Today is my stop on the blog tour for Dancers in the Wind by Anne Coates and I’m delighted to have a great guest post from Anne herself!
About the book:
Freelance journalist and single mother Hannah Webridge is commissioned by a national newspaper to write an investigative article on the notorious red light district in Kings Cross. There she meets prostitute Princess, and police inspector in the vice squad, Tom Jordan. When Princess later arrives on her doorstep beaten up so badly she is barely recognizable, Hannah has to make some tough decisions and is drawn ever deeper into the world of deceit and violence. Three sex workers are murdered, their deaths covered up in a media blackout, and Hannah herself is under threat. As she comes to realize that the taste for vice reaches into the higher echelons of the great and the good, Hannah must expose the truth—and stay alive.
You can order your copy by clicking the link below:
About the author:
For most of her working life in publishing, Anne has had a foot in both camps as a writer and an editor, moving from book publishing to magazines and then freelancing in both.
Having edited both fiction and narrative non-fiction, Anne has also had short stories published in a variety of magazines including Bella and Candis and is the author of seven non-fiction books.
Born in Clapham, Anne returned to London after graduating and has remained there ever since. In an attempt to climb out of her comfort zone, Anne has twice “trod the boards” – as Prince Bourgrelas in Ubu Roi when a student and more recently as a nun in a local murder mystery production. She also sings periodically in a local church choir and is relieved when she begins and finishes at the same time – though not necessarily on the same note – as everyone else. Needless to say, Anne will not be giving up her day job as an editor and writer.
Telling stories is Anne’s first love and nearly all her short fiction as well as Dancers in The Wind began with a real event followed by a “what if …” That is also the case with the two prize-winning 99Fiction.net stories: Codewords and Eternal Love.
Anne is currently working on the sequel to Dancers in the Wind.
Hannah and me – how far is the protagonist Hannah Weybridge a reflection of AC?
Hannah Weybridge resides in my house – or rather my house as it was some twenty years or so ago. She also lives in my mind, choosing facets of me she likes and discarding what she considers to be my failings and weaknesses. So I have created some new ones for her!
Hannah is a freelance journalist, a single mother with a young baby daughter living in East Dulwich, London. So far so similar.
And, in fact, the interviews Hannah conducts for The News at King’s Cross at the beginning of Dancers in the Wind, are based on ones I was commissioned to write. I have obviously fictionalised them and to be honest the young woman I interviewed must sadly be long dead as she was a heavy drugs user.
In the 90s, (my novel begins in 1993) as a freelance journalist, I worked subbing shifts and wrote features for the News of the World colour supplement. In those days the redtop Sunday was quite a crusading newspaper and some of my friends worked on stories which exposed rackets and people who were exploiting others.
But it was also big on celebrities – some who fared better than others. I remember one story written by a fellow journo about an ageing actress who was “a national treasure”. The story was spiked as the revelations it contained would have been distressing for her and her fans. It was my first experience of how newspapers manipulate public opinion by what they omitted to publish. This happens to one of Hannah’s stories but for a very different reason.
The interview with the prostitute and police officer I wrote was never published as the features editor thought it was too sad. Other commissions were less emotionally draining and did see the light of day.
I also wrote for a range of magazines and newspapers including house magazines some of which have now ceased publication as has the News of the World but for rather different reasons! I fared better than Hannah in that I was having my short stories accepted for publication in Bella, Candis and other magazines. During this time I also started writing non-fiction books for various publishers.
By basing Hannah’s character on some of my experiences, I was writing about a world I knew. The location is London – a city I love and where I have lived for most of my life. However what I have enjoyed most when writing was putting Hannah in dangerous situations, which I have never encountered and that would have had me running for the hills.
I think every writer uses part of their own DNA for characters in their books. Playing around with my own prejudices and preconceptions has been fascinating for me but what I sincerely hope is that readers discover a well-rounded character they would like to get to know better.
Hannah’s life is deeply scarred by her experiences in Dancers. What she faces in the sequel, Death’s Silent Judgement, is done under the shadow of evil from book one…
Fortunately I live an altogether more harmonious life.
Huge thanks to Anne for joining me on the blog today! 🙂