Cradle to Grave: A Marjory Fleming Thriller
Publication Date: May 20, 2014
Publisher: Witness Impulse, an imprint of HarperCollins
Event Organized By: Literati Author Services, Inc.
Who can you trust?
Accused of murdering the baby in her care, seemingly cold and measured nanny Lisa Stewart maintains her innocence. But when she changes her name and tries to flee, terrifying threats continue to follow her. Is she an innocent victim of public anger–or a calculating murderer on the run? Can Detective Marjory Fleming, dogged by her own past, uncover the truth?
This psychological thriller is perfect for fans of Tana French and Susan Hill.
It is my pleasure to feature Aline Templeton to Room With Books.
What would you tell us about yourself?
I grew up in a fishing village on the east coast of Scotland. I read English at Cambridge University and taught until my first child was born. I worked in radio and television and wrote articles and stories for national newspapers and magazines until my first book was published.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I read, of course. I love to cook and to travel and I sing in two choirs.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I have written since I could hold a pencil. I still have a copy of my first ‘novel’, written at the age of six, before I could do joined-up writing – a slim volume of sheets of notepaper folded over and stitched together with yellow thread. It was the story of two elf-persons called Mr. Wiz and Mrs Woz who went off to Paris together for the weekend. (I know, I know – what about Mr. Woz and Mrs Wiz, who probably just reckoned they were on a business trip?)
My first book was published in 1984, Death is My Neighbor. It was perhaps the typical first book and after it was published I realized I needed to mature in my writing and spent some time working very hard towards my next book, Last Act of All.
Where do you get your ideas?
It’s always hard to answer this question. Everything I read, everything I hear, everything I experience, goes into the melting pot and an idea for a plot comes out of that, often many years later. Going to visit Galloway, the area where my books are set, often suggests a framework for a story.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
I think every author I’ve read and admired has influenced me in some way, the Golden Age of crime writers particularly. My father had a bookshelf of green Penguins ( now in my own bookcase today) and I read my way straight through them in my teens. My heroine has always been PD James and having been privileged to get to know her I admire her more than ever.
Is there a special ritual or place that you write?
I have my own study looking on to the garden and a beautiful Japanese maple tree, where the birds congregate round the feeder. When I’m starting a new book, or tackling a difficult scene, I have to start in longhand – I still feel that gives me the most intimate connection with my characters.
You’ve been given the task to host a last minute dinner party. Which authors are on your ultimate dinner invitation list? Alive or Dead.
I would have said Jane Austen but I think she’s probably been invited to so many fantasy dinner parties that she might be quite cross and bored (one of the things I love about her is that she was no saint.)
Dorothy Parker (the gadfly every good dinner party needs), John Donne (who would be romantic in the most cynical way), Elizabeth Jane Howard (who would immediately fall in love with him), Rabbi Jonathan Sachs (for wisdom and wit), Dorothy Sayers (who would enjoy herself robustly), Robert Browning (so that he could write something wonderful afterwards) Queen Elizabeth II (who in private is very amusing and an extremely good mimic), James Stewart (because someone has to listen)
Can you give us some insight into DI Marjory Fleming?
When I was thinking about starting a series, I knew what I didn’t want my detective to be. I didn’t want her to be a loner with a drink problem, a totally dysfunctional personal life, and an aggressive attitude to her superiors and the rule of law. I’d been a lay justice for ten years and knew a lot of women police officers and they seemed perfectly normal to me – just working women with husbands, kids, elderly parents, doing a difficult, demanding but very rewarding job.
I could see Marjory quite clearly: a tall, athletic-looking woman (Big Marge to her officers) at breakfast-time trying to get to work and her kids out to school. Just at that time I went to do an event in Wigtown in Galloway, the Scottish Book Town. It ‘s farming country and it was at the time of the dreadful foot-and-mouth epidemic when sheep and cattle were being slaughtered, the fields were eerily empty and you could smell the smoke of funeral pyres. I was thinking how hard it would be to be a police officer in a community like this where the farmers you were forcing to allow the killing squads on to their land were probably people you knew, ha grown up with. It came to me then that if that was hard, how much more difficult it would be if you were also a farmer’s wife and your job pitted you against not only your friends but your husband as well. So Marjory became a farmer’s wife and that has been the background to her family life.
What research did you have to do in order write this police procedural mystery?
I have had a lot of legal experience and contact with police officers though of course it’s important to keep up to date with changes to the system. I’m lucky enough to have a son who is a solicitor-advocate at the criminal bar so he can always keep me straight.
I knew quite a lot about lifeboats since there was a station in the village where I grew up but I went to various stations and read Royal Lifeboat Institution publications for operational detail – and was delighted to get a good review in their magazine. I also spent a lot of time studying tide tables and sailing protocols.
What would DI Marjory Fleming think of Aline Templeton?
She’d think I was a couch potato. She’s very active and doesn’t spend time reading and hates time spent at her desk; she’d certainly be mystified by my interest in cooking I think she’d reckon we shared a sense of humor and would be pleased that I agree with her views on Robert Burns rather than Tam MacNee’s (great poet, bad man) and that I understand that criminal law is about proof not about abstract justice.
If you could describe the DI Fleming series in 3 words what would they be?
Compelling, character-driven, believable (All words used in reviews)
Why did you pick a small coastal town in Scotland as you setting?
Write what you know – I write from the heart about the sort of community I grew up in.
I appreciate the time you spent with us on Room With Books and thank you for allowing us to be part of your tour.
About the Author
Aline Templeton grew up in the fishing village of Anstruther, in the East Neuk of Fife. She has worked in education and broadcasting and was a Justice of the Peace for ten years. Married, with two grown-up children and three grandchildren, she now lives in a house with a view of Edinburgh Castle. When not writing, she enjoys cooking, choral singing, and traveling the back roads of France.