Author Carmen Radkte joins us today on the last stop of the blog tour for her new mystery novel The Case of the Missing Bride.
German-born Carmen claims to have spent most of her life with ink on her fingers and a dangerously high pile of books and newspapers by her side.
She has worked as a newspaper reporter on two continents and always dreamed of becoming a novelist and screenwriter.
When she found herself crouched under her dining table, typing away on a novel between two earthquakes in Christchurch, New Zealand, she realised she was hooked for life.
That novel made it to the longlist of the Mslexia competition and her next book, The Case of the Missing Bride, was a finalist in the Malice Domestic Competition.
Originally from Hamburg, Carmen says she started planning to emigrate when she was five-years-old. She moved first to New Zealand but now lives in York with her daughter and cat.
Sometimes her sea-faring husband comes home.
Carmen writes here about how (not) to write:
A quiet, airy room, with a mood board for pictures on the wall, a noticeboard with plot points, character names and a rough chapter outline next to it.
The scent of fresh coffee refreshes my senses, and peace reigns supreme while I create a whole world with the touch of my fingertips.
Except, it’s all fiction.
This is how I would love to work ideally, although my first choice will forever be scribbling away in my notebooks in the cafés of Montparnasse in the early 1920s, and then go home and type up my masterworks.
Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Gertrude Stein have a lot to answer for.
At least my workspace is slightly on the bohemian (translate: messy) side.
Crumpled pieces of paper
Reference books, in case my memory fails me.
Crumpled pieces of paper with illegible notes – note to self: buy decent pens or work on your handwriting for goodness’ sake.
Half a dozen small notebooks in which I keep notes on – well, anything. Their actual usefulness is highly suspect due to the myriad of entries that make no longer sense.
One example: Who’s the source?
An excellent question, you will agree. If you know the context.
The source of the Nile? The source of money? That flaky pastry I can still taste on my tongue and feel on my hips?
Alas, if I ever throw away these notebooks, their importance will reveal itself the instant the recycling van speeds away.
At least it’s in a good tradition.
Wasn’t it J.K. Rowling who jotted down the original Harry Potter idea on a napkin?
The coffee mug is filled with herbal tea, to tell my brain once and for all that the coffee-break is over and a little bit of help would be nice, thank you very much.
Oooh, there’s a leftover biscuit. I’ll munch it, and then I’ll seriously get down to work. Now let me just find the spoon to stir my tea, and check my emails one last time.
The funny thing is, on a good day it still takes me close to an hour from intending to write to physically put words onto the screen, but then I get lured in to this world that I not so much create as give in to. I write until my eyes blur, or it’s time to pick up my daughter again.
That’s the hardest bit, the struggle to end a writing session.
On a bad day, when all the words appear clumsy and ring wrong in my ears, I argue with my characters, and myself, and I curse the mess on my too small desk. Because I can’t possibly be expected to create magic on the page under these challenging circumstances.
Now, if I could have that quiet, airy room, where no cat scratches at the door to complain about being shut out, or amble through the leafy streets of Paris on my way to my favourite writing jaunt or a congenial drink with like-minded people of style, wit and sophistication, surely it would be different?
Instead, I sip the by now cold tea, give a bitter laugh, and walk away, the weight of the world on my shoulders.
Luckily, though, I have something Hemingway didn’t have – a group of supportive writers who constantly check emails and Facebook to commiserate with me and others or cheer me on. Which is why you find me still here, at my creatively arranged desk, marvelling at the worlds I can create, and the wonders I can find.
I think I spotted a stapler I’ve been looking for for ages.