Today I am MORE than happy to welcome Anne Coates to the blog to have a chat about her novel Dancers in the Wind. Anne is a great friend and I’m extraordinarily pleased to see her novel out there in the wild! Although a little like poor David Young she’s having to wait for a review from me because as ever I’m a little late to the party and havent written it yet. So before that I bring you this!
You tackle some tough subjects in Dancers in the Wind – tell us a little about why you decided to write this particular story, what inspired it?
When I started writing Dancers, I didn’t know how tough the subject was going to get! The interviews at the beginning are based on ones I was commissioned to write for a newspaper. Their stories haunted me. I’ve rewritten them so much now that they probably bear little resemblance to the originals except for some of the facts which I listened to in horror at the time. Prostitution is such an emotive topic. I remember after graduating and starting work in publishing, an (ex)-friend telling me I was prostituting myself for working for a mass-market publisher! In a way this is Hannah’s problem too. She’s freelance and needs the work and can’t be too choosy. Women working the streets can’t be choosy either especially if they are at the mercy of pimps. Without giving anything away there are some pertinent comparisons in the novel.
The setting King’s Cross is one you and I both know well! Did you research around that, how much of Dancers in set in reality when it comes to that area?
I’m not sure how to take that comment about us knowing King’s Cross so well, Liz! However, this is King’s Cross of the early 90s pre-modernisation of the station and I did walk round the places where the prostitutes took their clients. I also studied street maps and photographs of the time. So I would say the location is definitely set in reality. The pubs and cafés are an amalgamation of downbeat London establishments.
Talk a little about Hannah – strong and independent, even she is not QUITE ready for what comes – how did you look to build the character and what do you hope readers take from the story?
Hannah’s character evolved with the narrative. Her reactions to what happens sometimes took me by surprise. I love the fact that she can get so ratty at times and also that she is vulnerable yet brave. I don’t think the violence in the story is ever gratuitous but it was an eye-opener for me. I once sat at my desk with a knife held to my throat to experience the sensation.
I have been delighted that early readers have had their preconceptions challenged. And I love the fact that people have enjoyed the storytelling. Wonderful for an author’s ego when people actually discuss your characters with you. I’m not hoping to change the world just to expose a fraction of it.
This is your first novel – what has the road to publication been like for you?
Tortuous sums it up nicely. Although this is my first novel I have published seven non-fiction books and two collections of short stories. As you know, I wrote Dancers some 20 years ago and gave up on finding a home for it. Then, last year I rewrote it and tried again. The breakthrough was learning about Urbane Publications (via Twitter) and sending off the idea to Matthew Smith. He asked to see the whole manuscript virtually straightaway and, once he’d read it, was so enthusiastic we discussed the project as a trilogy. Book two, Death’s Silent Judgement will be published in May 2017 and the third, which I am currently working on, in the following autumn. So after a long gestation period, a whirlwind of activity!
Finally, just for a bit of fun, tell us 3 very random non bookish facts about you…
Gosh this is the hardest part … I don’t drink tea or eat cake (unless it’s non dairy) so I often feel left out when everyone on twitter is drooling over sensational gateaux – but I find wine compensates.
Fat, smelly people always gravitate to the empty seat beside me on a bus or train.
I’m a devotee for the Miss Havisham school of housework.
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.
Dancers in the Wind is available from 13th October published by Urbane Publications.
Find out more HERE
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To Purchase Dancers in the Wind clickety click right HERE