Saturday, 23 February 2013

Frances di Plino - Under the Spotlight

Frances di Plino - Under the Spotlight

Gillian Hamer interviews Frances di Plino, author of Bad Moon Rising

Characterisation. The strength of the main players in crime fiction
novels are vital. What did you add to the character of DI Paolo Storey to
make him strong enough to lead Bad Moon Rising?

I don't think I consciously added anything to him, other than a dose of
humanity. I thought about the type of person that I would want investigating
my own murder. Someone who refused to give up and who cared about the
victims, rather than his conviction statistics.

Looking at other famous authors in the same genre, who
do you think is the King or Queen of Characterisation. And why? What do you
think wannabe crime writers can learn from other authors?

For me there are a number of brilliant writers who could wear the crown at
any given moment. Dennis Lehane, Michael Connelly and John Lescroat come to
mind as authors who have created characters I felt I knew almost as well as
my own friends. What can wannabe crime writers learn? That characters bring
a story to life. For me, characterisation is key. Whether cop or killer, the
reader has to be able to believe that person could be living next door.

How do you decide on the balance between a detectives
professional and private life? How much to include to develop them into a
rounded character? And what new elements will you bring to DI Storey as he
grows, to break the cliched detective mould?

Paolo Storey grew into his character as the novel progressed (and over the
period of countless rewrites prior to publication). I didn't set out with a
hard and fast plan of including x amount of private life and x amount of
professional time. I got to know him so well, I knew where he would draw the
line and simply wrote him true to character. As to the last part of this
question - DI Storey himself will answer that in future books!

Going forward. I believe Bad Moon Rising is to be the first in a series.
Are you intending keeping Storey and his team? And if so, how will you
handle the difficulty of including enough backstory to appease the older
readers but add enough new story to please the new?

I'm already writing the next in the series (working title: Someday Never
Comes) and yes, Storey and his team are the main players. There are a few
unresolved elements at the end of Bad Moon Rising (I can't say what they are
because it would spoil the book for anyone who hasn't yet read it), so I am
using the resolution of those to introduce any necessary back story.

Looking backwards. When you were plotting Bad Moon Rising, how did you
decide on the major story arc and plot points? What led you? Character or

It was a mixture of both. I knew the killer and I knew the crimes. I also
knew how and when he would be caught, so the major plot points were easy to
plan. Getting from point to point, I tried to ensure that anything said or
done drove the storyline and developed the characters at the same time.

Cross genres. You're also known as a prolific children's writer, what
attracted you to crime and why?

I love reading crime, so was naturally drawn to the genre as a writer. I
think I must have a dark mind as my children's books (written as Lorraine
Mace) are quite sinister, but funny, too.

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