager…!) but with a column for questions, some of which she leaves unanswered to feed the twists and turns of the plot. Her current involvement with Doncaster Little Theatre, as actor and director, certainly added a bit of flair to her readings from Montbel – really enjoyable, and such a great introduction to her books and characters. It was good too to hear about Angela’s plans for the future – another Jacques Forêt mystery called Marseille, more stories waiting to be told, and a bit of a departure from her usual French settings with a book set in Leeds.
My only brush so far with Angela’s writing was the rather lovely short story she contributed to Miss Moonshine’s Emporium of Happy Endings – one of my favourite reads of last year – as part of the Hebden Bridge writing group Authors on the Edge, and it was good to hear that there’s another anthology planned. And the talk ended with a nice conversation around our favourite authors of murder mysteries, with particular emphasis on Agatha Christie – and a debate around our favourite portrayals of Poirot and Marple on tv and film.
I very much enjoyed the event – thank you Angela for being such an engaging speaker, and to everyone from Promoting Yorkshire Authors for their work in setting it up, and for introducing me to such a lovely way of spending time on an afternoon in Harrogate.
Let’s take a closer look at Angela’s books, available for kindle and in paperback – click the titles for the Amazon buying link…
Sacrificing his job in investigation following an incident in Paris, Jacques Forêt has only a matter of weeks to solve a series of mysterious disappearances as a Gendarme in the rural French village of Messandrierre.
But, as the number of missing persons rises, his difficult and hectoring boss puts obstacles in his way. Steely and determined, Jacques won’t give up and, when a new Investigating Magistrate is appointed, he becomes the go-to local policeman for all the work on the case.
Will he find the perpetrators before his lover, Beth, becomes a victim?
Jacques Forêt, a former gendarme turned investigator, delves into the murky world of commercial sabotage – a place where people lie and misrepresent, and where information is traded and used as a threat.
The Vaux organisation is losing contracts and money, and Jacques is asked to undertake an internal investigation. As he works through the complexity of all the evidence, he finds more than he bargained for, and his own life is threatened.
When a body of a woman is found, it appears to be suicide. But as the investigation takes another turn, Jacques suspects there is more to it.
Who is behind it all…and why? Will Jacques find the answer before another person ends up dead?
A clear-cut case?
A re-examination of a closed police case brings investigator, Jacques Forêt, up against an old adversary. After the murder of a key witness, Jacques finds himself, and his team, being pursued.
When a vital piece of evidence throws a completely different light on Jacques’ case, his adversary becomes more aggressive, and Investigating Magistrate Pelletier threatens to sequester all of Jacques papers and shut down the case.
Can Jacques find all the answers before Pelletier steps in?
About the author
I’m an actor and director at a small theatre a few miles from where I live in the county of Yorkshire in the UK. I did work as a project and business change manager – very pressured and very demanding – but I managed to escape and now I write books.
I’ve always loved stories and story telling so it seemed a natural progression, to me, to try my hand at writing and I started with short stories. My first published story was in an anthology, which was put together by the magazine ‘Ireland’s Own’ in 2011.
I particularly enjoy the challenge of plotting and planning different genres of work. My short stories vary between contemporary romance, memoir, mystery and historical. I also write comic flash-fiction and have drafted two one-act plays that have been recorded for local radio.
My full-length stories are set in France where I like to spend as much time as possible each year. Currently, I’m working on the follow-up stories in my Jacques Forêt series of novels and I continue to write my blog James et Moi every week where you can find lots of info about France, books, book reviews and author interviews.