I was recently contacted by Mr Jameson with a request to review Diana Christmas, his first of a series of screen siren noir books. The book was published in March this year – and it is a completely new genre for me to explore. I gladly accepted!
Firstly I’d like to say a huge thank you to anyone that has already taken the time to check out that post (and if you haven’t already, you can do so here!)
So, now you’ve had the opportunity to read my thoughts about the book, it’s time to introduce you to the author himself. Sharing his answers to my questions about the novel, he tells us a little of what inspired the story:-
Tell us all a little about yourself and give a brief summary of the book.
I’ve written for a long time, for most of my life in fact, but there was a period of a few years when I drifted away from it. That period was when I met my wife and we bought our house and had our daughter, so there was a lot going on, but it was still a source of annoyance and frustration that I couldn’t get my words to flow. However, maybe I just needed that time for the creativity within me to percolate.
‘Diana Christmas’ is the first novel of this new period of inspiration. It’s a Noir set in 1979, but harking back to a more prosperous age of British cinema. A young film journalist meets a glamorous older actress and, smitten, can’t resist becoming her knight in shining armour. However, his desire to help her swiftly has terrible consequences.
What or who inspired you to write Diana Christmas?
I love L.A. Noir novels and books about the sordid underside of Hollywood. (I’m a big fan of the ‘You Must Remember This’ podcast.) I think, ideally, I’d have written a Hollywood-set story myself. But since I’ve only been to the place once and very briefly, there’s no way I could realistically become a chronicler of it. Then one day the idea occurred to me that Britain had a film industry as well. Smaller and more parochial, but there it was with its own studios and stars. From there, everything fell into place.
Do you have any fellow authors you look up to? If so, why?
Raymond Chandler has always been a touchstone of mine, and even though I’ve not read any of his books for years, I still think of them constantly and can even quote them. Given my love of Hollywood Noir, you won’t be surprised to hear that I’m a fan of both Megan Abbott and James Ellroy; both of whom influenced this novel – Megan Abbott in particular. While from the British crime writers, I’ll always champion Barbara Vine – which was what Ruth Rendell called herself when she was having her darker and more weird moments. She produced a number of underrated, but must-read books.
What was the most challenging thing about writing the book?
It’s a period piece, so I suppose like anyone writing something in bygone years, I was constantly worried about capturing the period correctly; about not putting in some dreadful anachronism. But I also had sleepless nights about capturing the characters properly. The character of Diana, in particular. I wanted to make her convincing all the way through, and a lot of time was spent thinking about her psychology. Hopefully I’ve succeeded, or – at least – got pretty close to succeeding.
Are there any other future novels in progress?
Absolutely, the second in the ‘Silver Screen Noir’ series, ‘Eden St. Michel’, is now available for pre- order on Amazon and I am also working on the follow-up to that. Once that’s done, then I have the first draft for the first book in a different series that I want to get back to. That’s something much more in the epic horror genre. So there’s a lot of writing ahead and a lot of work ahead, but I’m enjoying myself immensely, so why not?
F. R. Jameson
Husband, father, author, goodreads reviewer, blogger and man who seems capable of holding seven streams of nonsense in his mind at any one moment.
I read a lot, have a passion for cinema and am greatly enjoying living through this golden age of television. (To think, there was a time where I never watched TV). I like to tell myself I have an array of different interests, but I might be lying to myself about that and am really just exploring different facets of the same interests. I am attempting to improve myself though, trying to grow as a human being by pushing my boundaries, finding out new things and then seeing what happens.
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