Songs of Innocence by guest author Anne Coates
I am thrilled that Anne Coates has made time to visit my blog today. Anne’s fabulous new crime thriller Songs of Innocence was published just this week. Her novels are set in Southwark in one of my favourite world cities, London, England so it is a particular pleasure to have her here to discuss the importance of location in novels. Over to you, Anne!
Recently at a local event celebrating 40 years of a church and community centre, a woman approached me, introduced herself then asked, “So when is your next book out?”
Now this is pure heaven for an author and you can imagine my delighted smiles. I told her that Songs of Innocence would be out on 24 May and once again is set in 1990s London mostly in the London Borough of Southwark.
She was delighted. “I love picturing the streets and places you describe and which I know. Plus I do love a dead body or two.”
Well the first dead body is discovered in Peckham Pond in the park which is about ten minutes’ walk from my home, and also where Hannah Weybridge lives. I used to take my daughter, Olivia, and later my beloved Westie, Fliss there. I know the park well both before and after it’s restoration and it is where William Blake had his vision of angels, hence the title and the quotation at the beginning of the book.
Above my desk is a painting of Peckham Park by my friend and artist Caroline Wright who executed a series of images illustrating the park. When The park was restructured, Caroline stopped selling her originals and only sells prints of them as they are now a pictorial history of the park.
Fortunately I have lots of photos taken during the 90s that I use as an aide memoire to how the area and the parks (Dulwich and Sydenham woods also feature as locations where bodies are discovered) used to look.
I love living in East Dulwich. I first bought a flat here when I was working for IPC Magazines and then moved on to a dilapidated house which I renovated. The area is very much a character in the Hannah Weybridge novels and it’s fun going back and remembering what the place was like in the 1990s before it became trendy and impossibly expensive to live in.
Obviously using London as a location means that some places have to be more or less accurately described. And no writer would get away with, for example, moving a well known landmark to a different place. When I write about any of the characters going somewhere, I recreate those streets and usually I have been to the pub, the Cathedral, or station mentioned on numerous occasions. The schools, newspaper office and some other locations have been fictionalised but are often based on real places – although sometimes I take a bit of a geographical liberty!
Reading and writing has been Anne Coates’ passion for as long as she can remember. Instilled and inspired by her mother and by the Deputy Head at her secondary school who encouraged her hunger for reading by granting her free access to the books not yet in the school library, and she feels still grateful for this, in her eyes, amazing privilege.
After her degree in English and French, Anne moved to London to stay. During her career she worked for publishers, as a journalist, writer, editor, and translator. The birth of her daughter, Olivia inspired her to write non-fiction books, such as ‘Your Only Child’ (Bloomsbury, 1996), books about applying to and surviving university (NeedtoKnow, 2013), but also short stories, tales with a twist, and stories exploring relationships, published in two collections by Endeavour Press (2015).
The sometimes strange places Anne visited as a journalist often made her think “What if…” And so, investigative journalist Hannah Weybridge was born… The Hannah Weybridge series currently consists of three books, all published by Urbane Publications: ‘Dancers in the Wind’ (2016), ‘Death’s Silent Judgement’ (2017), and ‘Songs of Innocence’ (2018).
Anne Coates lives in London with three demanding cats and enjoys reading, going to the theatre and cinema, wining and dining.
Where to find Anne Coates
Author Website: www.annecoatesauthor.com
FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/AnneCoatesAuthor/
Parenting Website – Twitter: https://twitter.com/ParentingWT
© Anne Coates, 2018