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Get a Room

I am quite obsessive when it comes to background reading for my books or for any of the research I need to do. If I am interested in a particular historical character, I find myself reading several books about them rather than just one.

Although it is unlikely that she will ever appear in any of my novels, I have had a recent obsession with Agatha Christie. So famous is she that her name is now used in the same way Watergate is, and recently we’ve heard terms like “Wagatha Christie” in popular media.

She was a complex character, and when reading about who she was and what she wrote, you must consider her status and the times she lived in. Because of her writing genius, you want to fall in love with her but the things she says about servants, (which came as a given during her privileged childhood) the lower classes and Jews would shock most people today.

I suppose some of the funniest things about her attitude also come from class and the period. When she is newly married and downsizes to what we would regard as a quite grand house and has just a couple servants, she declares that “We are ruined!” and when she has her first creative and financial success, she is horrified that the government wants to take money off her in taxes. Women of her class were usually given money by their parents and then expected to find a husband who would keep them. She struggled to understand that the sales of her books could be considered as income :)

At a time when there was no hope of a marriage for thirty percent of women (because of the male death toll in the war) she married twice, the second time happily.

And then, there’s that crazy incident, where she disappeared for a while, headlining radio and news media as a real life whodunnit. This is worth looking up, simply because that event is such an interesting story in itself, and tells us much about mental health, which was little spoken about even after the ravages of the first world war.

However, we should credit her as one of the greatest and acknowledge that she came up with original detective tips and tricks that are, sadly, now constantly overused. I believe she would be horrified to see TV dramas and movies constantly repeating them.

And she was very ordinary in her ways and never felt like a celebrity. People around her said that they never saw her write. This was because, like you and like me, she was stealing time to write in between everything else she was doing. She eventually declared that writing became a chore once it was a job.

But to the point. She advises one thing if you are to succeed as a writer.

Get a room.

If you can, create a writing space of your own. Agatha enjoyed her own room with an easy chair for relaxing, wonderful views, and a desk at which she could work in peace and silence.

I haven’t got mine yet but I am working on it.

I am currently reading this and would highly recommend:

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