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Interview with Robin Stevens- author of the Murder Most Unladylike series!

Lovely Robin Stevens has agreed to an interview with us! She is the author of the award winning, bestselling series, Murder Most Unladylike! We sent her some questions, and here are her answers:

1. Who/ what inspired you to write your first novel?

My parents and my teachers were influential, but I think it was really the authors of my favourite books! I loved reading so much, and I knew I wanted to do what my favourite authors did, create worlds and characters that could totally engross a reader!

2. Daisy is an incredibly unique character -who was she inspired by?

Daisy is a little bit based on lots of friends I had at school, and a little bit based on the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes - but really over the years she's just become herself!

3. How did you brainstorm the plot of Murder Most Unladylike?

I based it on the plots of two books I love, Miss Pym Disposes by Josephine Tey and Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie. I set it in my own secondary school, Cheltenham Ladies' College, and I tried to plan out the twistiest mystery I could! I have an explanation on my Instagram for how I plot out my mysteries - I focus very intensely on the crime itself, and work out exactly what all of my characters are doing during that time!

4. What were you reading at the age of 11?

I wasn't quite reading Agatha Christie yet, but I was reading Sherlock Holmes and Nancy Drew, and still enjoying Enid Blyton's mysteries. I also loved Diana Wynne Jones, Terry Pratchett, C S Lewis, Tanith Lee, Eva Ibbotson - I was (and still am) a big fan of fantasy as well as mystery!

5. Who inspired Lord Hastings- from Arsenic for Tea?

He's mostly based on my father! Both Daisy and Hazel's dads are different parts of my dad. Lord Hastings was my dad's sillier side - he loved jokes, and he called me 'Daughter', which is what Lord Hastings calls Daisy in Arsenic for Tea!

6. What made you want to write?

My brain is full of stories and characters - writing is just how I get them out of my head and into the world!

7. Which of your books did you enjoy writing most?

I've loved writing all of my books, but First Class Murder and Death in the Spotlight were the easiest to write - I had a great idea for both of them, and found them a joy to put down on paper!

8. Was Deepdean inspired by your boarding school?

It absolutely was! Only the setting, though - there were no murders at my school when I was Daisy and Hazel's age!

9. What is your favourite character that you have created?

Daisy and Hazel, obviously - and also Aunt Lucy, George and May. George and May were two characters who weren't supposed to stick around for long - George was supposed to only be in one book, Mistletoe and Murder, and May was only supposed to be in A Spoonful of Murder. But they're both such brilliant personalities that I couldn't say goodbye to them - George has been in almost all of my books since then, and May is about to be one of the main characters in my new series!

10. How did you persevere at points where you got fed up of writing- how did you not quit?

Every writer wants to quit during the writing process - it's hard and scary and upsetting at times! But I've learned to ignore the inner voice that tells me I'm no good and I should give up - I just make myself keep going, and the story is never as bad as I thought it was once I've got to the end.

11. Will there be a film or TV series of Murder Most Unladylike books?

I hope so! It's not really up to me - we have to find the right production company to make it a reality - but I'm doing all I can, and I think that we will see Daisy and Hazel on screen one day soon.

12. Finally, is Death Sets Sail the end for The Detective Society, or are you planning a sequel?

Good news! I have a book of Murder Most Unladylike short stories, Once Upon a Crime, out in August this year, and then a brand new series called The Ministry of Unladylike Activity out next year. Ministry stars May Wong and two new friends, and it takes place during World War II. And I can guarantee that you'll see a lot of your favourite characters from MMU in Ministry ...

Thank you very much, Robin Stevens, for giving us the privilege of an interview with The Book Review Society!

If you want to know more about Robin Stevens click here!

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Our reviews of the Murder Most Unladylike books are on our Mystery Page, check them out!

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