27 May 2016

Evergreen copse by Katie Nimmo

Genre: Mystery / Crime
Release Date: May 2015

A long kept state secret is at risk of being discovered. False identities reveal their true colours as the hunt turns to Evergreen Copse.
As the deaths increase it becomes clear that no one is safe. But from whom are they all running?
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Hi Katie! Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
Evergreen Copse is a murder mystery which includes clever tricks, hidden agendas and of course some deaths. The major twist in the story is that there are some characters who hide behind false identities. This complicates the plot, making it hard to guess who the reader is supposed to be hating.

What inspired you to write it?
I’ve always had an over imaginative imagination which has always given me random ideas, but they have never really tied together. Using a combination of dreams which I wrote down and some inspiration from various events in my life the plot of Evergreen Copse came to life.

How did you come up with the idea for the cover?
The cover basically encompasses the location of Evergreen Copse. I wanted the cover to give the impression of an isolated location in a dense copse. The road symbolizes the entrance to the copse but it doesn’t guarantee that the character will leave.

If it was made into a movie, who would you like to play the main characters?
I’ve never thought of Evergreen Copse as a movie but I had a vision of it being an ITV or BBC drama. There are many character slots to fill for the plot but I think Alex Walkinshaw ( Smithy from The Bill ) would fit the character of Ben and maybe Julian McKenna ( Miss Marple ) could play Mama. For other characters in the plot I imagine seeing familiar faces from Downton Abbey, Merlin or even Miss Marple in the line up.

Is it part of a series or is it a stand-alone novel?
As it stands Evergreen Copse was only written to be a stand alone plot. However, if the readers demand more there is a possibility that the attention could return to the village of Evergreen.

Where is the novel set and why did you choose to set it there?
There are 2 fictional locations in Evergreen Copse which bring all the characters together. The first, as the title suggests is Evergreen, which is a small stereotypical English village with pretty cottages and a lot of secrets. The second is the town of Baxden, where the story begins. There wasn’t a particular reason for the use of these locations but I wanted to have 2 separate places in order to bring all the characters together during the plot.

What is it about this genre that appeals to you so much?
Throughout my young adult years I grew up watching Agatha Christie with my parents at home. Every Sunday we’d put on a Poirot or a Miss Marple whilst drinking countless cups of tea. There’s something intriguing and clever about murder mystery which I really wanted to try my hand at. Despite the fact I can’t stand blood it’s an odd genre choice for me to make.

What made you want to become an author?
It sounds cliched to say that I’ve always wanted to write but the truth is my writing path took many stops and starts. I had a poem published when I was 11 and decided then that I wanted to have a book all of my own. After that school got in the way and I didn’t start writing again until I was 25. My imagination and love of books has always brought me back to writing and I can’t think of anything else I’d rather do as a career.

How do you come up with character names?
Many of the characters are named after people I’ve met or are close relatives. An embarrassing admittance is that some of the characters and places are named after some of my childhood teddies. I still have them sitting in a corner of my office and it wasn’t the first time I’ve looked at them for inspiration. Muses can hit you in really odd places.

Do you struggle to come up with book titles? Do they come before, during or after you've written your book?
The title of this book came to me whilst I was writing the third chapter. Titles are not something I struggle with but I have been known to change the title half way through writing the plot in question. I like to try and think of a title which stands out and is not long winded.

Name one of your all-time favourite books?
My favourite book as a child was Cat Nap, a book basically telling the tale of a cat who couldn’t nap in all the rooms of the house because it was too noisy. My favourite book at the moment, which changes quite frequently, is The Song Collector by Natasha Solomons.

Who, or what, inspires you?
I get inspiration from everywhere. Every experience can bring ideas to the table which is why I always carry a pen and paper so I don’t forget key ideas. The inspiration for another book I’m writing came from a plant pot. Inspiration can hit from anywhere so I like to be open to new ideas all the time.

Where is your favourite place to write?
I like to write on my balcony. It’s always in the shade so it’s always cold but I can see the river Thames and there’s something so peaceful about the water which helps me to relax and let the words flow.

What is your favourite movie that was based on a book?
My favourite cinemised book wasn’t actually released in the cinema but was a drama on TV instead which was Goodnight Mister Tom. John Thaw was incredible playing Tom in the adaptation and it’s something I would share with anyone who wanted to watch a book on the screen.

Name two of your favourite authors.Agatha Christie immediately jumps to mind as my first favourite author and my second would be Carole Matthews.

Tell us a random fact about yourself.

Between school and settling down in to real life with my husband I spent 4 years working for Pontins and Haven holiday camps as a holiday rep.

Who would play you in the movie about your life?
I’d like Sheridan Smith to be me as she’s such a good actress but based on looks a couple of odd ideas would be Kate Middleton or Kara Tointon.

Tell us an interesting fact about where you live.
The most interesting thing about where I live is the fact I’m sandwiched between the river Thames and Bluewater shopping centre.

What are your (writing) plans for the future?
The only plans I have are to keep on writing more and more and start pumping out some more books. I want to work on lengthening my stories as I get to the point way to quickly. Apart from that I really want to hook up with a professional publisher to get my books out there.

Tell us one thing that's on your bucket list.
I would love to do a cruise. My previous main attraction on my list was to stroke a dolphin, as I can’t swim. Which I have proudly done so next up I want to take a cruise round the med or the Bahamas.

Favourite myth / fairytale?
I love Cinderella and Greek Mythology as a whole. I’m not an expert on it but I find it fascinating.

Who/What did you want to be when you were a kid?
As a kid I wanted to be an air stewardess as I love learning languages, but the whole no confidence in water put a stop to that.

Robin and Co. Business Associates sat on the second out of four floors in a fire station turned office building in the town of Baxden. Consisting of just three rooms the 'Robin' floor was small, but adequate for its needs.
A moderate sized reception room welcomed all visitors with a pine desk sat facing the main door. Including a potted plant on the right hand side to lighten up the so called dreary environment. A coffee machine was also attached to the wall next to four rather tired looking chairs, a little like a doctor's waiting room.
At the rear of the reception two separate doors led off to two small offices, each identical in size right down to the radiator being in exactly the same place. Mr Harold Robin, chair of the company, inhabited the office on the left and his associate, Mr Percy Brumpton, the one on the right. A system devised purely out of the fact that Brumpton was Robin's right hand man, so naturally he had the office on Robin's right hand side.
To look outside the office windows didn't hold any amusement. Staring out at a brick arch which marked the entrance to the courtyard in front of the building, and nothing else. Appearance clearly not taken into consideration during its construction, the area within the arch was a very sordid place to come to.
Through that brick arch a tall, gangly looking man tiptoed through the courtyard blowing his nose into his handkerchief as he went. Bernard felt that the January weather had been very unkind to him so far that year. He couldn't cope with the cold and detested having a wet handkerchief in his pocket all day. Bernard's short brown hair did nothing to keep his head warm so his grey and blue bobble hat did that for him, though it really didn't match his shirt and tie.
Since climbing out of his old car he knew straight away he should have bought a new coat. Muttering to himself such things as the icy wind bit in to his thin and inadequate office clothing. Quickening his pigeon like pace he padded over to the office building, shivering as he went, thinking dreamily of the inviting coffee machine that was near his desk upstairs.
Removing his batch of keys from his pocket he fumbled for the correct one to open the outer door, his hands being numb making it difficult to get the key in the lock. A grunt of satisfaction announced the key was in the lock and the white plastic door was opened.
Springing through the door Bernard closed the door a little more forcefully than needed to make sure the cold stayed where it was. Outside. He could already imagine the smell of the hot coffee that awaited him upstairs. Crossing the lobby he untangled another key to open up the post box sat adjacent to the stairs.
"Bill, bill, bill and..." He paused as he ripped open the fourth envelope with his finger. "Junk mail." With a sigh he reclosed the post box and started up the four sets of stairs.
Reaching the Robin floor Bernard was slightly out of breath. Three years gone and he still wasn't used to all these stairs, he thought to himself. On arrival at the office door Bernard clumsily dropped his keys and his tie fell to the floor as he bent to pick them up. It wasn't the first time he had forgotten to do up his tie and it probably wasn't the last.
The door swung open with a nasty squeak and the smell of papers and coffee hit Bernard's nose. Smiling to himself he headed straight to the coffee machine and asked it to make him a white coffee. Dropping the boring post onto the desk Bernard started to reattach his tie around his neck.
"Good morning Bernard." A voice came with the familiar squeak of the front door. He knew that voice anywhere, at least he should after three years.
"Good morning to you Mr Robin." He replied with a little nod of his head, a half nod as his hands worked around his tie.
"I really think you should find somewhere else to hide that key." Mr Robin laughed, noting a small key on the reverse of Bernard's tie. Removing his coat Bernard promptly took it and hung it on the coat stand in the corner of the room.
"Safest place is where I hide it, sir. An intruder would have to strangle me with my own tie before I let them take it. Can I make you a coffee sir?" Picking up his own coffee he placed it on the reception desk out of sight from any would be visitors.
"Sounds like a very good idea to me, the usual please." Mr Robin departed into his office and dropped his newspaper in front of him. Feeling a chill he glanced over at his window, single glazing never kept the room very warm. He contemplated putting his coat back on.
"Your coffee, sir." Bernard entered with a cup that was steaming.
"Thank you Bernard, just what I need. That chill has really picked up this morning. Which reminds me, I didn't see your coat on the stand? Don't tell me you came in like that." Robin looked enquiringly at Bernard, already knowing the answer before he spoke.
"Yes, sir. You see, sir." Bernard stammered, trying to think of a reason instead of giving the real reason he didn't have his coat.
"She locked you out didn't she?" Robin asked with an arched eyebrow.
"Yes, sir." Bernard replied facing the floor. "Didn't pay my rent in time, sir. I didn't have the money for my rent so," he paused. "She took my coat, sir."
Robin erupted into laughter, the look on Bernard's face making him worse. "Oh Bernard, that's the best thing I've heard in quite a while. Your landlady is certainly a piece of work isn't she?" Chuckling to himself he reached into his top drawer. "Now, I look after you Bernard. Like you do for me, so I'll tell you what I'll do." He looked up at Bernard, he was wearing a very confused face.
"I want you to take this cheque and get yourself a new coat when you go to pay the bills this morning. Take some extra time, not too long mind, but get yourself a coat on me."
"Thank you, sir. That's very kind." Half smiling Bernard stamped his feet together with a full nod and left the room. Mr Robin smiled after Bernard as picked up his steaming coffee to warm up his hands. Taking a sip of his drink he heard voices out in the reception area, he gathered Percy had arrived.

Katie A Nimmo was born in England, September 1986. Born and bred in the Surrey countryside Katie had a quiet upbringing around the virtues of family and working hard to make dreams become reality. These ethics have led to many of her aspirations coming true. Previous to her writing career Katie performed on the stage for several years contrary to the popular belief of her shyness among those in her school hood years. Katie's newfound confidence to defeat the odds led her to pursue her dream of writing which has led to many adventures both on and off the page.

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