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The Mistress Murders-Author E.L. Johnson “the best book magazine in the UK“, EL Johnson talks about his latest historical novel, The Mistress Murders, and what inspired its characters.
I have previously worked with E.L. Johnson in his book The Mistress Murders. Now I am pleased to announce that she is back at The Table Read to talk about her new book The Mistress Murders and the inspiration for this new story.
EL. Johnson writes historical crime novels. Originally from Boston, she skipped clam chowder and lobster rolls for tea and sandwiches when she crossed the pond to London, where she studied medieval magic at UCL and medieval medicine at Birkbeck College. Currently based in Hertfordshire, she is a member of the Hertford Writers’ Circle and founder of the London Seasonal Book Club.
When she is not writing, Erin spends her days working as a spokeswoman for a royal charity and her evenings as lead singer for the band Gothic- Progressive Metal Orpheum. She is also an avid Jane Austen fan and has a growing collection of historical drama. Her third book, The Mistress Murders, is available online.
Focus on the latest version. What made you decide to write The Mistress Murders?
I’ve been thinking about how men and women cheat on their partners. What if a good wife discovers that her husband is not only cheating on her but also has a mistress to keep her classy in pre-regency London? What would you do if you knew it was happening but didn’t know which lover it was? That was the motivation for one of my characters in The Mistress Murders, the third book in the Perfect Poison series, published by Dragonnade Publishing.
What were your biggest challenges writing The Mistress Murders?
pants. I’m a plotter and a gardener, a sower! But trying to tell my stories as much as possible takes away some of their creativity. But when I gasp, I don’t know what’s next. It’s both exciting and nerve-wracking because you want to deliver a great story to your readers and do justice to your characters.
This book was also quirky for me because it surrounded the two main characters and gave the supporting characters more attention and depth than ever before. Many characters had subplots, and weaving them together in the context of a historical crime story while maintaining as much timing accuracy as possible is not an easy task.
Who or what inspired you to create The Protagonist?
You so often see a heroine who is fantastic in historical movies and Hollywood movies. But what about straight girls who don’t conform to our society’s or their society’s standards of beauty? What if you have a fairly ordinary girlfriend who is relatively poor, doesn’t have glamorous connections, but is well-educated and quick-witted? This inspired the character of Poppy Morton, my character who is tall, lacks the seductive feminine curves of her peers, and must face the world.
What is the arson incident in The Mistress Murders?
In this book, we see the progression of the characters of Poppy and Henry. Poppy travels to London to seek independence and tries to be a companion, but what she really wants is to be reunited with her mother. For years she was raised to believe her mother was dead, but now she has found out that her mother is alive and well and Poppy wants to find her.
What is the main conflict in The Mistress Murders?
The fact that lovers still die. Poppy finds herself in the company of a group of rather cackling and slandering lovers. But someone sends them poisonous letters and kills them one by one. Poppy needs to find out who is behind this.
Did you plan the mistress murders in advance or did you fly around, sit in your pants and kick?
I approach each book with what I would like and try to sketch some directions the story might go. But eventually, I start writing and see where the story takes me.
Did you get help editing and how many edits did The Mistress Murders take?
No matter how good you are as a freelance writer, you will miss mistakes. Before submitting the book to my publisher, I checked the book for errors at least six times, sometimes more. My editor, Amelia, is brilliant and knowledgeable about this period, so she challenges me with historical inaccuracies and picks things up. Together we work on the story until it shines.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give someone that inspired you to write a story?
Just start typing. Once you start, you never know where you will end up.
Can you tell me what other books you want to write?
I’ve gifted several series to my publisher, so fingers crossed! I’m going to dive into the historical periods so keep an eye out for this place!
And finally, are you proud of your achievement? It was worth it?
Absolutely. I have written a book. It’s always worth it. Writing is my favorite pastime. We do it because we love it.
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