Did she write Murder? An interview
Interview with living (I think she’s still alive) legend Angela!
ME: How cool is this, folks! Today I’m getting to interview Angela, the famous detective that made an entire career by happening to be at crime scenes at exactly the right moment, and then writing books about them! Boom! THAT’S how you write crime fiction, Val Penny!
Even though we are not doing this live I can honestly say that I would definitely not kill anyone anywhere near where you live Angela – a mistake a lot of people have made.
(Last Blog I made the mistake of not confirming who I was talking to – this time I will be a lot more professional. I sent a quick email and asked straight out):
ME: Hey – just want to check – this is Angela that I’m corresponding with, right?!
Angela: ♫ Well, I have been called other things in my time, but last time I checked, I was still Angela. ♫
(Upon receiving the confirmation, I continued!)
Me: Fantastic! So -there might be some amongst my readers that were old enough to remember who you were – sorry – are, you’re still alive, right? LOL (That’s short for laugh out loud, Angela. It’s young-speak.) So, to start off with a nice easy question – Does your new book have anything to do with, um, let me guess – MURDER?
ANGELA: ♪Well, I’m not writing this from the crypt, so I guess that means I’m still alive? ♬ BTW, thank you for explaining LOL, I would never have guessed. As for the question of murder, well, there is an implied one in my latest novel, “The Fractured Globe”, which came out on the 6th December 2020 and is already a best-seller. ♪
ME: You appeared in Beauty and the Beast and were a little potty.
(EDIT I have been informed since the writing of this article that “a little potty” is old-speak for something used as a training toilet and not the teapot I was referring to. Who’d’ve thunk? That’s probably why Mrs. Lansbury got annoyed)
To keep this Disney and relevant to your work - Do you have any kids and are they Chip’s off the old block?
ANGELA: ♪ I hate tea. Austrian – you do know you’re talking to Angela Fish – author of the new book from Darkstroke called “The Fractured Globe”? ♪ I certainly do have children - two boys – but given their surname, I’d hesitate to use the expression ‘chips’. ♬
ME: I’m pretty old myself, though nothing like your 95 years of age! That’s amazing – I can still remember you in “Bedknobs and Broomsticks”. When I asked my 16-year-old daughter what she thought a Bedknob was, well, let’s just say that English has changed SO much over the years. I was pretty worried and had to look it up to make sure I hadn’t made a mistake, and then I had to worry all over again, from where she learnt that.
What was the first film you remember seeing in the cinema – if cinemas existed that long ago, and was it funny, or was it what old people think of as funny?
ANGELA: ♬ Well, YOUNG MAN, I don’t think English has changed so much that when you read FISH, you see LANSBURY (as I assume that’s who you think you’re addressing so familiarly?) ♪
♬ However, in answer to your question, the first film I remember seeing was “The Young Ones” starring Cliff Richard (probably way beyond your time, dear). It was amusing, yes, but the music was the real star. ♪
ME: That is a ♫Tale as old as time♫ (See what I did there Angela? I am killing this!)
Nobody knew that you could nearly sing, for your song in Beauty and the Beast, so can I ask what your favourite song is to wail in the bathtub?
ANGELA: ♫ Whether or not I use a bathtub is none of your business. ♪ In the bathroom, I might occasionally hum a few bars of Metallica’s ‘Harvester of Sorrow’. ♬
ME: I have seen a photo of you that came out shortly after photos were invented I think, but before the world discovered colour. You were an absolute Babe! But there’s a real brain behind the looks too – You have/had a day job apart from stopping murderers and writing about them. Can you tell us a little bit about it before your nap?
Angela: ♬ Yawn! ♪ Yes, it is getting to that time of day but I’m always on the lookout for my next victim. ♫
♬ Before I reached this advanced age I worked in medical research, electrical & electronic engineering and administration. Then I returned to my local university to study Humanities, specialising in English and Creative Writing. ♫
♪ I followed this with an MPhil, literature. After this, I joined the teaching staff and eventually became a Principal Lecturer. I became involved with intergenerational practice – trying to break down the barriers between different generations (try it sometime!) ♪
♬ In 2001, I set up and directed the Wales Centre for Intergenerational Practice, offering training and practical help for anyone in Wales wanting to become involved with projects etc. ♪
♬ I have published poetry, short stories, literary and academic articles, non-fiction and, since taking early retirement, four books for children plus “The Fractured Globe”. ♪
ME: Let’s talk about Inspiration, Angela – Like you are a walking inspiration. A not-very-quick walking inspiration. So, who do you look up to? I know that old people get smaller, so I get that question might infer a lot of people- I meant who were your role models?
Angela: ♬ Let me just move my zimmer frame aside before I strangle er.. answer you. ♫
♪ I might be small (ish) but I pack a punch, and you know what they say about ‘the pen’, don’t you? (Maybe not – it is an old saying, after all). Literary role models – Agatha Christie; Charles Dickens (before your time, dear); Ken Loach (Cathy Come Home - film); Thomas Hardy; Margaret Drabble and Helen Dunmore. Probable lots more but my memory is not as good as it used to be – I’m sure you’ll understand. LOL. ♬
ME: You appeared in little women –can I say that I am so sorry for the typecasting. You also appeared in “Kind Lady”, “Please murder me” and “All fall down”. Is there some subliminal message you are putting out there to the public?
Angela: ♬ Oh, it’s not subliminal, dear. ♫ Appearances can be deceiving. ♪
Me: You have a book out now that immediately went into Best seller status. That’s massive, and a real showing of how loved you are – the book is about two mothers that give birth on the same day. Can you tell us a little bit about it without boring us, specifically, how the surprise ending goes?
Angela: ♪ It has always fascinated me how people are so different, even if they have the same genetic make-up and/or upbringing. ♪ Can someone be truly evil at birth? ♫
♬ I guess I wanted to explore nature/nurture in a more accessible way so decided to focus on the fictional lives of these two women, and on how they deal with the trials and triumphs of life. It is, partly, quite a dark tale, as I focus on homelessness, addiction and domestic violence, but I hope I’ve tempered it with enough positives. ♪
ME AFTER EDITS: I can’t believe it. It’s happened again. Apparently, I am not talking to Angela Lansbury, still living legend and prolific murder hunter, but rather some Best-selling Author called Angela Fish, a self-proclaimed eavesdropper!
I am gutted. I didn’t even get to my “Grinch” jokes. I’ve been done. I paid 200 euros hard cash for this.
Me: So, “not-the-real-Angela”, what was the funniest thing you have eavesdropped, and did any of your overheard conversations make their way into your book?
Angela: ♬ Well, it didn’t seem funny at the time but not so long ago I was sitting on a train behind two men. ♫ One of them seemed quite excited as he was going to interview a writer and his friend was helping him to compile the questionnaire. ♪
♬They spent a long time trying to think up a series of smart-ass questions that, quite frankly, if I’d been the intended author, ♫ I think I would have used them as victims in my next murder mystery …♬
Me: You are Welsh, correct? The real Angela is English. Do you have a strong sense of national identity with Wales or do you want to be like the real Angela? And can you speak Cymraeg (Welsh)? I believe only 29% of the population can speak it…
Angela: ♪ I do identify strongly with Wales ♫ as I was born and raised here and my father was Welsh. However, my mother was Irish ♫ so I guess there’s a part of me that sees myself as Celtic. ♬
♬ Maybe that’s why I have such an interest in myths and legends. I don’t speak Welsh as all of my schooling was through the medium of English and neither of my parents spoke the language. ♪
Me after edits: I have gone back over the manuscript and changed the format of Mrs Fish’s answers, after confirming she is Welsh, to properly illustrate her Welshness. I am confident she will have an accent and all Welsh people sing instead of speaking. I am all over this! Minority representation!
Me: Finally, to wrap up – is there anything you’d like to tell any would-be writers this Christmas?
Angela: ♪ Stay strong and believe in yourself. ♫ Seek advice/help/support whenever you can and don’t be afraid of constructive criticism. If you feel a piece of writing isn’t working, put it away for a while. Maybe it could work in a different format. ♫
Folks, you need to buy Angela’s book before she forgets she wrote it.
And that’s a wrap!
Angela is awesome, a real star, and a lovely colleague. Please support her, and gift yourself a fantastic book for Christmas. Links below!
Angela's Book, The Fractured Globe, is available to buy, HERE
Her website is HERE
Her Facebook page is HERE
Her Twitter page is HERE
Her Instagram site is HERE
Angela's Goodreads page is HERE
And her Bookbub page is HERE