Catching up with Carola Dunn

Catching up with myself...

by Carola Dunn, author of the Daisy Dalrymple Mysteries




I started writing 34 years ago. Not that I ever had a burning desire to produce a book, but it seemed like a good excuse to postpone looking for a "proper" job (as opposed to my many part-time and temp work experiences).

I had been rereading Georgette Heyer's Regencies. and wishing for some new ones equally good. The ones I found were pretty badly written—yet they'd been published. Surely, I thought, I can do at least as well. So I sat down (at the kitchen table) and wrote my first Regency romance, longhand, on ruled paper. The first surprise was that I finished it. The second, that an editor wanted to buy it.


Toblethorpe Manor has the requisite English setting and youthful heroine (in her mid 20s in this case). They say write what you know. Well, I was born and grew up in England, and way back then it wasn't so long since I was in my 20s. The Regency period—early 1800s—I was familiar with mostly from Heyer's books.

Having sold one Regency, I went on writing them, a total of 32 and a bunch of novellas, including a ghost story, a time-travel, spies, smugglers, attempted murders. It was a lot of fun. My oldest heroine was 42, Lady Catriona in The Dower House (now in the e-anthology A Second Spring—all my Regencies are still available, as e-books). By the time I wrote it, I was considerably older, but 42 was stretching the limit for the genre.


Still, when I started to write traditional mysteries set in the 1920s, I found myself writing about a protagonist in her 20s, Daisy Dalrymple. What's more, 21 books later, she's still in her 20s! The 21st story, Heirs of the Body, comes out in December, and I'm hard at work on the 22nd.


A few years ago, I decided it was time to catch up with myself, to create a protagonist of my own age. The result is my Cornish Mystery series (set around 1970). Eleanor Trewynn is in her 60s, retired from a globe-trotting job. She misplaces her keys and can't remember whether she locked the door. After a busy day, she can't be bothered to cook but has cereal or beans on toast for supper.

But she also walks for miles on the cliffs with her Westie, Teazle, and practises Aikido. She spends much of her time driving about the countryside collecting donations for the charity shop she founded, on the ground floor of her cottage.

She doesn't run the shop, though, because the cash register rebels every time she goes near it. Just like my endless difficulties with card readers in stores—and I won't go near self-checkouts!


Eleanor's first adventure is Manna from Hades, in which Teazle finds a body in the shop's storeroom. The second, A Colourful Death, has just come out in a paperback edition.



The third Cornish Mystery, Valley of the Shadow, is out in hardcover.

All three are available as ebooks, as are all the Daisy Dalrymple mysteries and all the Regencies.


Thanks for visiting today, Carola. I am so glad to now know more about you and your books.





Carola Dunn said…
Thanks for inviting me, Marilyn. It was fun to write.
Ann Herrick said…
It was fun to learn more about Carola and her writing history!
Carola Dunn said…
Marilyn, invite Ann Herrick to guest blog about her books! Fair's fair ;-)

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