Val is the author of the brilliant Glyn and Chrissie stories. “Oranges and Lemons” will appear in our June 30 issue.
The Fiction Team’s Tracey Steel chats to regular “Friend” author, Val Bonsall.
Where did the idea for our 70s crime fighters, Glyn and Chrissie come from?
Simply, I had the idea of writing a series of not-too-serious detective stories, where the quirky relationship between the main characters was as much a feature as the cases they got involved in. I decided to set it in the 1970s because, though it’s the past, it’s the fairly recent past – a past a lot of us can remember
Is it more difficult to write a detective story set in the past where you can’t have the internet, mobile phones etc?
It is a bit harder, mainly because you have to be on the watch for anachronisms creeping in. I always find myself checking up on things like: ‘When did we start using fax machines?’; ‘Were we using cassette recorders then?’
You write all different genres of fiction. Do you have a favourite?
Above all I like the variety and the challenge of writing in different genres. I particularly like mysteries, including those with a supernatural ingredient, as well as crime. But as I said, I’m a romantic, so I do have a soft spot for those happy, life-affirming stories of love and friendship, which usually do end with at least a suggestion that ‘they lived happily ever after’. And whatever the genre, I also like a bit of humour where I can – as indeed in Chrissie and Glyn.
Notebook and pencil or laptop? Kitchen table or study? Blank wall or inspiring view?
All of the above! I always have a notebook with me wherever I go. Ideas for what might make a good story pop up at the most unexpected times and I jot them down.
But I also spend a lot of time with my laptop. That’s where stories come together. And writing one story can give me an idea for another.
A lot of writers seem able to work outside – I mean, beyond just making notes – in, say, cafes. I find
Any tips for aspiring writers?
Read your work, aloud if you wish, to ensure that the ‘voice’ coming from what is written down is your own.