Georgia Pattison - a singing detective
In my last blog, I explained about my alternate history/fantasy Tudor trilogy, The Tudor Enigma, published by Harlequin. This blog is about my other detective, early-music soprano, Georgia Pattison.
The resulting book, Dearly Ransomed Soul, a labour of love for over 30 years, went through many incarnations before the finished product emerged. Strange then, that I knew what the title would be within half an hour of sitting down to plot the book all those years ago and that has never changed. More about titles later.
My detective started off as a member of the Worcestershire Police, but I soon realised I needed an amateur sleuth and Georgia was born. She is not me, although I am a soprano and, when pushed, I can be quite as sarcastic as she sometimes is. I made her an early-music soprano because I love the clean lines and pure tone of early-music singers. No what some call sitting on the washing machine during the spin cycle wobbles with an early-music voice. If you want to hear the ideal - in my opinion - early-music soprano voice singing a perfect example of early music, listen to Emma Kirkby. You will find her singing Dowland's His Golden Locks here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5j2PhRvAx4&list=PLhOuOzOFT6R-wEqrPTNNg3tLylO-c6M2v
The Kindle edition of Dearly Ransomed Soul now on sale is the second issue, the first being published by Legend Press in 2008. If you have both versions, you will notice I changed the killer in version 2! What did this particular change teach me? That, just like Jeffrey Archer and Minette Walters to name but two, it is much more fun for the writer not to know who the killer is until well on in the writing of the book. This method, of course, would not suit authors who plan down to the last nut and bolt, what the writing community call “plotters”, but neither is it the opposite, “pantsers”, who plan nothing but sit down and put fingers to keyboard to see what happens. Like many writers, I am a mix of the two methods.
Quite quickly after Dearly Ransomed Soul, I wrote Laid in Earth, the second full-length book of the series. This one melds the traditional detective story with a touch of thriller, and, of course, there is lots of music. After a hiatus of a few years while I wrote The Tudor Enigma for Harlequin, I returned to my gorgeous singer and decided she needed an introduction to the readers. Soon after Whistles After Dark appeared. Since then, Georgia has had a few Christmas adventures; The Midnight Clear, The Shepherds’ Farewell and The Bleak Midwinter. All of these are novellas.
The Georgia books are set in Worcester. I have sung all my life, but it was not until I joined the Worcester Festival Choral Society that I became immersed in the world of choral singing, meeting world-famous soloists and taking part in the annual Three Choirs Festival, which takes its chorus from the choirs of Worcester, Gloucester and Hereford. I was part of the Worcester music world for seven wonderful years. When we had to move to Yorkshire for family reasons, I was utterly bereft for months. I have sung in many choirs since, but never have I had the joy and wonder that I experienced at Worcester. And that is why Georgia is based there.
Those of you with a musical bent will have noticed that all the Georgia titles are musical. Dearly Ransomed Soul from Dream of Gerontius: Laid in Earth from Dido’s Lament by Purcell: Whistles After Dark is from the smugglers poem by Kipling, later put to music by Peter Bellamy. The Midnight Clear, The Shepherds’ Farewell and The Bleak Midwinter are all Christmas carols.
One feature of the stories is that links to all the music mentioned in them are given at the end of the book.
The Bible says in my end is my beginning. In 2007, I was lucky enough to meet international mezzo-soprano, Janet Shell, on a cruise. Janet adores Elgar and singing The Angel from Gerontius. Janet woke up my desire to rewrite Dearly Ransomed Soul one last time and that version was picked up by Legend Press. I owe her a huge debt of thanks. in the years since, I have heard her sing Gerontius several times in various parts of the UK and, without prejudice, I can say her rendition of The Angel is, in my opinion, the best. In fact, one critic said her performance was better than Sophie von Otter. You can hear Janet Shell singing the final Softly and Gently from Gerontius here:
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