Somewhere to review books I'm reading without giving away any spoilers!

#GuestPost by Gina Cheyne, author of Murder in the Cards

Wow, you're in for a treat today
As you discover what Gina Cheyne has to say.
She's the author of Murder in the Cards
But her journey to publication was hard!
Discover more about this author adventurer, who
Has written a guest post for me to share with you.
There's also more about her and her book
I hope you enjoy reading it and taking a look!

Guest post for Splashes into Books by Gina Cheyne, author of Murder in the Cards

I was brought up in a house of drama. Until I was fourteen, we (my parents, two brothers, an aunt, and her son and a friend) all lived with my grandmother, Heaven, in a dilapidated house in Chelsea. 

Heaven was an actor in a group called the Strolling Players, and, although my grandfather had died five years before, still wore a full mourning with a lace cap and Victorian laced boots. She never got up before midday, and, when she did, went straight to her study to rehearse; as she was a big woman she sailed down the passages like a vast black ship bellowing out her lines, or one of the highly sentimental poems she wrote about my grandfather; my parents, who had already lived there for ten years before I was born, turned up their record player singing ‘so long Mum’ along with Tom Lehrer.

Perhaps as an escape, I loved writing, but my ‘compositions’ for school reflected the gothic nature of our home. I wrote poems in which my heroines threw themselves into the lake rather than lose their honour or jumped off cliffs and were saved by passing angels. 

In an early attempt to get my poems published, I sent them (handwritten) to various magazines. One editor kindly wrote back, after I’d sent him a poem about burning down the house, suggesting that it took a lot of work to be a poet and I should think seriously before committing myself to such a career.

Perhaps in reaction to this, I moved into science and eventually into a career in flying. I flew Tiger Moths for corporate entertainment and taught helicopter flying for a living. However, I never stopped writing.

Since flying was my field, I wrote books about flying and for thirty years edited various magazines about helicopters, including writing many of the articles. But I longed to write fiction. (One reader wrote me a letter saying: your article on the air ambulance reads like a novel, which I took as a compliment.)

When I was in my early forties, my husband died of Motor Neurone Disease, and I suddenly had a lot more time to write.  My first novel was about a woman finding herself after becoming a widow.  I thought this was an excellent work, full of deep pathos and endearing insights into family life. 

Editors did not agree.

 Having been rejected by more than 10 publishers I decided to get it edited. The editor said not only did the book ramble endlessly but that it made no sense to include a dubious helicopter company into the story of a man dying of MND. It lacked structure, she said.

I read it again and realised she was right. I needed structure and what form of writing was the most structured? Crime. Then crime it would be.

I started writing my first crime novel and saw it was a perfect fit. I loved researching, I loved writing and I loved puzzles: crime incorporated!

However, it was not all easy. Researching was a breeze, especially as I gave my first crime novel, The Mystery of the Lost Husbands, a flying setting, but getting the pieces of the puzzle to fit into the right place took a lot of rewriting, editing and friends looking over the book. 

By the time the first book was finished and in edit, I had already got well into my second book, based on a 1920s murder over the bridge table. Then COVID struck and the country was put into lockdown. At first, I thought that was a disaster, how could I get out and interview people when we were all stuck at home, but then I realised not only did it give me a huge amount of time to write, but I could also use the difficulty of being a detective working under COVID rules in my book. And I learnt about Zoom for interviews.

After several edits and rewrites, all the pieces slipped into place and in May this year Murder in the Cards, came out and we had a book launch at One Tree Books in Petersfield, and I read a celebration poem.

Heaven would be proud.

Thank you so much for letting me post on your blog. It was the greatest fun. Gina

Thank you for sharing your journey to publication with us – you show great resilience and fortitude, so glad things have worked out after all your hard work!

Murder in the Cards

Death is the rule, survival the exception in 1960s Soho bridge circles

When the SeeMs Agency detectives play bridge online in 2020, they don’t expect their opponent to die during the game and yet a post-mortem the next day proves Brian Deliverer was dead halfway through the night. Can a dead man play bridge?

Employed by Brian’s daughter Karen to investigate his death, the team are led back to a notorious 1920s murder and to a missing teenager from a Sussex village in the 1960s.

Should they tell his daughter the terrible truth behind her father’s death even if it costs her everything?

Purchase Links

Author Bio – 

Gina has worked as a physiotherapist, a pilot, freelance writer and a dog breeder. 

As a child, Gina’s parents hated travelling and never went further than Jersey. As a result she became travel-addicted and spent the year after university bumming around SE Asia, China and Australia, where she worked in a racing stables in Pinjarra, South of Perth. After getting stuck in black sand in the Ute one time too many (and getting a tractor and trailer caught in a tree) she was relegated to horse-riding work only. After her horse bolted down the sand, straining a fetlock and falling in the sea, she was further relegated to swimming the horses only in the pool. It was with some relief the racehorse stables posted her off on the train into eastern Australia to work in a vineyard… after all what could go wrong there?

In the north of Thailand, she took a boat into the Golden Triangle and got shot at by bandits. Her group escaped into the undergrowth and hid in a hill tribe whisky still where they shared the ‘bathroom’ with a group of pigs. Getting a lift on a motorbike they hurried back to Chiang Rai, where life seemed calmer. 

After nearly being downed in a fiesta in Ko Pha Ngan, and cursed by a witch in Malaysia, she decided to go to Singapore and then to China where she only had to battle with the language and regulations. 

Since marrying the first time, she has lived and worked in many countries including Spain and the USA. 

For a few years Gina was a Wingwalking pilot, flying, amongst others, her 64-year-old mother standing on the wing to raise money for a cancer charity. She was also a helicopter instructor and examiner and took part in the World Helicopter Championships in Russia and the USA.

She became a writer because her first love was always telling a good yarn!

Under the name Georgina Hunter-Jones she has written illustrated children’s books such as The Twerple who had Too Many Brains, and Nola the Rhinoceros loves Mathematics.

She now lives in Sussex with her husband and dogs, one of who inspired the Biscuit and Pugwash Detective Series about naughty dogs who solve crimes.

Murder in the Cards is the second in the SeeMS Detective Agency series

Social Media Links – 

Website: www.ginacheyne.com

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