Sunday, 20 November 2022

The Story Behind the Story with British Author, Angela Wren.


Guess who’s back!!!!!


One of my favorite authors is telling us about her newest cozy mystery. Her main character is a very cool guy. You’ll like him.


Angela has been a guest before, a few times actually, and if you missed it, please go HERE.


I know you’ll enjoy Angela’s stories.

Read on!



Angela Wren is an actor and director at a theatre in Yorkshire, UK. An avid reader, she has always loved stories of any description. She writes the Jacques Forêt crime novels set in France and is a contributing author to the Miss Moonshine anthologies produced by Authors on the Edge and the Dark anthologies produced by her publisher, Darkstroke Books. Her short stories vary between romance, memoir, mystery and historical. Angela has had two one-act plays recorded for local radio.


Working Title:  Mazargues (Jacques Forêt Mystery #6)


Synopsis: With his private investigation business in a slump, Jacques Forêt rashly accepts a commission to find a missing painting.

The mysterious owner of the artwork remains in the background, and Jacques and his partner, Didier Duclos, are left to piece together the life of the artist and the provenance of the painting.

Jacques’ unrelenting search leads him to discover a network of secrecy and lies – and a dead body.  Who is the victim?  And who is the killer?

A difficult case that takes Jacques into the dark, and sometimes money-laundered, world of art.

The Story Behind the Story: I’ve always been interested in art.  I actually grew up in a household with artists.  Both my brothers could draw and paint and so could my dad.  Me?  I have a keen eye for colour and design but that’s about it.  I don’t seem to have the required gene.  So, I’ve made up for the deficit by visiting art galleries whenever I could.  My particular interests are the Renaissance - because that period saw the then revolutionary introduction of perspective - and the Impressionists and some more modern artists such as Georgia O’Keefe.

About five years ago, when I realised I had more than just the first four Jacques Forêt stories to tell, I came across an article in the newspaper about the theft, over one weekend, of some precious artworks.  That set me thinking.  How did the thieves do that?  How did they get round the alarm system?  For weeks afterwards my brain just would not stop circling that issue.  The customary notes were made in a number of my many notebooks and, although I had no idea of what the story would be, I knew there was a book in there somewhere.

Come forward to 2020 and the pandemic hits.  Being confined, as we all were, gave me the opportunity to indulge in my love of art from the comfort of my own library/home office.  I signed up for all sorts of lectures online.  And I was so glad I did.

#Mazargues is not just a crime story involving art it’s also about the life and work of an artist.  Yes, my story is something that developed in my imagination, but creating the life and body of work of my imaginary artist really stretched the brain.  How could I have my central character Jacques discuss the case with his colleague Didier, if I didn’t have any clear idea of the actual picture that they had been commissioned to find?

That meant research.  A lot of it, but it was a fascinating journey.  I looked up the Impressionists.  Monet, Renoir, Matisse I already had  some books about, but others, Pissarro, Morisot, Caillebotte, Singer Sargent, Hopper, Merrit Chase and Sisley, were complete strangers to me.  Whilst not all of those artists get a mention in the text, examination of their work enabled me to invent some works of art that I hope come across to the reader as credible.

So, it is William Merrit Chase’s work Child on a Garden Path that provided the inspiration for one of the pictures that comes up during the investigation.  Similarly, the missing painting of the investigation is based on At the Seaside also by Chase.

For the portraiture mentioned in my story I used some of John Singer Sargent’s work as my models.  The monochrome portrait that Jacques spends time gazing at is actually an amalgam of two of Sargent’s paintings - Madame Pailleron and Madame Gautreau.  I took specific elements from each actual portrait in order to create the one that Jacques comes across in his research.

Similarly with the other pictures that are mentioned.  They are either amalgams of real land- or seascapes or they are complete fictions based on an actual sketch or panel by one of the artists mentioned.

It would have been wonderful to be able to illustrate this post with the works that are named in the book.  Sadly, the best I can do is to tell you to click the link behind the title of each of the paintings above.  It won’t take you on the amazing journey of research that I encountered, but it might give you a hint about how enjoyable my search was.





A question for you before you go, Angela:

What is your favorite part of writing and the part you enjoy the least?


I guess I love all of it, really.  The thinking, the working out what the story is, or is not.  The planning, the actual writing - although there are times when that becomes a bit tiresome.  It usually means that I need to take a break for a few hours or a few days or so, and then come back with a fresh mind and eye.  I think the most difficult bit is editing.  And note I said ‘difficult’ and not the ‘least enjoyable’.  I find self-editing requires constant sustained concentration and that often makes me very tired.  But it is an essential part of the process so I just have to go with it. 

 I think a lot of authors feel the same way about editing. Not always fun, but necessary.

Angela is also part of the Seasonal Collective - a groups of nine authors following the same theme. 


Thanks for being our guest once more, Angela. Looking forward to reading about Jacque’s latest adventure.



Thank you, dear Readers & Visitors.

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  1. Thanks for including me on your blog again, Allan. I hope your readers enjoy the post.


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