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Tag: Caroline Dunford

Blowing the Dust Off: Caroline Dunford’s Playing for Love

It’s Day 10! The final day of my ‘Blowing the Dust Off’ series. Today Caroline Dunford is sharing the inspiration behind her novel, Playing for Love.

Grab a cuppa and enjoy…


Inside the Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe

The Edinburgh International Festival and Fringe is well underway. Everywhere buildings are adorned in colourfully dressings, psychedelic-coloured billboards and hundreds of careful designed posters promoting what seems like an infinite number of shows. Tourists compete for pavement space with performers wearing garish wigs, riding unicycles, juggling livestock and handing out flyers for their unique greatest spectacle ever. It’s possible to walk through the city centre with some ease if you’re up early enough. Most of the throngs are then interred in the many pop-up coffee shops depleting the planet of bacon.

There’s a lot of excitement in the air, but old hands know that not of it is justified. The festival can be the place where inspirations and aspirations (to be great actors, playwrights and comedians) famously come to die. A kind of graveyard of dreams if you like. But every year a few shining stars do rise out of the mishmash of cultural fodder and go on to be household names.

As an Edinburgh resident, I have mixed feelings about this time of year. I used to review for some of the Scottish Newspapers and remember with some fondness when I’d see five shows a day and then send in copy at 3am for the morning edition. But every year the Festival and Fringe has grown larger. Sometimes we even have a Fringe to the Fringe. The latter being the idea of bringing back cheap shows that you would try on a whim. This is where we force feed a heavy dose of cynicism. The average ticket at the Fringe will leave you with a battered wallet, while a Festival show will typically send your wallet to the ICU. The city literally doubles in population during the festival weeks and with that comes an inevitable degree of overcrowding and traffic jams.

The Festival and Fringe are victims of their own successes. People come from further and further away, prepared to spend more and more, to get the real Edinburgh atmosphere. There are still the small student productions out at the most far flung edges of the city, but realistically these are lucky if the audience outnumbers the cast.

The heart of the Festival and Fringe remains, if you know where to look. It’s the one time of year when you can see a naked man in a see-through mac with a parrot on his head and people will throw money at him, rather than escort him off to the local police station. There is still a magical madness hidden among the profiteering and consumerism. And it’s in all this bustling mayhem I set Playing for Love, about a young, reclusive writer, turned playwright, who comes to the Edinburgh Fringe to see her play staged and discovers this madcap world. Nothing is quite what it seems and even the most ridiculous explanations are far from the real truth. It’s funny. It’s sad. And it’s romantic. Rather like Edinburgh itself at this time of year.

So, if you can’t make it to Edinburgh, or you are here and want a bit of an insider’s (fictional) guide then you can buy it in eBook in paperback at

 My website:

My Twitter:



My earliest memories are of wanting to be a writer. I found that through story I can explore the world around me and understand the thoughts and journeys of others. There is an old adage about walking a mile in someone else’s shoes to appreciate their choices. As a writer, I spend a lot of time walking in someone else’s shoes (figuratively, of course). 

I’m content when writing. Occasionally, I get frustrated when my characters refuse to conform to a carefully crafted plot, but in general sitting at my keyboard is where I feel most at home. In truth, I seldom stop thinking about stories, so when I sit down to write I tend to do so very quickly. On average, I produce between 300,000 and 400,000 words a year.

I’m unusual in that I write across a wide range of genres from historical crime to contemporary thrillers to YA science fiction. I’ve also written a number of plays that have been produced, some of which have toured internationally, and I’m exploring audio and screen dramas. Switching from prose to script is no mean feat but it’s refreshing and helps me think about telling stories in new ways.


Many thanks Caroline. A great way to round off our look at novels from 10 different author’s creative archives.

Happy reading everyone- and thanks for joining in this blogging adventure.

Jenny xx


Interview with Caroline Dunford

It’s interview time! Today I have the lovely Caroline Dunford dropping by for coffee and cake. So why don’t you take five minutes out of your day and join us for a cuppa?

coffee and cake

Do you model any of your characters after people you know? If so, do these people see themselves in your characters?

One of the risks of admitting you’re a writer at parties is you are often immediately asked where do you get your ideas? If you answer truthfully, that you get your ideas from your life experience, and your questioner isn’t yet too full of party cheer, then more often than not your questioner will sidle off looking nervous and muttering about having left the cat in the fridge, or something equally unlikely. They are, of course, terrified you will ‘put them in a book.’ There are those who offer themselves up as excellent characters for books or who have the best ideas for a book, and these are the ones writers tend to sidle away from.

I would like to put on record that I cannot write other people’s ideas. If it doesn’t come from the murky depths of my own subconscious then it simply doesn’t work for me. Like any writer I use my experiences and they are exactly that; they are how I experience my world. There is no way I could ever possibly write about anyone else accurately. Even if I chose to base a character on someone I knew, it would be based on how I saw that person and almost certainly not how they saw themselves.

As a writer I make up inner thoughts and motivation for my characters, but I have no ability to scan the mind of anyone else and collect this information. It would be a lot easier (though possibly libellous!) if I did. This means even if I did base a character on someone I know I can pretty much guarantee they would never recognise themselves. But I don’t. All my characters come from my thoughts, feelings and imagination. When I am writing they become like voices in my head. Even sometimes adding events and speeches to the story that I certainly had not planned on writing. They become alive to me. I know them so well because they have come from me.

All this is a little embarrassing to admit. I do have some pretty awful characters in my books and they must reflect a dark part of my psyche. I can only console myself with the thought that I also have likable and estimable characters in my stories too. These, hopefully, form the most influential part of my psyche in everyday life. Though I suspect Euphemia, my murder mystery heroine, is far braver than me. We are definitely equally stubborn. I only hope I am not as naïve as she can sometimes be – a naivety that invariably leads her into danger.


What type of research did you have to do for your book?

When I am writing a historical novel I research the period – the events, the clothing, the ideas of the era and everything else I can get my hands on. However, I am not an historian. My desire is to create a compelling story and I am more interested in building my characters – their loves, foibles, ideas, fears and ambitions – than anything else. For me the historical era is important because it not only frames these, but also informs them. I also need to know their world, in particular who the important people in their lives are and what they are like. It is often out of the interconnecting personalities that the stories take form.


Which Point of View do you prefer to write in and why?

In the Euphema Martins Mysteries I use the first person. Euphemia has a unique voice that uses slightly more archaic speech and is invariably full of slips (and even innuendos) that she is unaware of. It is enormous fun as a writer to create these. While Euphemia is saying one thing, the reader is understanding another – and this is often where the humour lies.

Writing in the third person, that is setting yourself up as a narrator outside the story, has the advantage that you can move more easily between events. In the Euphemia books the reader only ever experiences what she experiences. The biggest problem in writing as a narrator is that it is harder to get your audience to emote – they are just that one step removed from the action.


Do you prefer to plot your story or just go with the flow?

In a murder mystery I need to know who the murderer is and I also generally know the main turning points in the story. However, Euphemia and her friends are pretty well formed now after nine books, and they do have a tendency to hijack the plot. Of course, I only let them do this if I think they have come up with something more exciting than I have!

What is your writing regime?

There is only one thing you need to do to be a writer and that is write. It would be lovely to wait from the muse to spring into your mind, but in reality writing novels is a lot about plotting and planning, and agreeing with your editor what you are going to supply. Remember publicity for a book can be created before the book is finished! However, if the story is right then I find it will come alive at your fingertips. But this still means every morning sitting down at the laptop even when you would much rather be reading in bed. Sadly, I find my muse responds to coffee and perseverance rather than wishful thinking.

What excites you the most about your book?

Honestly? Finishing it! I love it when I have a complete story, fully edited and ready to go. I can feel proud of my hard work. No matter how much I love writing when I am creating a novel I am always terrified I won’t be able to complete it, so reaching the end is a huge relief. It’s sort of like sitting a very hard physics exam very time you write one. And I was never very good at physics. I have to work hard to get it right!



Caroline has been creating stories since primary school when she first learnt that creating fictional games could gain her friends! She has held a variety of jobs, but most notably journalist, where she learnt the art of making deadlines, and psychotherapist, where she gained a valuable insight into the human condition. She lives by the sea with her supportive (and long suffering) partner and two sons, both of whom think writing a book is no big deal.


Caroline is @verdandiweaves on twitter

Her facebook fan page is Caroline Dunford fanpage

All her books are available from Amazon uk at


A Death for a Cause

Coming May 2016 A Death by Arson


Highland Inheritance


Playing for Love


Young Adult Fantasy


The Mapmaker’s Daughter


Many thanks for such a great interview Caroline,

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny x




An Interview with Caroline Dunford- The Euphemia Martins series

I’m welcoming the brilliant Caroline Dunford, author of Euphemia Martins Series, to my site today. Why not grab yourself a cuppa, and sit down for five minutes, and check out this great interview!

What inspired you to write your book?

The Euphemia Martins series is one of those ideas that arrived all in a rush but still continues to unfold. The stories are set in a time that I love but with which I also have a very personal connection.

The heart of my novels is inspired by a family legend. My great-grandmother came from a very wealthy background but, after a falling out with her father, was forced to make her own way in the world. Euphemia is forced by the death of her father, and her mother’s estrangement from her own father, an Earl, to also go into service.


My great-grandmother had the choice of becoming a ‘fallen woman’ or going into service so she chose to enter service as a maid. However, a life of luxury had not prepared her mentally or physically for any kind of work. Her story led to her meeting a handsome tobacconist and a marriage that saw her eventually escape from service and go on to have thirteen children, all of whom survived to adulthood. She never reconciled with her family and stayed poor all her life, but I like to think she was happy. I also think she was an enormously brave woman, and while Euphemia has not (yet) escaped service by marriage, her central characteristics are her bravery, her wits, her innate sense of justice and, of course, the most potent weapon of any virtuous young woman, her scream.

The Euphemia Martins Mysteries are set between 1910 and 1918. It is a time I have long been fascinated by. So much happened and so much changed. Not least the breakdown of the class system and the rise of the Suffragettes. In the decade before WWI the majority of the British population had no idea what was about to happen but, behind the scenes, all the pieces were being lined up for war. During the war itself people at all levels were challenged in terrible ways and certainly the beginning of the end for most of the Great Houses of Britain.

Do you model any of your characters after people you know? If so, do these people see themselves in your characters?

No. My life, and the people I meet, inspire me, but generally the people I know are far too complex and far too odd for any reader to ever believe in them! Euphemia is the only person who has a figure of real world inspiration although, of course, I never met her.

What type of research did you have to do for your book?

I spend a lot of time visiting the Great Houses of Britain (sadly, as a visitor buying a ticket at the door rather than as a guest). I also investigate the major historical incidents and societal shifts that took place during Euphemia’s life. I want to keep my heroine rooted in events of the time. She is not always at the heart of things, but when major incidents, like the sinking of the Titanic, take place it has an effect on her. And then, of course, there is that sneaky spy Fitzroy who has made his way more and more into the novels and led to me investigating the many elements espionage of the time.

Which Point of View do you prefer to write in and why?

I write entirely from Euphemia’s point of view. She is caught between the worlds of upstairs and downstairs and so has a very unique perspective. While she is intelligent, Euphemia is also very naïve and this may mean the reader sees more in her narrative than she herself understands. This is hopefully intriguing, but also often comical. Euphemia is also uniquely placed to comment on what she sees, especially as her deceased father has gifted her with an innate and unshiftable sense of justice in world where the rich can overrule the legal system and the servants (and the poor in general) do not expect to receive justice. Euphemia is an outsider, an unusually modern voice for her time and someone who regularly challenges the rules, not to mention the people around her. However, just because she challenges, it does not always mean she is necessarily successful in her desire to bring justice.

Do you prefer to plot your story or just go with the flow?

I always know the murder mystery at the heart of the novel. I often make reference to historical events, which I have to plan how to weave into the novel. However, as the series develops the characters are taking on much more of a life of their own, and side plots (romance, conflicts, passions etc.) often develop as I am writing the stories. I have to keep the mystery on track, but at the same time allow for the organic development of my somewhat headstrong characters. Bertram, Euphemia, Rory and the slippery Fitzroy are all rather persistent and stubborn characters that push for more and more time in the limelight!

What is your writing regime?

When I am writing a book (which is most of the time) I aim for at least 2,500 words a day. I like to write earlier on in the day, so I know my main work for the day is accomplished. As well as writing I spend a fair amount of time on publicity and social media, as well as research. Writing is often the fun and easy part of my day.

Euphemia Martins Books available

Currently there are six Euphemia books available. In chronological order these are

A Death in the Family

A Death in the Highlands

A Death in the Asylum

A Death in the Wedding Party

A Death in the Pavilion

A Death in the Loch

(A Death for King and Country is will be published very shortly.)

All books are available in both ebook and print form.

Thank you Jenny, for the great interview. I love being able to reach out to my readers.


Find me on twitter as @verdandiweaves



After time spent as a journalist and a psychotherapist I became a full-time author and playwright in 2002. I write murder mysteries, contemporary Scottish romance and YA. My plays cover a variety of subjects from the life of Burke and Hare to what can happen to you if you are an over dedicated Elvis fan!

How we interact as human beings has been a life-long fascination for me, and even led me to do a second degree is psychology. I believe that stories are at the heart of the human condition. We need to tell them to help understand the world and others around us.

I live in a cottage by the sea with my partner, my two young sons and an awful lot of on-going building repairs. I love reading, cooking, chatting with friends and learning.


Many thanks for such fantastic interview answers Caroline.

Happy reading everyone,

Jenny xx


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