I’m very pleased to share with you a Q&A with Martin Walker, the author of The Body in the Castle, the newest book in the Bruno, Chief of Police series!
A rich American art student is found dead at the bottom of a well in an ancient hilltop castle. The young woman, Claudia, had been working in the archives of an eminent French art historian, a crippled Resistance war hero, at his art-filled chateau.
As Claudia’s White House connections get the US Embassy and the FBI involved, Bruno traces the people and events that led to her death – or was it murder?
Bruno learns that Claudia had been trying to buy the chateau and art collection of her tutor, even while her researches led her to suspect that some of his attributions may have been forged. This takes Bruno down a trail that leads him from the ruins of Berlin in 1945, to France’s colonial war in Algeria.
The long arm of French history has reached out to find a new victim, but can Bruno identify the killer – and prove his case?
Q: How long did it take you to write this book and was the writing process hard compared to your previous works?
A: The first draft took about 4 months, after 2 or 3 months planning and research which is about the usual pattern. This was a little easier than most books because I knew the site of Limeuil so well.
Q: How often do you write?
A: Every day, either a wine column or or some other journalism and for the new cookbook or a non-Bruno novel. As a journalist most of my life I am accustomed to writing every day.
Q: Did you always know you were going to write a book (become a writer) or was it something that came spontaneously?
A: I already knew from childhood that I wanted to write. I used to follow my mum around the house reading out to her poems or little stories I had written.
Q: Do you relate to the main character Bruno?
A: I wish I could cook and play tennis as well as he does. But although he was inspired by my village policeman, who is also my tennis partner, Bruno is an invention but I always liked the idea of a friendly and helpful policemen who see himself as a good neighbour as well as a cop.
Q: I love the title The Body in the Castle Well – were there any alternatives or were you set on this title from the beginning?
A: I’m never good with titles so my UK editor chose it, my working title was ‘the girl in the castle well’.
Q: What are some of your favourite books and what are you reading at the moment?
A: I always love Sherlock Holmes and Maigret, I am currently reading Adam Roberts on Napoleon and Gegard Fayolle’s ‘Les Trentes Glorieuses’.
Q: Do you have a routine of writing at a certain time for a couple of hours or do you do it spontaneously?
A: Once I start writing a book I have to write 3 pages – or 1000 words – every day until I am done.
Q: What authors have influenced you and made you fall in love with reading and eventually writing books?
A: Conan Doyle, Chandler, le Carre, Carlyle, Dickens, Mailer, Saul Bellow and Trollope.
Thank you s much to Martin as well as the publisher for making this Q&A possible!
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Martin Walker is the U.S. bureau chief for The Guardian (London), a regular commentator for CNN, and a columnist for newspapers in the United States, Europe, and Moscow. A published novelist and poet, he lives in Washington, D.C. with his wife, the novelist Julia Watson, and their two daughters.