Today’s guest is a writer after my own heart. Olivier Bosman likes to visualize the scenes before writing them, as I do. But let’s let him tell you more!
Born to Dutch parents and raised in Colombia and England, I am a rootless wanderer with itchy feet. I’ve spent the last few years living and working in The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Sudan and Bulgaria, but I have every confidence that I will now finally be able to settle down among the olive groves of Andalucia. I am an avid reader and film fan (in fact, my study is overflowing with my various DVD collections!) I did an MA in creative writing for film and television at the University of Sheffield. After a failed attempt at making a career as a screenwriter, I turned to the theater and wrote and produced a play called “Death Takes a Lover” (which has since been turned into the first D.S. Billings Victorian Mystery). The play was performed on the London Fringe to great critical acclaim. I am currently living in Spain where I make ends meet by teaching English.
Betty: When did you become a writer?
Olivier: I started writing twenty-seven years ago. Initially I wanted to be a screenwriter or a playwright, as what I most enjoyed writing was dialogue. But screenwriters are often employed to adapt somebody else’s book or tinker on somebody else’s story, and I wanted to create my own characters and tell my own stories, so I started writing novels five years ago.
Betty: How long did you work on your writing skills before you became published?
Olivier: I’ve always taken my writing seriously. I did an MA in creative writing for film and television and I have attended many workshops to improve my writing. I was a little insecure when I embarked on my first novel, as prior to that all I had written were plays and screenplays, so I joined a writing group where we critiqued each other’s completed manuscripts, and I have a learned a lot from that.
Betty: What authors or stories do you feel influenced your writing style?
Olivier: Screenwriting has very much influenced my style. I picture the complete scene in my mind before I write it and lot of the story is told through action and dialogue, rather than narrative prose.
Betty: What prompted you to start writing?
Olivier: An innate desire to make up stories, I suppose. I’ve been making up stories ever since I was a child.
Betty: What do you wish you knew before you started writing/publishing?
Olivier: I wish I had found out about self-publishing before everyone else did. With so many authors publishing their own books, it has become quite difficult to get noticed.
Betty: What other authors inspired you (either directly or through their writing) to try your hand at writing?
Olivier: Wilkie Collins inspired me to write Death Takes a Lover (the first D.S Billings Victorian mystery). In fact, I first wrote it as a play. I was looking for a genre that would work well in the theatre, and after reading The Woman in White I found it: Victorian Gothic. It was the right mix of chills, thrills and melodrama to a keep an audience entertained on a cold, dark autumn night.
Betty: What inspired you to write the book you’re sharing with us today?
Olivier: I was explaining what my play (Death Takes a Lover) was about to someone. I told him that it was about a gay Quaker detective with a morphine addiction who had to investigate the suspicious death of a house maid in an isolated mansion in the Yorkshire Moors. My friend said I should turn it into a detective series. And that’s exactly what I did. Rather than adapting Death Takes a Lover into a novel (I did do so later) I decided to introduce my character properly. Give him a back story and a cast of supporting characters which would reappear in subsequent books. The Ornamental Hermit is the first of the D.S. Billings Victorian Mysteries. There are four books in total (plus the play, which has since been turned into a novella). DS Billings delves into a new mystery in each book, but his personal life, his trials at coming to terms with his demons, carry on.
Dimly lit cobblestone streets. Sinister looking men in top hats lurking in the fog. The first three books in the DS Billings Victorian Mysteries Series have been bundled together to chill you to the bone. Detective Sergeant John Billings is an honest and hard working man who has risen swiftly through the ranks to become one of Scotland Yard’s youngest detectives. But in his private life he struggles with the demons of loneliness, morphine addiction and homosexuality. In these mysteries he will lead you on a thrilling journey into the darkest recesses of Victorian society.
“He’s been ill for some time.”
Mrs. Forrester sat next to Billings. Her eyes were still gleaming with the joy of seeing him after all these years.
“He’s never been the same since Sebastian went missing. It’s his heart. I blame it on the stress and expense we incurred in finding Sebastian. Do you know how much money we paid those incompetent detectives in Cumberland? We should have employed you. They profited from us!” She let go of his hands. “They milked us. Combing the hills, dragging the lakes. That’s what hurts the most. That in the midst of our desperation, our grieving, somebody else tried to profit.” She took off her gloves and stared out at the bare trees which lined the cobbled streets of Chelsea. “We got a letter,” she added.
“From him. From Sebastian. He’s back in Oxford. He sent us a letter.”
“I thought he was dead.”
He realised his clumsiness immediately and cursed himself inwardly.
Mrs. Forrester ignored the gaffe. “We were in Oxford last week. Mr. Forrester, sick as he was, insisted he’d come with me.”
“How did you find him?”
“We didn’t. We waited for a whole week at that tea room he’d suggested for our meeting, but he didn’t show up. And we had no way of locating him. So we went back home. Mr. Forrester thinks it may have been an impostor.”
“Mr. Forrester is dying, John. I told you that. There’s a large inheritance at stake. Anyone can pretend to be Sebastian. It’s been ten years.”
Buy links: Amazon
Thanks for stopping by, Olivier, and sharing about your writing, your inspiration, and your latest books.
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