Deirdre Cossette is the self appointed carer for the elderly on The Avenue and all of her friends have stories to tell. Margery, whose comfortable life was destroyed by a knock on the door. Stan, who made a mistake as a young footballer which cost him his friends and his self-respect. Marina, whose slim and stylish figure hides a terrible secret from the summer of Live Aid. And, Oliver and Archie, who have survived everything from post war homophobia to a family tragedy – and they have done it together. Deirdre believes that everyone should have a choice. If they want to live on a diet of cakes, drink the alcoholic equivalent of a small hydrotherapy pool, or take on a toy boy lover in spite of a dodgy heart, Deirdre believes it is their right to do so. If they remember her in their wills afterwards, that’s not her fault, is it? However, not everyone agrees with her. When disgruntled relatives from the present meet up with disgruntled ghosts from her past, Deirdre discovers the cost of being kind.
MY INTERVIEW WITH THE AUTHOR
- When did you know that you wanted to be an author?
I always loved to write. It was the only thing I was remotely good at whilst at school and I always thought I should be able to write a book. Then, I started working in the catering industry and life took over. Occasionally I would come up with an idea and write about thirty pages before running out of steam. Almost at the same time that I decided to take early retirement, I came up with an idea for a novel that would become ‘Postcards From Another Life.’ This time, the idea didn’t falter at page thirty and once I realised I could do it, ‘Killing Them With Kindness’ followed quite quickly. Which is why I always say to people who say that they want to write: ‘Just do it …’ It took me forty years, but I got there in the end!
- What inspired you to write this book?
‘Killing Them With Kindness’ started as a poem that I wrote in the mid nineties. I had travelled to Weymouth on a bus for a day out on my day off. As I got off the bus, I saw a slightly overweight woman being given an ice cream by her friend. ‘Oh my god!’ The woman laughed, ‘you’re killing me with kindness, you are!’ The image stayed with me as I wandered along the prom that day, and by the time I got home, it was a five verse poem. I put it to music (badly) and it became a song. When I was thinking of a follow up to Postcards, I thought about it, and the whole outline of the novel came to me.
- If you could sell this book in one sentence what would it be?
I have always been tempted by ‘Deirdre Cossettte – the nicest serial killer in the world ..’ but don’t really feel that it explains the whole story. Instead I’ll chose the message my lovely editor, Emma Mitchell, emailed me after reading it: ‘I laughed, cried and felt all the emotions ..’ Hopefully that sums it up a little better
- What are you up to next?
I am in the middle of writing my third novel which has a working title of ‘Another Man’s Shoes.’ It is based around the theory that there could be more than one version of our world. What would happen if two people from the two different, but quite similar realities changed places? I have plotted this one a little more intricately than my first two novels to avoid characters who are meant to be based in one reality, turning up in the other one without rhyme, reason or explanation!
- Who is your biggest inspiration?
I would have to say my Mum. I was blessed with wonderful parents, who have provided me with stories throughout my life. My Dad was probably the sweetest man in the world (although my partner, Ian, gives him a good run for his money!) He was also fairly eccentric and it was up to my Mum to be the sensible one in their partnership. When he died, she suddenly had full permission to wear purple (to quote from the Jenny Joseph poem, ‘Warning’, about growing old disgracefully …) It has always been her biggest aim in life that neither of her children should become arrogant. Even now, when I’m approaching late middle age (?!) she talks about my ‘awful books.’ However, I have noticed that both of them are always in grabbing distance should one of her friends come to call …
Thank you so much for inviting me onto your blog.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Andy Paulcroft grew up in Weston-super-Mare, and his love of books started when he borrowed his sister’s copy of Five Run Away Together and exaggerated a minor illness in order to finish reading it. He has since worked as a chef in France, Switzerland, Corsica and the North Highlands of Scotland before settling as a catering manager at a boarding school in Dorset. After many years of writing two to three chapters of a book before discarding it, he finally published his first novel Postcards From Another Life – in December 2017. The wonderful feeling of completing a novel was only surpassed by receiving a positive reaction from people who had read it. He retired from catering and recently published his second novel Killing Them With Kindness. He is now working on his third book.
@Andy.Paulcroft (Facebook Page)
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