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Guest Author Spotlight - Frances Cooper

I am delighted to welcome the wonderful Frances Cooper to my blog this week and what a great writer she is.

Let's start with her bio.

I was born and bred within the sound of Stamford Bridge football ground and early experiences in the area have had a significant influence on my writing. My junior school was built on the site of Beatrix Potter’s house in London only a short walk from Brompton Library which I visited on a weekly basis from the age of five, proudly clutching my first library ticket. My main interest is crime fiction but I have really enjoyed writing fairy tales and am currently working on a story for younger children.

By the age of ten, I had developed a passion for fantasy and science fiction, believing that anything was possible by stepping through the looking glass or getting into a small blue box to travel anywhere in time and space.

Further education didn’t stand a chance, as my senior school was situated in the Kings Road against a backdrop of the vibrant Swinging Sixties scene where people gathered cross-legged on the floor for poetry readings and a cup of jasmine tea. I guess this was when teenagers were first invented. Eventually reality stepped in and I finally went to college as a mature student studying Accountancy, Business Law and IT, before moving back into the corporate world.

I joined a local writers’ group two years ago with the sole intention of writing one story. Now, with over 300K words ‘on the clock’, I have started the third book of a trilogy. It’s in the style of a traditional murder mystery, body-in-the-library cosy crime, but with a modern twist that takes you just beyond what is currently possible revealing a darker, more sinister thread underlying the main plot.

Maybe the urge to solve mysteries is something in the blood. My grandfather came down from Scotland to join the Metropolitan police in 1887. This was the time when one of our greatest fictional detectives first appeared in Baker Street and of London’s most notorious real-life unsolved murder mystery. My uncle was also a policeman, an old fashioned bobby-on-the-beat, whose stalwart nature and enormous sense of fun made a lasting impression on me.

I have two main beliefs – if you write with a passion and believe in what you’re doing, then so will everyone else... and secondly, that chocolate really is a square meal.

Here is her short tale about, no, I won't spoil it.

Operation Ap-pen-dectomy

By Frances Cooper

“Careful, now , just put it on the table. It’s looking rather fragile.”

“What do you think, sir, can we save it?”

“I don’t know, Carstairs! I’m going to have to open it up and take a look!”

“Do you think that’s wise, sir?”

“Synopsis doesn’t seem too good. Get me a nib! We’re going to have to ‘Edit’.”

“But it’s already down to the bone. The plot could collapse at any moment.”

“It’s a chance we’ll have to take! Sally?”

“Word Count 400...and falling!”

“What about the reflexives?”

“Pronouns all normal, some of the verbs are starting to become intransitive, excessive hyphenation of the compound adjectives...”

“Sir, we’ve already lost too many characters...”

“Dash it, man, pull yourself together! Give me a line!”


“No, something longer – I need superlatives...It’s no good... There’s too much prevarication in the opening paragraph. I’m going to have to cut a lot of it out! Maybe if I insert a few exclamations...”

“But it’s looking so paste-y....”

“Word count down to 300. Summarizing main plot...”

“Thank you, Sally. I think I can see the problem now.”

“What is it, sir?”

“Look, you can see the bullet points, here and here...Sentences are badly punctuated.”

“Could it have affected the colon? We’ve had to remove the Appendix.”

“Parse me a few words, Carstairs. Let’s see what we can do!”

“Starting to paraphrase...”

“Quick, I need ink!...It’s Little Timmy...He’s fading fast!”

“Why don’t we try removing some of the expletives!”

“Damn good idea, Carstairs!”

“Word Count down to 200. We’re losing credibility! Complete suspension of belief estimated around 150.”

“Plot’s so thin I can see straight through it. I’m sorry, Carstairs, there’s nothing else for it, old bean....”

“But, sir! Surely you can’t mean...”

“Yes, Carstairs, I’m afraid we’re going to have to turn it into a ‘Drabble’!”

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