Q&A with Mark Ellis – from Swansea to war-torn London

Q&A with Mark Ellis – from Swansea to war-torn London

Every week we feature a Q&A session with one of our Crime Cymru authors so that they can tell us a little bit about themselves. This week, Mark Ellis discusses his books set in World War 2 London and gives us an insight into how he goes about the business of writing.   Give us a brief introduction to you I am a thriller writer from Swansea. Prior to commencing life as a full-time author I had careers as a barrister, business executive and entrepreneur. I write a crime series set in World War 2 London  featuring a Scotland Yard detective called Frank Merlin. This period in British history has always fascinated me. I grew up under the shadow of my parents’ experiences in the war. My father served in the wartime navy, contracted a wasting lung disease and died a young man when I was seven. My mother used to tell me stories of watching the heavy bombardment of Swansea by...
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Q&A with Alis Hawkins – Influences

Q&A with Alis Hawkins – Influences

To wish you all a very happy 2020, we're starting a new Q&A feature, where Crime Cymru authors will be answering our questions to tell us a little bit about themselves. This week, Alis Hawkins talks about the influences that shape her writing.     Hello to all Crime Cymru followers! I hope you had an excellent Christmas and that 2020 is looking good so far. I’m really delighted to be kicking off this new series of Q&A sessions with Crime Cymru’s writers. I hope you enjoy it! Have any of your plots/characters been influenced by real life events/people? All of them! The reason I started writing the Teifi Valley Coroner series was because I wanted to write about the Rebecca Riots and, having set the first book up with such a solid historical background, I’ve carried on in the same vein. The background to In Two Minds is Welsh emigration to America but there’s quite a big dollop of the nascent science of forensic...
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LOST IN TRANSLATION?: GWEN PARROTT

Gwen Parrott explains the ups and downs of translating her own novels from Welsh to English The one huge advantage of translating your own novels is that the perennial problem of trying to read the original author’s mind doesn’t exist. I say this having spent well over twenty years as a translator, puzzling over the intentions of thousands of writers on every topic under the sun as I struggle to understand what they meant to say, as opposed to what they actually said. However, translating my own novels from Welsh into English has proved a salutary experience in other unforeseeable ways. Originally, I did it to provide an English copy for family and friends, once the Welsh novel was complete, but I found that the process was an unexpectedly useful form of editing and, since then, I’ve tried to translate before submitting to a publisher. Perhaps I’m just a poor editor, but when I translate I see things that my eye slides...
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Historical crime #2: Hindsight and misconceptions – Thorne Moore

Thorne Moore writes about the perils of hindsight in understanding the past. Although most of my books have a contemporary setting, history plays a large part too, In my novel, The Unravelling, an adult looks back on events that happened when she was a child and realises how much she misunderstood back then. But more often, the theme I prefer to explore is the ease with which the present can misinterpret past events. Hindsight can cast light on a great many things, but sometimes the light it casts creates wholly deceptive shadows as we struggle to peer through the veil of our modern perceptions. In A Time For Silence, a contemporary woman tries to understand the world of her grandparents in the 1930s and 40s, and simply can’t do it because her life is so utterly different. In Shadows, people rush to the assumption that a medieval body recovered from a bog must surely have been a human sacrifice, because theories...
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Historical Crime #1: the Home Front – Mark Ellis

Mark Ellis explores crime on the home front, when you might have thought world war would be enough for people to cope with. I am a Swansea boy. During World War II, the importance of Swansea’s industry and docks made the town a major target for the Luftwaffe. Between 1940 and 1943, Swansea was the target of 44 raids with 340 people killed, thousands injured and massive destruction of property, including most of the town centre. My mother, fifteen at the outbreak of the war, lived with her family on the heights of the Bigyn in Llanelli. From the back of the house there was a clear view across the Loughor Estuary and the Gower towards Swansea. She told me how the family would gather in the garden on raid nights and watch in horror the macabre spectacle in the distance as the bombs rained down and Swansea burned. I found such personal experiences of the war riveting. Another of my mother’s tales...
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