I’m so excited to welcome author Louise Hare to my website! I’m a huge fan of Miss Aldridge Regrets and historical novels in general! I can’t wait to find out more about this novel and Louise’s writing process! So, let’s jump right in!
Louise! I’m so glad you’re joining us. Tell us more about Miss Aldridge Regrets.
Miss Aldridge Regrets is a ‘golden-age’ murder mystery set in the 1930s. Lena Aldridge is a London jazz singer, down on her luck until one day, a mysterious man offers her the opportunity of a lifetime: a starring role in a new Broadway production and a first-class ticket on the Queen Mary to take her to New York. It sounds too good to be true, but after she witnesses a murder, it seems like a good time to escape London for a while. Unfortunately for her, the murders continue once she sets sail, and she’s not sure if she’s going to end up as the prime suspect or the next victim…
Did you always want to write a historical fiction/mystery novel?
Historical fiction is my great love because you can do so much with it – you can explore the past, you can draw parallels with current issues, and so much more. For this novel, I thought it would be fun to write it as a murder mystery because I love the aesthetic of those old-school crime novels. I used to be a travel agent, so I’ve always been drawn to books that involve journeys and/or exotic locations so the setting of the ocean liner was key, and it provides the perfect location for a spate of murders!
What was the hardest part of crafting Miss Lena Aldridge?
There are two timelines in the novel. The main part of the book follows Lena on the ship, but the other timeline is vital to the plot and covers events that take place a week or so earlier. Figuring out how to weave the two together and not letting the past timeline take over too much was the tricky part.
Did you do a lot of research for Miss Aldridge Regrets?
I had a lot of fun researching. First, I read novels from the period. Lots of Agatha Christie, of course! The Queen Mary was such an iconic ship of her time, and I found so much information about her that I had to stop; otherwise, I risked never writing a word of the novel! And I loved looking at the fashion. Lena’s traveling in first class, so what she wore was important – she had to look like she belonged.
What was your favorite part of the writing process?
The first draft is always the most difficult before I know the characters very well, and it feels like hard work. The second and third drafts are my favorite part of the process. I love fixing a problem, but I’m still writing new scenes for those drafts as well, so it feels very creative.
Let’s talk writing. Did you always want to be a published author?
I wrote lots of little stories when I was a kid, but I only really started writing as an adult about eight years ago. It began as a hobby, something to take my mind off the boring day job, but as I started to get good feedback and meet other writers, I realized that maybe I could get published one day.
What was your writing journey like? Have you been writing for a while before getting an agent?
I took a couple of short writing courses and managed to finish a novel (unpublished!). I then sent it out to probably around fifty agents over the course of eighteen months or so. All rejected it, but there were a few positive responses. Basically, the plot wasn’t strong enough, but they liked my writing. At that point, I signed up to do a Master’s in Creative Writing and ended up writing my first published novel on that course (as well as a short story that eventually turned into Miss Aldridge Regrets!). I entered a writing competition with an extract of that novel and was signed by one of the judges, who was a literary agent.
This is the first book in the series. Can readers expect to see you bring Lena into book 2, or will it be from another character’s POV?
The next book will be published in August and will feature Lena again. Harlem After Midnight follows Lena in New York, recovering from the events on the Queen Mary. Of course, there will be a new mystery to be unraveled!
Before I let you go, tell readers where they can find you on social media!
I’m on Twitter and Instagram as @lourhare. I’m less active on Facebook, but if that happens to be more your thing, then you can find me as Louise Hare Author.