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C. S. Challinor

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Under the Coolabah Tree
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ForeWord Magazine Interview with Mystery Author
Wednesday, June 23, 2010  7:15:00 AM

by C. S. Challinor



Mystery/Suspense
ForeWord Magazine has posted an interview with C.S. Challinor whose novel PHI BETA MURDER was selected as a Mother's Day pick by the publication. C.S. Challinor talks about the fictional village she created when she was 10 and growing up in Scotland, and offers tips to aspiring writers.
C.S. Challinor is the author of the Rex Graves Mystery series featuring Scots barrister-sleuth Rex Graves. PHI BETA MURDER is, to quote ForeWord, C.S. Challinor's "third gripping novel" in the series. Available in trade paperback and on Kindle.

C.S. Challinor

C.S. Challinor, author of Phi Beta Murder: A Rex Graves Mystery (Midnight Ink, 978-0-7387-1890-3).

 

When did you start reading, and what did you like to read as a kid?
I started at seven years old reading Greek mythology, and then whatever I could get my hands on, from Enid Blyton (I grew up in the UK) to Agatha Christie to Jane Austen to Muriel Spark to Solzhenitsyn (I later studied Russian) to Henri Troyat (in French). I took late to reading, but when I did, I read pretty much everything, stumbling through my first French novels with a dictionary. I was a studious little bookworm until age 14 when I was taken out of my all-girls school in Edinburgh, Scotland, and transferred to a school in Sussex, England, where I discovered…boys!

When you were growing up did you have books in your home?
The shelves in the living room and my father’s study were lined with novels and reference works. Reading was highly encouraged, if not mandatory. My sister and I have remained avid readers to this day, and my parents and I still swap and recommend books.

When did you think about becoming a writer?
I wrote and published short stories and worked as a freelance writer (mostly real estate related) before I started on novels. My first novels were romantic suspense, like my short stories, but then I moved on to cozy mysteries, the first five of which–in the Rex Graves series–I sold to Midnight Ink Books.

I started writing–poems and stories about a fictional village called Babblingbrook (!!)–when I was ten. At age 11, my teacher raved about something I wrote in a creative essay, along the lines of “the warmth of a kitten in your arms.” She may have been the inspiration for my writing, but I can’t say I dreamed about being a writer one day.

How do you write? Do you have a daily routine?
I try to adhere to a routine. I have a small studio on the beach where I go when I am in the writing phase and need to concentrate. With a young adult still living at home, it can be hard to get uninterrupted time. When the writing is flowing, it’s the best feeling in the world.

Do you have any particular story to tell concerning the writing of this book?
Phi Beta Murder is loosely based on my own experience of having a son in college, with all the peer pressure and temptations that kids face when living away from home for the first time. I projected my impressions through my Scots barrister sleuth, who flies from Edinburgh to visit his son Campbell at his private college in Jacksonville, Florida. He’s a wee bit shocked at what he finds, but his determination to be a caring and understanding dad is what ultimately enables him to solve the (student’s) murder.

What’s some advice that you could offer young writers?
The old sayings “never give up” and that “writing is in the rewriting” are worth noting. I guess I never realized just how much not giving up and rewriting might be involved!

How did you find the publisher for this book? What has your experience as a published writer been like?
I got lucky with Christmas is Murder, the first in the Rex Graves Mystery series. I submitted to two publishers of mysteries and got a positive response from both. The first sale to Midnight Ink happened relatively quickly. When I say quickly, you have to bear in mind that the publishing process can be as slow as evolution.

Being published is not like writing as a hobby. It becomes work, with deadlines, promotions, reviews, and last-minute crises over covers and back cover blurb, usually when you’re just about to go on vacation. Then, when you’re on vacation worrying about how the final cover or blurb is going to come out, you think you should be taking notes and photos in case they might be useful material for a future book. Or else the primary objective of the vacation is research, as was the case with my trip last month to Derbyshire, England, and the Scottish Highlands around Loch Ness.

A fiction writer is constantly involved in the process of writing, thinking about what to write, or else wondering if the innocuous-looking person standing at the bus stop could have just murdered his granny. There was a question earlier about becoming a writer. I think it might be harder to un-become a writer.

What are you working on at the moment?
I am approaching the end of my fifth Rex Graves novel, which centers around a wedding in South Derbyshire. The novel prior to that, with the Scottish Highlands setting, Murder On the Moor, will be out in March of next year.

What are you reading?
My manuscript!

Visit C.S. Challinor at www.rexgraves.com.

 

ForeWord Magazine

 More News about C. S. Challinor
Suspense Magazine Reviews MURDER AT MIDNIGHT by C.S. Challinor - 2/9/2015 8:47:00 AM

Mystery Scene Reviews MURDER AT MIDNIGHT - 10/31/2014 9:58:00 AM

MURDER AT MIDNIGHT: Booklist Review - 7/3/2014 6:26:00 AM

FREE FOR TWO MORE DAYS - 8/19/2013 9:12:00 AM

SAY GOODBYE TO ARCHIE: A Rex Graves Mini-Mystery by C.S. Challinor - 8/13/2013 8:30:00 AM

SAY MURDER WITH FLOWERS: A Rex Graves Mini-Mystery by C.S. Challinor - 8/3/2013 11:47:00 AM

MURDER AT THE DOLPHIN INN Now on Nook - 9/27/2012 7:24:00 AM

MURDER AT THE DOLPHIN INN, New Release by C. S. Challinor - 9/17/2012 10:26:00 AM

MURDER OF THE BRIDE $1.99 Kindle Special - 8/22/2012 8:54:00 AM

If you wish to cozy up with a good cozy mystery, Murder of the Bride will h - 3/26/2012 8:06:00 AM

FREE Flash Fiction Story at OMDB! - 3/14/2012 10:54:00 AM

March Festival of Reading in Central Florida - 3/8/2012 10:24:00 AM

Why wouldn’t your wedding day be one of the happiest of your life? - 3/2/2012 9:07:00 AM

Buried Under Books Reviews MURDER OF THE BRIDE - 2/17/2012 10:11:00 AM

Undiscovered Scotland Review: MURDER ON THE MOOR - 1/26/2012 8:10:00 AM

Top Five Books of 2011 - 1/12/2012 9:51:00 AM

Number 1 in Kindle Sales - 12/13/2011 12:27:00 PM

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN by C.S. Challinor - 9/2/2011 9:23:00 AM

ALIBI FOR MURDER by C. S. Challinor - 6/12/2011 1:56:00 PM

MURDER ON THE MOOR: Reviewing The Evidence - 3/29/2011 10:49:00 AM

The Washington Post Reviews MURDER ON THE MOOR by C.S. Challinor - 3/23/2011 11:44:00 AM

Review from ROMANTIC TIMES - 3/17/2011 9:48:00 AM

Crimespree Review - 3/11/2011 12:06:00 PM

MURDER ON THE MOOR Paperback $8.60 at Amz - 2/12/2011 8:55:00 AM

PHI BETA MURDER Review from Librarything.com - 12/17/2010 9:18:00 AM

Review in The Rue Morgue - 6/7/2010 8:23:00 AM

Malice Domestic Panel with C.S. Challinor (Rex Graves Mysteries) - 4/28/2010 9:32:00 AM

Review in ForeWord Magazine: Phi Beta Murder by C.S. Challinor - 4/18/2010 8:36:00 AM

Jacksonville Magazine Reviews Phi Beta Murder by C.S. Challinor - 4/6/2010 9:07:00 AM

Mystery Scene Magazine Reviews PHI BETA MURDER by C.S. Challinor - 3/3/2010 3:58:00 PM

Murder Mystery at Nudist Resort - 2/26/2010 7:22:00 PM

Sun, surf, secrets—spring break can be murder... - 2/8/2010 11:54:00 AM

Mystery Book Signing in Fort Myers Beach, Florida - 11/25/2009 9:02:00 AM

Latest in the Rex Graves Mystery Series - 10/15/2009 11:26:00 AM

MURDER IN THE RAW Nominated for Agatha Award - 10/7/2009 10:18:00 AM

2 Chicks Review - 9/23/2009 7:38:00 AM

MURDER IN THE RAW Reviewed in Kansas - 8/14/2009 8:43:00 AM

Kindle Editions - 7/28/2009 12:27:00 PM

Suspense Magazine's Recommended Reading List - 6/6/2009 9:37:00 AM

MURDER IN THE RAW Review - 6/6/2009 9:21:00 AM

MURDER IN THE RAW Review from Mystery Scene Magazine - 4/27/2009 11:48:00 AM

New Contract in the Rex Graves Mystery Series - 3/27/2009 7:50:00 AM

Review from The Friendly Book Nook - 12/17/2008 12:32:00 PM

Christmas Is Murder in Large Print Hardcover - 12/17/2008 12:22:00 PM

Review from Cozy Library - 11/21/2008 11:29:00 AM

Review from Once Upon A Romance: Look Out, Hercule Poirot - 11/19/2008 11:01:00 AM

Review in Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine - 11/18/2008 7:10:00 AM

4-Star Review (Recommended) from The Mystery Reader - 11/4/2008 8:53:00 AM

Review from Mysterical-E Magazine - 10/11/2008 7:56:00 AM

Starred Review from Booklist - 10/9/2008 3:03:00 PM

Review from Mysterious Reviews - 9/11/2008 7:03:00 AM







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