Louisa Bennet, author of Monty and Me
Tell us about your latest creation:
Quirky, charming and whimsical, a laugh-out-loud mystery with four legs and a tail, Monty & Me is a ‘must have’ for all animal and humorous fiction lovers.
You might think that dogs can’t understand us… but you’d be wrong. Apart from an obsession with cheese, Monty is a perfectly rational animal. So when his beloved master is murdered, Monty decides to use his formidable nose to track the killer down.
Luckily he manages to find a home with Rose Sidebottom, the young policewoman who’s investigating the case. But with her colleagues turning against her, and the wrong man collared, she’s going to need a little help…
Ever wondered what your dog is really thinking? You’re about to find out.
Where are you from / where do you call home?:
I’m from England but I have lived in Australia for sixteen years.
When you were a kid, what did you want to become? An author?:
I always loved jotting down stories as a child but because of my love of dogs, I liked the idea of becoming a vet.
What do you consider to be your best work? Why?:
I also write thrillers as L.A. Larkin which couldn’t be more different from Monty & Me. With every book I write, I strive to improve on the last. I take great pains to ensure my readers get a well plotted, well written book with engaging characters. Monty & Me was enormous fun to write but it was a challenge because the primary narrator is Monty, the dog detective. So I had to imagine the world from a dog’s view point and create a credible canine voice, a dog terminology and history. I also worked closely with a retired detective chief superintendent who advised me on the crime-solving process and police procedures.
As Monty & Me is the first in a series, it was important for Monty, and the young detective, Rose Sidebottom, to be lovable characters that readers want to continue following into the next book. Given all these challenges I think that Monty & Me is my best work so far.
Describe your writing environment to us – your writing room, desk, etc.; is it ordered or chaotic?:
I have turned a spare room into a Victorian library with floor to ceiling bookshelves bulging with books, an antique desk and burgundy velvet curtains. My two Golden Retrievers sleep on their mats either side of my desk.
When you’re not writing, who/what do you like to read?:
I read every day. Anything from cozy mysteries, animal sleuths, detective fiction, action, conspiracy and psychological thrillers, fantasy and humour. When I’m researching a story, I read non-fiction books on the topic. For instance, I’ve just finished a book on the U.S. Secret Service.
What was the defining book(s) of your childhood/schooling?:
Enid Blyton (Secret Seven and Famous Five), Treasure Island, Agatha Christie, Charles Dickens and William Shakespeare.
If you were a literary character, who would you be?:
Elizabeth Bennet. She is why I write my Humorous mysteries as Louisa Bennet, because she is one of my favourite characters – feisty, clever but flawed.
Apart from books, what do you do in your spare time (surprise us!)?:
I run courses in crime fiction and thriller writing at the Australian Writers’ Centre. I also do what I can to support charities trying to put an end to puppy farming in this country and in the UK and to encourage the adoption of dogs from rescue centres.
What is your favourite food and favourite drink?:
A good curry and a good beer.
Who is your hero? Why?:
Nelson Mandela because he kept going, no matter the opposition and his personal suffering.
Crystal ball time – what is the biggest challenge for the future of books and reading?:
To manage two new book series’ – The Monty & Sidebottom Mysteries and a new thriller series, featuring Olivia Wolfe, an investigative journalist.
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Web Page: montydogdetective.com/