A friend who is currently reading my novel ‘The Violent Breath’, commented that most of my characters are middle class – although in chapter four he will be introduced to other sections of society. I acknowledge that some of my character’s live in Georgian houses with an Aga, and have a professional occupation, yet I enjoy writing about people that do not have such a charmed life.
I favour the more serene setting to introduce a murder as I believe the contrast makes the reader feel uncomfortable, as the murder is surprisingly out of place. In the book ‘Talking about Detective Fiction’, P.D. James talks about Agatha Christie’s popular setting of an English village. I too have chosen a similar style of setting, as it is a closed setting where the reader can get to know the neighbours, the shop keepers and the pub landlords/ladies.
To allow the reader to picture the environmental setting, I drop in references to the gardens, woodlands, the interior and exterior of houses and the weather – especially the seasons which can add drama to a scene. I also use places I know, such as Cambridge, although my villages are fictional.
Describing the interior of a victim’s house allows the reader to look for clues pertaining to the victim’s character and hobbies. In the same light, the reader needs to glimpse into the personal life of the detective so they can form a more rounded vision of the protagonist.
As I plan to write a series following my two detectives, the environment will remain constant, except for the abodes of new characters. This way, I have cemented my detectives firmly in their environments and hopefully in the reader’s minds.
Welcome to my blog Pat.
Happy Word Flow One & All.