Writer Of The Week: June Bowden

Image supplied by June Bowden. © Writer Of The Week

This week’s Writer Of The Week is June Bowden, whose story, “Thief In The Night” appears in our November 23 issue.

It features DI John Foster who has already solved a number of crimes in the PF pages!

How did you come up with the idea of DI John Foster?

I wanted a detective who did not have the advantages of modern technology or DNA. I also wanted him to be in an interesting time for crime in London, and in a decade I knew something about.

On top of that I wanted a mild, intelligent copper who relies on his observational skills above all else. Foster is a young man of thought, not a man of action.

I also quite like the character, which is why he always seems to pop up in my stories.

How long have you been writing fiction?

I started writing stories as soon as I could write in primary school. My father was a writer, and I have an excellent picture of me “reading” my comic (aged about 4) sat next to him whilst he is on his typewriter. My first efforts were producing very basic comics.

I started to write seriously in my late teens, but did not submit anything as I lacked confidence.

I wrote two books, but it is only since I got some articles published in a magazine that I began to gain confidence, and submit my stories to agents and publishers — and, of course, to “The People’s Friend”. So it’s great to be Writer Of The Week!

I write crime and fantasy, and have published two fantasy books online.

Who are some of your favourite authors?

For crime I have a good mix. I like Conan Doyle, Lindsey Davis, Colin Dexter, Fred Vargas, Dashiell Hammett, Agatha Christie and Robert Crais.

I like crime that has a puzzle and/or is quirky.

Pen and paper or laptop? And where do you write?

I always used to write on sheets of A4 first, as I had a very tricky portable typewriter. But now I have a very good laptop, I put my ideas down on paper first and expand them on my laptop.

I always carry a notebook with me, as ideas can come at any time. It had been very difficult for me to write uninterrupted by my family (‘What are you doing?’), but in recent years I think they know what I am doing now, and they allow me space in the dining room.

Any advice for aspiring writers?

Four main points:

Terry Pratchett advised aspiring writers to read, read, and read. This expands your vocabulary and writing skills and is, in the end, what gives me confidence in most of my work — I am not that bad.

Secondly, I would advise aspiring writers to actually write, and carry a notebook with you for those moments of inspiration.

How I write my crime stories is that I think of a crime, but sometimes it can take me a while to solve it, so I let it brew for a few days in my head before I write the solution down.

Thirdly, do your research. If you want to write about a period in history read a few history books.

I studied History And English as a degree before I trained as a nurse in London. This has left me with a love of reading history books, knowing how people behave, and genuinely liking old London.

My final point to make to any aspiring writer is not to give up!

You have to have some confidence in your work, as you will get knock-backs from agents etc.

But I have had lots of encouragement from non family members (family are either over-critical or too complementary), and I think that helps a lot.

For more from our Writer Of The Week series, click the tag below.

Click here to see our wealth of writing tips.

Tracey Steel

Having worked on a number of magazines over the years, Tracey has found her perfect place on The Friend as she’s obsessed with reading and never goes anywhere without a book! She reads all the PF stories with a mug of tea close by and usually a bit of strong cheese too!