Today’s feature on the Sunday Feature is a short interview with the wonderful Liza Miles, author of Murder on Morrison
Murder on the Morrison is described as “The historic town of Edinburgh appears to be the perfect location for Rose McLaren to set up shop, creating delectable muffins and biscuits.
But three years later, a death that seemed like an accident brings Rose face to face with a darker and more sinister side of the city.
Despite several formidable warnings to stay out of things, finding a dead man on her bed is the final straw and Rose reconnects with an old ally from the other side of the fence.
In her debut as a sleuth, Rose learns that murder, close friends and past enemies all have a role to play in the mystery which she is determined to unravel and solve.”
I know you more through your short story collection, Love Bites, Murder on Morrison is a step in a different direction, can you tell us first where Murder on Morrison came from?
I have always enjoyed reading mysteries, starting with Agatha Christie. My mother bought me Hickory Dickory Dock when I was twelve, I progressed to PD James and Ian Rankin and other leading mystery writers, but the craft of Christie stayed with me. Her characters and plots that drew you into a group of people. After Love Bites was published a couple of reviewers commented that two of the stories reflected the influence and enjoyment of the mystery genre. It was a great compliment and I wondered if I should try a longer story. But I knew I didn’t want to write a thriller, or a dark tale that involved violence, which probably sounds weird given my book contains several murders! I wanted to find characters who the readers would enjoy getting to know. And so far, my beta readers have stated they really enjoyed meeting Rose and are looking forward to reading more.
Can you tell us all next where the idea of the location of Edinburgh for the setting of this book? Was there anything that drew you to Edinburgh?
I like the fact that Edinburgh as a historical city is made up of little communities, each with their own flavour and personality. I particularly like Haymarket and Morrison Street. The street wanders from Haymarket Station towards the West End. It is full of local eateries, cafes, students and locals. It seemed the perfect setting for Rose to open her shop. She’s in a city, but in a part of the city where people know each other.
Where did the creation of Rose McLaren come through?
I dream a lot of aspects of my books, characters and locations before I write them. Rose was a fully formed character that I got to know from a dream about her. I have worked with women who have been made vulnerable because of circumstances and seen them shine through the adversity, take on the challenge of beginning again. Rose is a combination of those character traits, a bit of me and a lot of other people. Like a new recipe I suppose, you need wet and dry ingredients to make it work, with herbs and spices for flavour, perhaps that’s why she became a baker. In my dream she was older than she is in this first story, where she is age 35.
How was the experience of writing this novel in comparison to your previous collection ‘Love Bites’?
It was a very different experience because it was longer and although two of the stories in Love Bites fit into the cosy mystery genre the longer novel made weaving the plot together more complicated. Also, I wasn’t clear on who the murderer was until close to the end. I had a sharp disagreement with the characters and Rose and had to re-write it their way in the end. I write as a pantser – so although I have the beginning, middle and ending, mapped in my mind, there are usually surprises along the way which I have to allow to happen. I read recently that if, as a writer your work doesn’t surprise you, then it won’t engage readers. I am sure even planners and plotters have surprises happen to them too.
I notice the book is advertised as a ‘Rose McLaren Mystery’ – does this mean you have possibly future plans for this possible series?
Yes. This is not a one off book. Rose, as I said earlier came to me as an older woman, so the next books in the series will portray her as she ages. The current book is somewhere in the early 2000’s, so it will be interesting to see if something happens during the period we are living in now, when Rose will be around 50. Rose has a significant health condition, well two if we count addiction, and they will play a major part in how she manages her life as situations challenge her. The detective she meets in the first book will remain as a character, they actually become good friends after they become worst enemies. Just like life itself sometimes.
Murder on the Morrison is available from 28 February at https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B08RNQQMWT/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i0
Liza is doing a exclusive reading / launch for this book on Sunday 28 February 2021 at 2.30pm on Zoom https://us05web.zoom.us/j/82488142319?pwd=dnJPMUMvNVFYWUo1eXk1MWtndUdqdz09
Meeting ID: 824 8814 2319
The event is free although I recommend emailing Liza to advise you are attending on [email protected]