Suzette A. Hill was born in 1941 in Eastbourne, Sussex, but her life has led her to several other locations - the Midlands, Nottingham, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Berkshire - and finally in retirement to Ledbury in Herefordshire.
Although being an English graduate of two universities and having taught ‘English Literature all her professional life, she never contemplated doing any creative writing herself. It was only when she was sixty-four and well retired, that out of idle curiosity she thought she might try her hand at a short story - just to see what writing fiction felt like. And to her ongoing surprise A Load of Old Bones was the result.
Since then Suzette has written ten further books.
However, I also feel there is a rationale behind the choice: socially that period at least seemed to have been more staid and formal than the present time, and one of my interests as a writer is showing what fearful things can go on beneath an apparently docile surface. There is almost as much danger in a drawing room as there is on the battlefield!
Suzette: With the Oughterard series finished, my then publisher urged me to use a female protagonist for my next effort, and so I dutifully tried to concoct one. Of all my characters she is probably the most ‘normal’, though I like to think not dull. Some have described her as “feisty”, which is not a term I like as it suggests someone of bulging muscles and truculent eye. Rosy is more decorous than that, being humorous, quietly independent and sensible – albeit given to occasional sparks of impatience. I respect Rosy but prefer her cronies Cedric & Felix, who in their sparring intimacy are perhaps the human counterparts of Maurice & Bouncer.
Lizzie: After three books featuring Rosy Gilchrist you wrote The Primrose Pursuit, which incidentally I was delighted to see. Primrose was the sister of Frances Oughterard and appeared to have similar habits to her brother. How did this book come about? And why just the one book, or is there another to come?
Suzette: Alas, plotting is my bugbear: I cannot do it! All my books are character-driven, and generally speaking events evolve out of scenes and conversations. In some ways not being able to plot is useful in that it means I am telling myself a story. On the other hand, it can create a lot of angst, frustration and tearing of hair. A preconceived narrative structure must be so reassuring. I could expand on this but the topic is too painful!
1. A Load of Old Bones (2005)
2. Bones in the Belfry (2008)
3. Bone Idle (2009)
4. Bones in High Places (2010)
5. A Bedlam of Bones (2011)
6. The Primrose Pursuit (2016)
1. A Little Murder (2013)
2. The Venetian Venture (2014)
3. A Southwold Mystery (2015)
4. Shot in Southwold (2017)
5. The Cambridge Plot (2018)