Friday 6 April 2018

BLOG TOUR ~ The Death Chamber by Lesley Thomson

Hi Everyone,

Today is my stop on the Blog Tour for The Death Chamber by Lesley Thomson where I welcome Lesley to my blog where she has kindly provided me with a guest post on Lights, Camera, Action. I was thrilled to be asked by Clare & Blake from Head of Zeus to take part along with some other fab book bloggers. You can find out who else is taking part in this fabulous Blog Tour at the end of this piece so without further ado, here it is:

Lights, Camera, Action….

One image of a writer is of a bundled figure in fingerless gloves scribbling in a garret, alone except for their characters. Certainly I’ve been there (with gloves and woolly hat), but I get out a bit too.

I love going to events and meeting readers. Most days I get a latte from our local patisserie as much for the chat with the owners as for the caffeine. I go on walks with friends (such as the wonderful Elly Griffiths) and by myself with my dog, Alfred.

Recently though, I was lured from my desk to ‘star’ in a film.

This was not a Clooney blockbuster or to star opposite Olivia Colman (my dream casting for Stella). It was to give booksellers abroad a sense of me. As I’m still trying to get a sense of myself I jumped at the chance.

We shot in Winchcombe, in the Cotswold village that’s the setting for my latest novel, The Death Chamber. It’s where I go to write alone (a woodstove means no gloves or hat). If you haven’t been there, you’re in for a treat. It’s peaceful and workaday with a butchers, a bakery and the best hardware shop I’ve ever seen.

Actor W.C. Fields hated working with children and animals. No kids in this film, but there is one wilful poodle. The first scene was of me at my desk with Alfred (Stanley in the series) perched on my lap. He put up with three takes (okay, so end of the fantasy of being a film star in the waiting– Cut! We’ll do that again) before leaping away and threatening to make off with a light reflector. In real life Alfred does sometimes land on my lap as I write. He snoozes, chin on keyboard – a cutesy look he refused to do on camera.

One shot had me ambling along a narrow lane of warm Cotswold stone cottages. I was to amble along this lane thinking writerly thoughts, my faithful canine companion beside me several times – the budget not stretching to bringing Winchcombe to a halt – because unwitting pedestrians kept appearing and spoiling the impression of the ambling author. In fact I was going to get an iced bun from the bakery (writers need treats).

The film’s centrepiece was the death chamber. This is an early Neolithic long barrow called Belas Knap where Victorian archaeologists found 31 bodies buried. In The Death Chamber police find another skeleton.

I morphed into Time Team and was filmed striding about the grassy mound (several times) extolling the countryside in silence. By this time my fab sister-in-law (and film star’s assistant) was minding Alfred. I paused to illustrate the silence. Suddenly, on the winter breeze, came the sound of a poodle weeping. Cut!

Amazingly, despite me and my dog, Rob, the filmmaker, made something good enough for general release…

I’m back at my desk writing while a recalcitrant poodle has his beady eye on my iced bun.

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