The Writer’s Life Blog
The Writers’ Lives?
The title at the top tells the story - where to put an apostrophe? Once I had written The Richebourg Affair, I knew what I had intended to write, but was that what I had written? I was so close to it I couldn’t even see the punctuation mistakes. It had taken the best part of a year to write. It had taken me down all sorts of blind alleys, and if the effort it had taken me to drag it back out again, kicking and screaming, was to have been worth the bother, the manuscript needed to be seen by an editor. At that point I found an advertisement which asked whether I had written a book, and if I wanted to know if it was any good, to call this number. I duly called the number. Half an hour later, having been promised all sorts of things including a Hollywood contract, I thought, hang on a moment, you haven’t even asked about the book yet. I suppose everyone’s been there, but the moral of that story is don’t ever sign the first deal you come across. I was chatting to a friend from my student days, and she remarked that her other half had also written a book, and he had found an editor, called Sarah, who was delightful, and gave me her number. Sarah and I met and drank tea together. For an inveterate coffee and wine drinker, I seem to drink an awful lot of tea at important moments. Following the consumption of tea, she agreed to read a chapter or two, and see what she thought. A couple of days later, I got an e-mail asking me to send the rest. This I did. A couple of days after that I got another e-mail saying that she was willing to edit the manuscript, and that if I wanted to become a mystery writer, then I ought to go to Crimefest in Bristol, and meet other mystery writers, and as I had nothing particularly on that weekend, I did. That was an extraordinary experience, seeing in the flesh and talking to all sorts of people whose photos I had seen on the back covers of books I had enjoyed so much. I also found out that mystery writers are such a helpful and gentle group, and are always ready to help a newbie, even those, like me, of a certain age. Jeff Siger springs to mind, who sat down at my breakfast table that weekend and asked about me, and how I was doing. Bill and Toby Gottleib from Los Angeles suggested I went to Left Coast Crime the following March. It was being held in Monterey in California, and as I had never yet seen the Pacific Ocean, I thought that would be something to do. Meanwhile Sarah and I were working on polishing Richebourg, and I was also writing its sequel, The Charlemagne Connection. We were also trying to find a market for Richebourg, and an agent. There were a number of ‘nearlies’, where those who asked for a complete book but then never came back.
At Monterey, I was sitting in the bar listening to a couple of people talking, when I was aware of a different conversation behind me. Someone had walked in off the street brandishing a manuscript and was hitting, fairly forcefully, on an unfortunate woman behind me. I turned round, and spoke to him firmly, sounding completely different than everyone else, being an Englishman in California, and stopped him in his tracks. When he finally left mumbling with his manuscript in his hand, the victim of the plot asked me who I was and should we know each other? Today Maryglenn McCombs is the publicist for Crime Scene Books.
It was at that moment when Sarah was looking through Charlemagne, that she revealed another string to her bow, that she was also a publisher, of an eclectic range of non-fiction books. She had also been commissioned to write a ‘How To’ book about crime fiction, which was being edited prior to publication by Robinson. She had decided to start publishing mysteries under a new imprint when the right book turned up. She offered to publish my books as Crime Scene Books. My reply must be fairly obvious, as that’s their home now.
I have to say that The Richebourg Affair appears to have been an extremely lucky book. Everywhere I was appeared to be the right place at the right time, and this year in Portland OR both Sarah and I were at Crimelandia 2015, she signing How to Write Crime Fiction, and me signing Richebourgs. Since then The Charlemagne Connection has appeared, and I am half-way through writing the third book in the series, The Romanée Vintage.
My secret? Be Lucky!
Title: THE CHARLEMAGNE CONNECTION
Author: Richard Michael Cartmel
Publisher: Crime Scene Books
The Charlemagne Connection, Cartmel’s latest mystery, is an exhilarating tale of villainy in the vineyards featuring the rumpled but shrewd Inspector Charlemagne Truchaud of the Paris police.
About The Charlemagne Connection: Something sinister is afoot in the charming little Burgundy village of Nuits-Saint-Georges. Inspector Truchaud will have an elaborate mystery to unravel when a young German tourist goes missing in Nuits-Saint-Georges. What appears, at first, to be a straightforward case takes a dark turn when a decomposing body is found in the woods….
A captivating tale that transports readers to the vineyards of Burgundy, The Charlemagne Connection crackles with suspense. Smart, seamless, and sensational, The Charlemagne Connection blends a to-die for setting, a well-balanced, full-bodied plot, and irresistible characters. Celebrated novelist R.M. Cartmel uncorks a wild, witty, and winning wine mystery in The Charlemagne Connection.
Born into a military family, R.M. Cartmel was educated at Sherborne School in the South West of England and at Oxford. Cartmel served as a practicing doctor for over three and a half decades. As a novelist Cartmel combines two of his lifelong loves—writing and traveling throughout France’s exquisite Burgundy region.
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