ALICE RACKHAM, the third of my ‘Screen Siren Noir’ series will be published October the 10th. Here I explain the genesis of the novel, and answer the question of what Alice Rackham means to me….
It’s important to me that I’m not just writing the same book again and again.
I realised with a certain dull horror, when I was in the early stages of working on EDEN ST. MICHEL that there was a real danger I was just going to do another version of DIANA CHRISTMAS. Fortunately, I corrected course and Eden became her own lovely thing. But, it made me certain in my mind that, with ‘Screen Siren Noir’ blossoming into a series, I cannot fall into the trap of repeatedly writing the same book.
As the temptation is there.
After all, each of these books centres on an actress who finds herself in some kind of danger (or creates that danger); they’re all period places set among the British film industry; there are even characters who show up in more than one novel. So obviously it would be possible to just do variants on the theme. For me to look at the formula in DIANA CHRISTMAS, come up with another actress and go through all the same moves again. But it’s important to me that I don’t do that.
And so I come to ALICE RACKHAM.
ALICE RACKHAM is still ‘Screen Siren Noir’, it still centres on an actress, it’s still a British period piece and as the first chapter makes clear, some bodies are going to be found at some point.
However, there is a difference in both the character and the setting.
Whereas the characters of Diana Christmas and Eden St. Michel are both big film stars, Alice Rackham is merely a name in movies. She’s someone you hire if you want a third or fourth lead. No, it’s not the cinema that has made Alice Rackham a star, it’s the theatre and that’s an important distinction.
As ALICE RACKHAM is a far more theatrical novel than its predecessors. One of the other characters is a theatrical actor also seemingly not well used in films anymore, while the whole is largely set in one place – the beautiful Carreras Hall in the English countryside. These characters – Londoners, all – are now outside the comfort zone of London and in another setting, which should be idyllic and tranquil, but – it becomes swiftly apparent – may be more dangerous than any city.
This is a theatre novel rather than a film novel. I suppose it’s a novel where ‘Screen Siren Noir’ takes a country break. But that doesn’t mean there’s not danger or death or the possibility of murder, it just means that all of that is locked between four grand walls and the characters cannot escape it.
ALICE RACKHAM will be available this October, and you can pre-order your copy now!