The Woman Behind Anon, Sir, Anon: An Interview With Authoress Rachel Heffington

Wednesday, November 05, 2014

Hello loves! Bree here. Today, in celebration of the iminent release of Anon, Sir, Anon, the brilliant author Rachel Heffington is here to chat about the book, the work behind it, and a peek at what's to come. If you love mysteries (or even if you don't), read on!

1. Tell us a little about yourself as an author! What's your mission statement? Your ideals? What makes you tick? This is always a subject on which I am willing to wax verbose. To spare you, I will try to make a concise answer: My mission has been to put forth fun and decent fiction with a Christian worldview, but not necessarily christian fiction. By which I mean that my writing should appeal to both secular and christian readers. The christian readers will find the christianity understated and understood--with my mysteries, especially, I am not attempting to evangelize the masses--and the secular readers will find themselves curious over what makes my characters tick, why certain issues are more heinous and not taken for granted as they are in most of the modern world today.
What makes me tick? Humor, quaint powers of description (Wodehouse? Milne? Chesterton?), and a sense of a greater Story beyond. Also, epic, sweeping prose. Which I cannot write but definitely appreciate.
2. What first prompted your writing of Anon, Sir, Anon? A random selection off a library shelf. By the time I’d come to the end of P.D. James on Detective Fiction, Farnham was knocking at my mind’s door. It was, essentially, spur-of-the-moment.
3. I heard rumors of Anon, Sir, Anon becoming a bit of a series - can you tell us a little more about that? It was long a principle of mine that I would never attempt a series, strictly because the idea of the mechanics involved scares the pididdle out of me. However, with my mysteries, instances are more isolated. I can contain each story within itself as a semi-stand-alone novel while still complimenting its brothers and sisters within the series. I can handle that, and am fond of such books I have come across in my reading. I love Vivi and Farnham and the town of Whistlecreig which I created for my purposes. My readers have loved them. I look forward to pursuing them on more cases, and have begun writing the second Vivi & Farnham mystery, Scotch’d The Snakes.
4. If you found yourself (like Vivi) going off to help a distant relative and caught in a murder-mystery, what would be your first course of action? Probably a thought of how I could write this into a novel. Truly. I have no powers of logical deduction but I’d simply refuse to be left out of it and employ myself in taking everyones’ characters and aiding in the establishment of suspects, in which field I would accidentally excel. I am also quite willing to take nighttime walks out of doors to track people, things, clues down.
5. To which character in Anon, Sir, Anon do you most closely relate? Vivi. We are not alike, but we are not dissimilar in certain aspects (Jimmy. Ahem. Jimmy.).
6. Did anything surprise you in the writing of Anon, Sir, Anon? Do you think there are aspects of the story that will surprise your readers (other than Whodunnit)? I think traditional-mystery readers will be surprised at the tone of the novel.It’s quite comedic...but I think other readers will be surprised by the gravity of certain moments. I made it a point not to be surprised plot-wise. The author can’t afford it in a mystery. I was, however, happily astonished to find certain lines that are That Sort that make an author proud.
7. If I remember correctly, you drew a map of Whistlecreig. Could you be persuaded to share it, along with your reason/method for creating it? Quite so! The map is included in the book--my wonderful designer actually smashed it in there--but I will be posting it online for readers who want a closer look. I found myself in need of a map by virtue of the fact that the probability of the murder and certain suspects relies heavily on cross-country timing. I also wanted readers to be able to get a feel for Whistlecreig and its environs. And for a third reason, I wanted to be sure I wouldn’t describe directions wrongly and for that, I needed a concrete drawing of the town’s layout.
8. I love reading a good, classic murder-mystery. What books would you say inspired Anon, Sir, Anon? I am probably shooting my own endeavors in the foot by admitting this, but...none. None directly. I am not an aficionado of the genre and simply rolled up my sleeves, researched, and took on the task on a whim.That being said, the classic golden-era mysteries (especially Dorothy L. Sayers) most assuredly inspired the setting. Nothing like Britain for a ripping whodunnit!
9. Mysteries can be complex on their own; I imagine writing them is quite a task. What were some of the ways that you kept details/circumstances/suspects in order? I kept a list of suspects, a list of clues, and a list of what scenes I definitely wanted to have in the book. Then I had an excellent team of beta-readers who would catch slip-ups and let me know. Couldn’t have done it without them! Golly.
10. How do you hope to affect readers with this book? I hope Anon, Sir, Anon takes a different tone than some mysteries when it comes to how the author treats the victim. I want the reader to feel uncomfortable with the fact that someone has been killed. I don’t want a mannequin to have died--it was a real person and it should affect the reader as such. From what I’ve heard from advance-readers, I think I’ve managed it fairly well. But that’s what I hope. Also, I hope the reader wants more Vivi & Farnham. By the time I’d finished writing this mystery, I wanted it to go on! Cannot wait to get on a roll with the next. :)

Thank you so much for having me here, Bree! [and to my readers] I hope to reach a whole new world of readers with this mystery, and that could mean you! So please drop by The Inkpen Authoress--come in! I’d love to know you better. :)

1 comment

  1. Thanks a mil, Bree! It was a delight to be with you today at Tea & Bree. <3


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