Today Deidre Barclay is visiting Ascroft, eh? to tell us about Perils in Yorkshire, the latest novel in the British Book Tour mystery series.
Welcome, Deirdre. Let’s get started, shall we?
Tell us about the novel that you live inside. Is it part of a series? If so, please tell us about the series too.
My name is Deidre Barclay. I’m the sister of Clare Barkley who owns and operates The British Mystery Book Tours. Claire get tangled in murder investigations. She shouldn’t do that. That’s my job as a barrister. Claire hasn’t the background or the training for investigations. I don’t know whether she just stumbles on them, is rabidly curious about what happens around her, or her significant other, Detective Inspector Mark Evans, nudges her towards them.
I was quite involved with the first murder when Clare moved to Hampshire. The second one occurred in Hampshire as well, but we solved it in Cornwell where my daughter Kayla and I had joined Claire’s tour. Claire is my older sister. She left home when I was about nine years old but we kept in touch and now that she’s back in England, we see each other often.
This time, Claire was in Yorkshire where someone died right at her feet. I wasn’t with her. I had to work, but I was having so much trouble with Kayla that I sent her to York to be with Claire. Claire promised me she was leaving York to go to the Dale’s and the Moors, so I thought Kala would be safe with her.
Does the writer control what happens in the story or do you get a say too?
Emma, the writer, thinks she knows what’s going to happen as she writes the story, but I have a flamboyant personality and I tend to lob what my son Josh calls spin balls into Claire’s life. I wouldn’t want Emma to get too comfortable.
How did you evolve as the main character?
I’m not the main character; my sister Claire is. Unfair really, as I have an interesting life and deal with murders as well. I think Claire got to be the main character because Emma-the-author wanted to travel to the places that Claire goes. Who wouldn’t want to spend some time in Hampshire, the glory that is Cornwall and the historic town of York? Once she had Claire running a tour business, she could take her anywhere in Britain. So that means Emma ate in the restaurants that Claire eats in, saw the scenes Claire sees and sometimes even met the characters that appear in the book.
Do you have any other characters you like sharing the story with? If so, why are you partial to them?
I share my life with my husband Michael who is also a barrister, my son Josh, a teen, my daughter Kala a preteen, as well as two Labradors. I sometimes look after Claire’s dog Gulliver who is quite a character in himself. Claire has other characters she interacts with. The most important is her love, Mark Evans. I wish she would make a commitment to him—he’s a lovely bloke—but she doesn’t seem ready. Then there are all those proprietors and managers of guest hotels who become her friends. She does get some crazy characters who sign up for her tours, mostly from America. She enjoys them, most of them.
What’s the place like where you find yourself in this story?
I stay most of the time in Guildford which is close to London as that’s where my family and my work is. But Claire, lucky Claire, gets to travel all over Britain. She has a house in Hampshire in a village called Ashton-on-Tinch but travels with her tours around Britain, even to Scotland. I try to join the tours when I can, but I don’t have Claire’s drive for new places, new people and new experiences. She usually takes her tours into the countryside as most people want to see country Britain where they can interact with the local people and sample the pub food. It seems an ideal way to understand new country, if only Claire could stop stumbling over bodies.
Is there anything else you’d like to tell readers about you and the book?
You’ll like Claire when you meet her in the books. In Perils in Yorkshire, she deals with complex personalities from America and from Britain and she also deals with my troubled child Kayla. Claire is remarkably practical, analytical and more emotional than she knows. She does the responsible thing almost always and asks for help and advice when she needs it, so you’d think she’d stay out of trouble and never be confronted with anything dramatic or difficult. Not true. She makes mistakes. She gets into trouble. If I didn’t love her so much, she’d drive me crazy.
Thank you for answering my questions, Deirdre, and good luck to you and your author, Emma Dakin, with Perils in Yorkshire, the latest book in the British Book Tour mystery series.
The novel is available at the following online retailers:
About Emma Dakin: Emma lives in Gibsons on the Sunshine Coast of British Columbia. She has over thirty trade-published books of mystery and adventure for teens and middle-grade children and non-fiction for teens and adults. Her memoir Always Pack a Candle: A Nurse in the Cariboo-Chilcotin has received wide recognition. But she keeps returning to her favorite genre, cozy mysteries. Her love of the British countryside and villages and her addiction to reading cozy mysteries keep her writing about characters who live and work in those villages. She enjoys those characters and trusts you will as well.