Lord James Harrington

by #1 Amazon Best Seller Lynn Florkiewicz


Have you always wanted to write?
Yes. My writing obsession began when I was around 6 or 7 years old. I used to listen to the BBC radio comedy shows like The Navy Lark way back in the 1960s. When the programme ended, I’d race upstairs and try to rewrite the episode. Hilarious. When I think back to those times, I remember that I’d squeezed the entire storyline into around three hand written pages!!
What books did you read as a child?
Mostly Enid Blyton mysteries; Secret Seven, Famous Five etc. I sometimes think my Lord Harrington novels are Enid Blyton-style books for grown-ups. I was also a big fan of Malcolm Saville and E Nesbit. I remember reading lots as a child and two of my favourite novels from that time were The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe and The Railway Children; classics that I still read to this day.
What prompted you to create Lord James Harrington?
I devour cosy mysteries and, having read so many, I had an urge to write my own. I’d had a few short stories and articles published so decided to give it a try. I developed a set of memorable characters and have them all living in the quintessential 1950s English village. In short, I wanted to write a cosy that I longed to read, full of twists and turns, red herrings and bring in villagers, (some I admit are stereotypical), that readers will love and root for in adversity. I adore writing these mysteries and have a tremendous amount of fun doing so. It’s great to open the laptop and emerge myself into James’ world. It’s certainly a wonderful way to escape the realities of the everyday life.

James actually started life as a competition entry at the Winchester Writers' Conference. I submitted the first 500 words and a synopsis and it came back highly commended. The crime writer who was judging the competition said it showed promise and encouraged me to continue with it.
How would you describe Lord Harrington?
I see him as a cross between Lord Peter Wimsey and Paul Temple with a small helping of Bertie Wooster. An odd combination, I guess. He has the manners and morals of Lord Peter, the flippant attitude of Paul Temple but can occasionally be a bit of an idiot, like Bertie!  Above all, though, he is a gentleman.
How often do you release books?
I work during the week so I slot my writing in as a weekend hobby. I do my best to publish a new Lord James Harrington mystery every year. I’m building up quite a following of fans eager to enjoy the next adventure so it’s important not to let those people down and publish regularly.
The first four books have now increased in price. Why?

When I first started these books, I was very much a novice, learning my trade. So, when I vowed that, with the seasonal mysteries, I would publish them at a low cost as I personally felt I couldn’t justify charging more. I'm more than aware that there are shortcomings there and cannot charge any more than I do. 
Over the last few years my skills have improved. I've completed several amazing courses run by professionals along with courses and workshops at various writing conferences. 

Every book has now been professionally edited by an award winning, mainstream author so I feel more comfortable charging a little more.  It also enables me to publish them as paperbacks on Amazon's Create Space. They have a minimum publishing price. 

Hope all that makes sense!!
What else have you published?
I’ve had a number of short stories and articles published in national magazines in the United Kingdom. I’ve also came runner-up, highly commended and placed in various short story writing competitions. Several years ago, I published an adventure story for children called The Quest for the Crystal Skulls. It’s not a genre I thought I’d enter but that story was screaming to come out. It’s based on Native American prophecies and brings in a number of myths and legends from ancient civilisations. When I’m not writing cosy mysteries, that area of history fascinates me.
I’ve written a book but I’m wary of e-publishing. What if people don’t like it?
There is always someone that isn’t going to like what you do. My message is this: Stick your head above the parapet and go for it. Top comedians don’t become a success without first trekking around the pubs and clubs to hone their skills. A-list actors don’t become A-listers overnight; most of them ply their trade in adverts, theatre tours and bit parts. Get yourself out there. You open yourself up for criticism, of course you do, but if you don’t try, how do you know whether you’ll be a success or not?

When I published the first Lord Harrington book I didn’t know what was going to happen. I could have been slated. I’ve received a handful of 1* reviews but I’ve also received a staggering amount of 5* reviews. Indeed, the whole thing has far exceeded any expectations I had.

Be ready for criticism but be open to it. The few 1* reviews I received are constructive and I’ve learned from them.
I love the recipes at the back of your books, are they yours?
Glad you enjoy them. Many of them are either my grandmother’s recipes or inspired by her cooking. Some are passed down to me by my mum so I guess it is a bit of a mixture of hand-me-down recipes. My nan's maiden name was Harrington so the one factual thing in the book is that Grandma Harrington’s recipes are, in many cases, Grandma Harringtons.  And the photograph on that particular page is my grandmother. 
Who designed the painting on the front page?
Isn't it great? This is an Alan Tyers painting. It's called 'Stanway' and I felt it was perfect for the era and genre of my book. If you want to see more of his work, simply visit the Red Rag Gallery at: www.redraggallery.co.uk
Do you design your own book covers?
I wish I could!  I am not artistic in any way whatsoever.  I call upon the services of a lady called Jacqueline Abromeit.  Her job is designing covers and she's done hundreds.

You can check out her work at www.goodcoverdesign.co.uk
She also has a Facebook page: www.facebook.com/goodcoverdesign.

What do you do when you're not writing?
I live in the beautiful county of Cornwall, on the coast, so if the weather is dry, I'll be at the beach or walking the south-west coastal path. I've tried my hand at surfing but spent more time under the water than on top of the board (!!!) but perhaps I'll master it one day. 

Other than that, my other love is singing at open-mic sessions. I've played in folk clubs since the mid-1970s and I'm out most evenings with fellow musicians and we're fortunate that the music scene is alive and kicking in this part of the world. 

Being down here also means that we are popular with friends and family so we have a house full most summers. The problem with that is there are so many fantastic places to eat and drink it's easy to pile the weight on. I now know how Lord James Harrington feels with the constant food and drink that I introduce in each book!!
Do you only read crime books or do you enjoy other genres?
I get through a book a week, mainly crime, but if something catches my interest then I'll give it a go. I've just discovered 'steam punk' which is something I didn't think I'd enjoy but I love it. 

I have a thirst for knowledge so if I can't find some good non-fiction books about a topic, then I'll be on the History Channel or similar to seek out documentaries. 
Native American history and culture has long held my attention. I often wonder what the world would have been like if we'd have listened and learned from native people. I can't help but feel we're missing a trick by ignoring their wisdom.