Monday, September 5, 2011

Interview with Faith Mortimer

Name of the book:

The Assassins’ Village (2nd book)

Kindle Price:


Available from:
Amazon Kindle US
Amazon Kindle UK
Authors Website:


Faith Mortimer was born in Manchester and was educated in Singapore, Malaya and Hampshire, England. She qualified as a Registered nurse and after some years changed careers to oversee a number of travel and sport related companies.
She is happily married to Chris and together they have four children. Once the children began to attend University, Faith decided to join them in reading for a Science degree. Faith obtained her Honours Science degree with The Open University in 2005 and says that the dedication and stamina needed to sit for a degree gave her the confidence to finish writing her first novel. She achieved this and January 2009 saw the publication of The Crossing. This novel is based on a true incident and Faith thoroughly enjoyed the six months or so research that went into the book and the later 18 months writing and editing.
The Crossing is available in paperback and Kindle format on Amazon.
In 2010 Faith finished writing her second novel; a murder mystery set in the Troodos mountains of Cyprus where Faith spends the majority of her time.
This 93,000 word novel was posted on the Harper Collins/Authonomy site and out of over 8000 books was chosen in November 2010 to be the Number 1 book! You can read the review here.

Harper Collins Review for The Assassin's Village

'The Assassin's Village' is a traditional murder mystery, set in Cyprus. It centres on the brutal murder of Mr Leslie, an expatriate whose Lothario ways, military past and cavalier demeanour have earned him no shortage of enemies among the villagers. It is a novel written very much in the style of Agatha Christie: a classic who-done-it, in a small, gossiping, rural village. The prose is brought up-to-date with the fairly explicit themes of sexual liberation and exploitation.
As a thrilling read, 'The Assassin's Village' certainly fits the bill. I flew through the first 19 chapters. The prose is easy to follow, and dramatic in duly regular intervals.
I was particularly engaged by the different perceptions of Mr Leslie. We are already interested in the character, knowing from the prologue that he is to be our victim, and the author cleverly throws our judgment of him with every new perspective. Particularly endearing is the relationship between Antigone and Mr Leslie. Indeed, the sequence of chapter seven, where Antigone watches her brother hunting, is by far the strongest in the novel so far. It illustrates all of the strengths of the writing, the prose is obviously impeccably researched, and brings in a political element that raises the calibre of the story; the setting is evocative; and the characterisation is strong and feels fresh...
...I should say that, I really like the way you subverted normal linear chronology to lay out the events. It is, clear that you are capable of presenting the clues very well, and I particularly liked the way you used Diana's sketching to map out the facts and unlock the possibilities.
From here I would consider the relevance of everything in the plot. There are many motifs centred on the play Macbeth - the suggestions of occult activities, the play being put on by the villagers, the quotes prefacing each chapter, the relationship between Antigone and Mr Leslie, and Mr Leslie's endearing side in general, the political history, and the parallels of Diana's writing to the unfolding of the broader plot are all strong - these are all interesting themes...
... overall, there is a lot to commend in this manuscript.

Tell me about your book?

I split my time between homes in Cyprus and Hampshire, UK. My new novel, “The Assassin’s Village” features a blackmailer and a murderer in the midst of an expatriate theatre group riven by jealousy. When a body is discovered, Diana, a cast member, turns detective to draw up a suspects list. After the police get involved, one of the suspects is found hanged –another murder or the suicide of a guilty person?

From The Assassins’ Village:

“As the victim stared with revulsion, his throat gagged and he retched. Stomach churning, he felt a warmth spread beneath his loins. Screaming in panic he tried to pull away from the calm face of his attacker, only to realise that it was futile. The end, when it came, was swift, a thrust and a sharp twist. At first, there was no wound; then the blood flowed and grew like a blossom of deep red peonies spilling their petals to hiss upon the hot honey-coloured rock. Satisfied, the assassin bent down, removed the pretty blue scarab ring from the victim’s finger, placed it in the bag and walked away without another look.”

The book has been reviewed by a Harper Collins editor as having echoes of Macbeth, “It illustrates all of the strengths of the writing, the prose is obviously impeccably researched, and brings in a political element that raises the calibre of the story; the setting is evocative; and the characterisation is strong and feels fresh...”

“Once I’d finished my first novel, The Crossing, I was dying to get cracking on another fiction story. One Friday we were invited to a party in our village in Cyprus. The guests were almost 100% local residents, and a right motley bunch they were too. We (my husband and I) live in a small village in Cyprus, and our neighbours consist of many Nationalities. Mostly we live in harmony, but just occasionally something untoward will happen and our quiet village erupts, in a seething mass of tittle-tattle and suspicion.
It was during one of these episodes that I realised everyone has a quite different approach to life in general. In the village we have a miniature Roman Amphitheatre, and as I’ve been a regular ‘amateur’ actress for years I thought it would be fun to concoct a story around the ‘players’ (some villagers), the rest of the local people and an event that would completely shatter the community in its happening.”

The Assassin’s Village follows my first novel, The Crossing which received high praise when published in 2009. Based on a true incident, this powerfully emotive tale of passion and love across two generations in the parallel settings of modern day action and the horrors of war makes an utterly compelling read with a refreshing and very different approach to subjects which are normally the preserve of male authors.

From The Crossing:
“A dockhand caught the heaving line flung ashore by Billy. ‘Where’ve you been mate?’ he asked as he took a turn around the bollard.
Billy thought for a moment. Of all the past night’s activities. The fatalities and the horror of it all. Who could understand?

What will readers like about your book?

The Assassins’ Village is classed as a murder-mystery thriller. I believe, (and various 5 star reviews on Amazon verify this) that the book is like an up-to-date Agatha Christie ‘who-dunnit’. The setting is Cyprus – always nice to have a setting a bit exotic from one’s own home town.
I’ve introduced many characters, of whom all had a very good reason to see the bad guy get their comeuppance.
Maybe, best of all…I think EVERYONE who’s read The ASSASSINS’ VILLAGE, does not guess who the murderer is until the final page.

Personally, all too often these days, a lot of thrillers feature their murderer in the first chapter. This leaves nothing for the reader to pit their wits against.

What inspired you to write this particular story?

Living in Cyprus, I was surrounded by a real mix of people; plotting and sniping at each other behind their backs – it seemed an ideal place to start! I’ve always loved the real mystery story, so I set pen to paper.

When did you start writing?

I’ve always played around with words, but it wasn’t until 2009 that I saw my first novel in paperback.

When did you realize that you were a serious writer?

When I saw the paperback on the shelf in Waterstone’s bookstores. I was so thrilled and proud!

When did you decide that you wanted to write a book?

Once my children had left home… I had more time… sat a degree and passed and then realized I had the dedication and stamina to get on with it!

Why did you choose this particular genre to write your book in?

I don’t stick to any particular genre – I still want to keep my options open as I love all words.

What is your writing process?

I write long hand on a fresh pad(s). Once I’ve finished this draft I transfer my MS on to my pc. This is my first edit – and usually terrible! I then edit and edit and edit.

How long does it take you to write your first draft?

Mmm? Anything up to four months – I have many distractions at the moment!

Why did you publish on Kindle and other eReaders?

I wanted to control my book, my life. We’ve yet to see how it really all works out. Of course if there’s a mega publishers waiting around the corner I might just be tempted!

What kind of advice would you like to share with an aspiring writer who’s looking to publish a book for the first time?

Don’t think about it – just do it. If you really want to write then nothing can or will stop you, and good luck.

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