Have you heard of the Good Mystery Girls?
Welcome to my interview with the Good Mystery Girls! Let’s see what this dynamic duo has to say about books, writing, and fun adventures!
Good Mystery Girls
Hi Good Mystery Girls! Please introduce yourselves and a few fun facts about you!
Greetings and salutations! We are Imogen I. Laverick and Nicola J. Lawton, best friends and co-authors. We’re both from the West Midlands in the UK and are students alongside being writers. Imogen is a trainee theatre costumier and seamstress, and Nicola is a drama lover and touring theatre student at University.
Books and theatre have played a big part in our lives which has helped in visualizing and acting out our stories. Some fun facts about us is that we keep forgetting our age gap, we reference a book or a play in almost every conversation we have and we both went to the same secondary school and didn’t even know!
What inspired you two to work together?
We met at a Steampunk meeting back in 2016 and started to create characters and stories not long after that. Our ideas were very similar and we enjoyed the same things. We began writing our first novel as a joke, but when we had half a book on our hands, it felt only natural to continue co-writing which lead us to self-publish the first book in our Steampunk murder mystery series, “Beaumont and Elscrook in the Pith and the Pendulum”.
How did the idea for your book come about?
The idea for our first book started… as a joke. We were sat in a pub in our hometown and were talking over large cups of tea about writing and these characters we created. Imogen had a photograph of her and a friend at a Steampunk botanical day out and thought it looked like the cover of a detective novel. Then we both started talking about ideas and wrote sections here and there until we had a few chapters under our belts. When we’d written half a book, we thought we could do something with our novel and decided to self-publish it!
What is the book about?
It’s a Steampunk murder mystery whodunit novel. It follows the journey of Lady Beaumont, an introverted book lover, and her childhood friend who crashes back into her life, Commander Nancy Elscrook, who is a lemon obsessed pilot. They hear about a murder on the radio and believe they could solve it before the police do. The book goes through the ups and downs of life, discusses the importance of female friendships and taking a leap of faith to conquering your fears. It’s also about tea and bad jokes, so the book is a bit of a roller coaster!
Can you describe the characters?
Our two title characters are a very dynamic duo, much like us as friends and co-authors! Lady Beaumont lives with her butler, Albert, and feline companion, Abberline. She sits reading in her library most of the time over a pot of Earl Grey and dreams of becoming a detective one day. She is usually seen with her long black hair in a practical style, her spectacles perch delicately on the end of her nose and wearing a vast dress which makes her look like an elegant tent. She’s introverted, but is incredibly intelligent. She’s very close with her family and friends and can’t believe what she’s getting herself into when her childhood friend rocks up later in her life…
Commander Nancy Elscrook is a corset-wearing, lemon-obsessed fighter pilot who loves a good laugh and a drink at the bar. She’s very feisty and always speaks her mind. She knows what she wants and will do anything to get it as well as helping those in need. Elscrook has a mane of wild ginger hair, freckles and is never seen without her signature green pilot jacket. She looks out for Beaumont and helps to bring her out of her shell and follow her dreams.
How many similarities are there between you and your characters?
There aren’t many personality differences between us and our characters! Lady Beaumont is mainly written by Imogen and… looks exactly like her! They both have a large collection of books and drink an unholy amount of tea. Imogen is always seen in handmade dresses and garments, as a full time Steampunk. Nicola is part time so she doesn’t wear the ginger wig all the time…
Elscrook and Nicola have some clear physical differences but their laughs, confidence and favour for lemon treats is the same. They’re both very ambitious. The two main characters and authors always look out for each other and it’s really nice to write about a relationship and a bond we know about so well. This is why we say our book is written by best friends, about best friends, for best friends!
What are the differences?
The differences between us and the characters are that Imogen doesn’t have a cat, a butler or is regularly caught on crime scenes trying to solve the case before the police. Nicola isn’t ginger, doesn’t know how to fly a plane (yet) and doesn’t know how to fight. (Well, only stage combat!) There’s lots of differences in terms of situation, the world and era the characters and authors are from and their families and friends. But the characters are very close to being us! Imogen often describes Beaumont and Elscrook being us but turned up to 11!
What challenges have you faced writing this book?
There were a lot of challenges. Particularly when it came to editing. It took us about a year to write the book and then another year to edit it all to as perfect as we could make it. The formatting almost defeated Nicola at one point but she came back kicking with correct grammar and indents. She won, of course. We also wrote our first book alongside being at university so finding the time was difficult. But we managed and have come out the other end with a novel we’re very proud of!
What were the most notable victories?
Our most notable victory overall was probably just seeing the books for the first time. We received our proof copy to see what the book would look like before sending off for the full batch and to hold it in our hands was magical. Nicola designed the cover so it was amazing to see how the colours and shapes really popped and made it look like a real book! Self-publishing was hard, but the pay-off was fantastic!
What’s your favourite thing about steampunk mysteries?
We both love a good mystery and have been interested in the Steampunk scene for many years. The idea of combining the two is genius really because there are so many possibilities to explore. The gadgets you can create and the worlds you can build can be as elaborate as you like. We’ve both grown up reading classic mysteries like Holmes, Marple, Poirot and Dupin so our book is a homage to the greats. Our title is a nod to Edgar Allan Poe, an Edgar Allan Pun, if you will. We hope to be up there with them one day!
What is your favourite thing readers can expect from this book?
We can’t wait for the readers to fall in love with the friendships like we did. The way Beaumont and Elscrook operate, they’re the perfect pair. They’re the best of friends, they’re practically sisters. They have two other friends, William Wooster and Benjamin Taylor, which make them the most fantastic and unstoppable four. This group of friends means a lot to us as writers as they’re such a joy to write about and explore. Some of their dialogue with one another is cracking…
What do you love most about the whole process of creating this book?
We love how our writing styles are very similar and match up almost seamlessly, so sometimes it’s hard to tell there are two authors. We adore our characters and the world they live in, and we just love talking to people about them! When our readers, friends and families that have read our book want to talk about it with us, it means a lot. We’re so proud with what we did, we love sharing it and hearing positive feedback.
What can we expect from you in the future?
You can expect another book! Fingers crossed, it’ll be out at the end of this year. We couldn’t let Beaumont and Elscrook finish after one mystery so we sent another one hurtling their way pretty much straight after the first book ended! Expect gangsters, gin and electro-swing because we’ll be taking our detectives to the 1920s island of Sepia City in ‘Beaumont and Elscrook in the Case of the Endless Light’.
Any last thoughts that your readers should know about Good Mystery Girls or your book?
We just want to let all our readers and future readers out there know that this is a book about friendship, confidence, power, strength, discovery and doing what’s right. Yes, there are some puns and silly jokes in there but those are from the hearts of the characters. We have such a fantastic balance between comedy and serious scenes that we picture our book as a film and we hope you do too!
A final word to anyone out there who is a writer or is thinking of doing it: DO THE THING! We believe in you! Our writing started as a hobby which has now become the start of something greater. The adventures of Beaumont and Elscrook, and Laverick and Lawton have only just begun…
Thank you so much to the Good Mystery Girls for talking about their book and sharing awesome advice! I can’t wait to see what’s next for Beaumont and Elscrook. Keep in touch with them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
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