My Tuesday guest today is the very lovely crime mystery author, Sally Spedding. Sally has come along today to share an experience so without further ado let’s go over to Sally.
FEAR IS THE KEY
Four years ago in November, while driving down to our bolt hole in the Pyrenees, Jeffrey, my late artist husband, decided that the eerily flat landscape around Beaumont-sur-Sarthe in the Pays de la Loire would be ideal for sketches and photographs to help with new work on his current theme ‘Deserted Fields.’
Fine, except that the lane he chose to take off the D338 was barely wide enough for our normal-sized car and seemed to become yet more narrow with each tight bend. Yes, I sometimes suffer from claustrophobia – don’t ask – but this wasn’t a good situation should anything be coming in the opposite direction.
I became a tad agitated, especially when he found an even meaner turning off and parked in its overgrown hedge. Having clambered over the gear stick and my temporarily empty seat, he was off, bobbing away into the distance, car keys in his pocket.
Grounds for divorce, I thought, feeling trapped and terrified by the thick silence of a dead, wintry afternoon. Yes, I could have gone with him, but my computer, several hefty writing pads and research files were in the boot. A no-brainer.
I often say to aspiring crime writers that ‘nothing is wasted,’ so, as the doleful minutes passed, I took a closer look at my surroundings and suddenly spotted a strange looking, tilting shrine in another section of recently trimmed hedge. With no visible commemoration, I wondered about its significance, also about the seemingly deserted farmhouse behind it, whose yard was filled with huge tractors in varying stages of decay.
‘Was anyone living there?’ I asked myself, feeling increasingly vulnerable. If not, who had lived there? And then, by the time I saw my flush-faced husband bobbing back up the lane, I knew.
Three years later, in 2019, Downfall, the first in a series featuring 20-year-old Delphine Rougier was published by Sharpe Books. While dreaming of one day becoming a gendarme, she has to work as a hotel chambermaid to support her parents, each crippled by a shocking secret. Delphine’s grim discovery in one of the bathrooms she has to clean, leads her into a world of danger and betrayal in which the past must at costs, stay hidden.
In The Devil’s Garden out just now, Delphine is training to be a gendarme in the Corrèze department, when she stumbles upon re-wilding fanaticism and treachery in high places, putting her life and those of others in the gravest danger.
So, thank you, Jeffrey. And by the way, we still stayed together!
Wow, great blog, Sally. Thank you so much for sharing that with us all. It just goes to show how as writers we can make every experience count.
Now it’s time to find out a little more about Sally.
Author Bio – Sally Spedding
Born in Porthcawl, Sally studied sculpture before words took over. Her poetry and short stories continue to be widely published – most recently in two CWA anthologies – exploring themes of betrayal by both people and places. Seeds for her fifteen crime thrillers beginning with Wringland set in the haunted fens, and most recently, The Devil’s Garden, set in France. Fourth in a seven-book deal with Sharpe Books. She has twice won and adjudicated the International Welsh Poetry Competition, is a CWA, Crime Cymru and Mystery People member, and was married to the late artist, Jeffrey Spedding. She still divides her time between Wales and the equally inspiring Eastern Pyrenees.
Find out more about Sally’s writing by clicking here.
If you’d like to purchase any of Sally’s books then click on the following links.