Alicia Sepp moved to Tallinn, Estonia, to live in the house her grandparents abandoned in the 1960s. She began leading a quiet life setting up a small printing and graphic design business while getting to grips with a new language and a new culture. Her desire to expand and publicize her business led her to meeting a new group of friends and uncovering a secret from the past.
With the help of journalist Pellervo Kostinnen, she began the task of putting together the pieces of her grandparents life back in the old country and the reasons they had to leave. One by one the secrets the authorities thought they had buried came to see the light of day and Alicia’s life was changed forever
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How is Writing In Your Genre Different from Others?
Writing a mystery requires some knowledge of police procedure plus a knowledge of how some one would go about doing research. I am lucky in that I have done a lot of academic research in my time and was able to use this information.
Writing a book set in another country also requires some knowledge of the language and culture, if the story is to ring true.
What Advice Would You Give Aspiring Writers?
I would advise all aspiring writers to write, rewrite and revise constantly. The more you visit the book and polish it, the better the final result is going to be.
I would also advise getting a computer program which allows you to map out scenes, characters and places. This will help you to formulate the story much easier. Having done all the ground work beforehand, I am finding it much easier to write my second novel.
I was born in Wigan, Lancashire and lived there until I went away to teacher training college. After a series of jobs in retail and catering, I retrained as an ESOL teacher and went to work abroad for a decade and a half. Whilst working as a teacher I was also involved in writing textbooks and professional articles. I spent nine months working as a writer and editor in a Taiwanese publishing company. Since moving back to the UK I have taught in various adult education facilities in the London area and now divide my time between teaching and writing. My hobbies include traveling, photography and reading.
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
The book grew out of a writing group exercise at Seven Kings Library in London, where we were given the task of writing a description. I wrote the description of the area of Tallinn where I placed Alicia Sepp and my fellow writers asked for more details. Over several months the story developed and then I joined the Nanowrimo month in November, which spurred me on to do a substantial rewrite and to finally finish the book.
I was also inspired by stories I read in the 1990s when I lived in the Czech and Slovak Republics about underground publishing and underground writing. I was looking for some reason why a hacker would be searching for information about events in the 1960s up to the 1980s and persecution seemed liked a good story thread.
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