Writer Wednesday Interview: Angela Wren

It's a great pleasure to welcome to my blog today my multi-talented friend: author, actor and director Angela Wren.  Hi Angela!

When and how did you first become interested in writing?

I think it was story telling that first captured my attention as a very young child.  Apparently, from being only a few months old, I was mesmerised by voices, and I suppose I still am, as I have an uncanny ability to recognise voices in an instant.  When I was a little older I would listen to my Dad and my uncles telling me stories, for hours if I could, and all three of them were excellent narrators.  So bedtime stories were a must at home and later, when I was deemed too old to have them, I made up stories for myself.  Writing them down became the next logical step and I’ve been doing that since I was about 8 or 9.

Where did the idea for Messandrierre come from? 

The very first idea came whilst I was travelling in the CĂ©vennes in September 2007.  Overnight the weather changed dramatically and the next morning the village where I was staying and surrounding countryside where covered with snow.  I started thinking about how snow could be used to cover someone’s misdeeds and the opening page of my story began to form.  

Three years later I was staying in the Charente and met a lovely English couple in the local supermarket.  A few days later I was invited for tea and cakes – and who can turn cakes down?  A single, innocent remark during the course of conversation stayed with me and kept circling at the back of my head for the next few days.  When I knew I’d got a story I jotted down some notes and the rest is what it is!

You are obviously fond of France as a setting.  Tell us more about your connection with France.

It’s a long and enduring one as my very first visit was as a teenager and I’ve been visiting, living and travelling there regularly ever since.  The country is vast; geographically about 6 times the size of GB, but the population is similar.  There are some really remote places and the scenery is very varied and, in some instances, absolutely spectacular.  France also has a fascinating history, which is inextricably linked with ours.  Then there is the weather.  Need I mention the cuisine, the wine, and the culture?  Not to mention the fabulous shops in the cities and the relaxing and peaceful solitude of the countryside.  I always feel completely at ease and safe whenever I’m there.

Who is your favourite crime writer?  Or, if you can’t pick one, who are your favourites?

That’s an almost impossible question to answer; there are so many good crime writers out there.  To distil it down to just a few is just as difficult.  I loved Stewart and Christie, both of whom I read avidly as I was growing up.  In my teens I moved onto Collins, Dickens, Doyle and Poe.  As I kept reading I gradually progressed through all the shelves at the local library.  I really don’t know how I can measure one against the other and come up with even a small selection of favourites.  But I do have two favourite characters and always have had – Hercule Poirot and Sherlock Holmes!

What other genres do you like to read?

I’m unhappy with that word ‘genres’.  It’s a label that immediately defines a book and I like to make up my own mind.  I suppose I would have to say that, as a collector of books, I don’t read in genres, I read in words and authors.  At the moment I’m gradually working my way through my collection of Patrick Hamilton’s books, alongside which I‘ve just started an e-book called ‘Love Bites’ by Queenie Black.  It is not unusual for me to be reading more than one book at once.  Sometimes you have let the last paragraph or chapter sit in your mind for a short while before you continue. I also have a beautifully bound little book about T. E. Lawrence on my bedside table, and only last month I finished, and thoroughly enjoyed, the anthology ‘Modern Magic.’  I will read anything if the words truly capture my interest.

You’re also very involved in the theatre.  How do you think that has influenced your fiction writing?

Greatly I think.  As an actor it is important to understand the character you are playing thoroughly before you walk out on the stage.  For me, in preparing for a role, it is not just learning the lines accurately that counts.  I also search those lines for clues to the make up of my character and then search the rest of the play to pick up on how the other characters react and interact with mine.  If it’s a period piece then I checkout the clothes, the attitudes of the time and consider what life-shaping events my character might have lived through.  When I first started trying to create credible stories I found this approach of great benefit in helping me to create the characters that now walk across my pages.

What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve been given?

Believe in yourself and don’t give up.

Where can readers find you and your books? 

Facebook : Angela Wren
Goodreads : Angela Wren


  1. Thanks for visiting, Angela. I'm so glad you enjoyed Modern Magic, and it's great to hear more about how Messandrierre came about.

  2. It was a pleasure to be put under the microscope, Stephanie! Thank you for the opportunity and I shall look forward to returning the favour a little later this year.

  3. Very interesting interview. As a Francophile myself (having lived here for nearly 19 years), I was particularly interested in Angela's thoughts about the attractions of France. I don't know the Cevennes well, but Angela brings the region alive in Messandrierre.

  4. I know. It made me want to visit... despite the small matter of some rather scary criminals!

  5. Lovely blog post ladies. Looking fwd To reading your novel out on the 19th.


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