Cue 'Mission Impossible'! Sandi Wallace, Crime Writer Blog

I dropped in on the inspirational Sandi Wallace, Crime Writer to discuss my intermillennial mission impossible:  writing a nine book series.

"Nothing, and I mean nothing, spurs me on more than an email or comments from a reader saying how much they loved Olmec Obituary or Mayan Mendacity, how they feel about the characters, who they identify with or are barracking for, or what they thought of the archaeology, history or recipes. Most of all, I love it when someone says they can’t wait to read the next book in the series."

 

A Pimms for Christmas? at Author Q&A at Better Reading's Blog

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An in-depth exploration of the background to the series with passionate literacy advocates Better Reading.

"The series marks a new literary protagonist on the scene – Dr Elizabeth Pimms is a cat lover, foodie, introvert and, most importantly, an archaeologist in search of the truth. Both books follow a fascinating plotline with authentic archaeology that gives us an intriguing insight into ancient civilisations. Elizabeth Pimms becomes an ‘intermillennial sleuth’ and her investigations into the mysterious deaths of ancient peoples, mainly women and children, reveal much from the past – barbaric rituals including torture of children and mass sacrifice – as well as the more mundane aspects of life that we can all relate to thousands of years later." 

 

Who is Dr Elizabeth Pimms? at Capital Letters Blog

I spoke with the ACT Writers Centre about Dr Elizabeth Pimms' journey. 

"Elizabeth herself is still curious, tenacious, introverted and slightly awkward. Life is throwing one challenge after another at her and as she rises to meet them she is learning more about herself. There’s a nebulous sense that something is awry in her world, though, something she can’t quite put her finger on…"

 

Mayan Mendacity is Better Reading's Weekend Read! at Better Reading

A wonderful introduction to Olmec Obituary and Mayan Mendacity from the passionate literary advocates at Better Reading

"Both books are interspersed with lovely moments from Elizabeth’s family life – her elderly Welsh grandfather, her French Berber grandmother and her other grandmother who is Chinese. She conjures an alluring ambience of her heroine’s home life – complete with mahogany bookshelves, wingback chairs, Persian rugs and beautifully set tables in the conservatory. Combined with the frequent food references and wonderful literary references, such as Agatha Christie and Mark Twain, this is a series you can’t help but fall in love with."

 

The Dangerous Lives of Mayan Librarians at Girl.com.au

I spoke with Brooke Hunter at Girl.com.au regarding the inspiration behind Dr Pimms.

"The Maya not only had a beautiful, intricate system of highly colourful glyphs but they had huge, complex libraries as well. The position of head librarian, or Great Scribe, was not one to aspire to however. Not only was the head librarian the chief media and PR person for their ruler, charged with writing propaganda plays and speeches for the leader, their importance made them a prime target during times of war. Being a librarian was a dangerous occupation in ancient Maya. 

Once I knew about Lady Six Sky and the perilous lives of Maya librarians I couldn't help but write Mayan Mendacity!"

 

Refreshing the Wells with Kaaron Warren

I dropped by the ever lovely Kaaron Warren's blog to discuss my process for recovering (or not) between major writing projects.

"As I amble on I turn down narrow alleys of history where women’s stories linger, starved of light. I listen to their tales of adventure, invention, triumph, persecution and betrayal..."

 

Creating a Skeletal Analysis Laboratory at CASS

A lovely article from Arts & Social Sciences at ANU on the connections between archaeology and anthropology at the ANU and Dr Pimms' beloved forensic science laboratory.

“I spent some time at Durham University and Oxford. So the version of the university I have in my head incorporates elements from those UK universities as well as the ANU."

 

History, the patriarchy and fierce women at Femail.com.au

I spoke with Brooke Hunter at Femail.com.au on the origins of Olmec Obituary.

"I've long been concerned by the patriarchal, not to say condescending, interpretation of ancient civilisations that took place for the first century or more of modern archaeology. So many textbooks were written with chapters about kings and nobles and warriors, with a tiny dismissive section on -women' tacked on at the end about raising children and cooking. So much information about the incredible diversity of roles, responsibilities, and contributions of females was ignored. 

One of the underlying themes I am weaving through the series is the position and treatment of women in different societies. Amongst the Olmecs, for example, women competed in the incredibly athletic and dangerous Mesoamerican ballgame – smacking a very heavy ball of solid rubber around a stone ballcourt with their hips – competing in mixed teams and against noble males. Very few modern sports combine women and men into teams in the same manner. "

 

Crime Fiction with an Archaeological Twist at Booktopia

I took on Booktopia's Ten Terrifying Questions!

"Many artists set themselves very ambitious goals. What are yours?

30 books, one a year, until they are complete. I’ve planned nine books for the Dr Pimms, Intermillennial Sleuth series, along with a book of recipes and a compendium of archaeology from the series. I have plans for another recipe book that examines evolutionary aspects of human nutrition and the domestication of plants and animals across the planet; a dystopian political novel; a novel featuring a 17th century Cornish girl abducted by Barbary pirates; an historic trilogy examining the depth and breadth of the Celtic world; a young adult Elizabeth Pimms series of twelve instalments; and an autobiography.

I’ve also planned two series of short stories: one set in a steampunk Victorian England with historically accurate epidemiology; and one set in religious institutions around the world in the first half of the 20th century.

I don’t expect to get a full night’s sleep for quite some time!"

 

A Cozy (and Honest) Fireside Chat with Debbie de Louise

A rather honest chat with author/librarian Debbie de Louise on the challenges of writing. 

"To be honest, for me, it turned out that the process of writing was as natural as breathing. It’s everything else that goes along with being a writer that I struggle with. Typesetting, printing, distribution, marketing, PR and social media were far more challenging for me than writing."

 

Skeletons in the closet? at Bookseller+Publisher

My very first author interview, discussing Olmec Obituary with Fiona Hardy at Bookseller+Publisher. I accidentally made her ill with my description of 'wet anatomy'!

"When researching an ancient culture like the Olmecs, I ask, ‘How did this group deal with existential angst: meditation or bloody human sacrifice? How did these people express the fierce, wild side of joy: exquisite, intricate melodies or ground shaking drumming? How did these people deal with the competitive urge: sport as ritualised warfare or an intense poetry recital?’"