Grantham Journal Big Interview: A tale of mystery and deceit by local novelist

Mandy Charles with her novel Draped in Deceit.
Mandy Charles with her novel Draped in Deceit.
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Amazingly Mandy Charles, 50, who works full-time and is a single mother to her children Elspeth, 14, and Sam, 20, has found time to write five books.

The latest, titled Draped in Deceit, is a young adult mystery tale with dark, supernatural elements, and is the first in a planned four-book series. Mandy told the Journal more about it and her plans.

What is Draped in Deceit about?

The story begins following the death of 17-year-old Dan Trennan’s adoptive mother, with him seeking solace in the arms of ex-girlfriend, Nicola James. Nic also agrees to help him find his birth mother, but tragic events take over and danger seems to follow in their wake when Dan’s younger sister goes missing and his adoptive father Greg points the finger at Dan.

How do you come up with ideas and characters for your stories?

They just pop into my head. I write whenever I get a spare moment on the computer. I work full-time as a carer at a residential home in Scalford, but I write as much as I can. This book has taken about eight months to write. I get very involved in the characters and what is happening to them. I like to write in the first person because it personalises the story - this is written from Nic’s persepective, although focusing on the events happening to Dan and his family.

How did you get into writing?

I have been writing since I was about nine, but seriously for 15 years. In 2000 I graduated with a degree in Fine Art from Loughborough, but at that point my marriage ended and with two children I didn’t want to travel to paint. But through my writing I can be creative, and this book has received a lot of good feedback. It’s hard to get publishers to take a chance with a writer that isn’t tried and tested, so I’ve gone down the route of getting it self-published. The cover is by my friend and photographer Kerry M. Parker, and is what I imagine the stairs of the old theatre, a key setting in the book of which Nic has premonitions, to look like.

What are your influences?

The Twilight series had a big influence on me, and the books of C.J. Omololu with characters who remember their past lives. Also The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbits, and films like the Matrix and Avatar.

And you are holding a book signing in Grantham?

Yes on April 25 from 10am to noon at the Grantham Computer Centre. Owner David Charles is my cousin and he’s been brilliant in supporting me, including fixing the computer when needed! The book will be on sale on the day and is also available on Amazon for £7.99 in paperback and on Kindle for £2.