Friday Reads – Desire & Deceit by Carol Hedges

For my Friday Reads this week I’m interviewing successful YA Author Carol Hedges about her latest book, Desire & Deceit, which is book 9 in her Victorian Detective series, and her writing life. So let’s find out a little more about the book, and get chatting to Carol.


It is 1868, and the body of a young man has gone missing from the police mortuary at Scotland Yard, an event that has never happened before. Who was the mysterious corpse, and why was he spirited away in the night? These are the questions baffling Detective Inspector Stride and Detective Sergeant Cully as they set out to uncover the truth.

Meanwhile, two greedy, unscrupulous, inheritance-seeking brothers, Arthur and Sherborne Harbinger, descend upon London and their very rich dying aunt, each determined to get whatever they can out of her, and prepared to use whatever methods they can to win her favour. And over in her newly rented rooms in Baker Street, Miss Lucy Landseer, consulting private detective, has been presented with her first ever proper case to investigate ~ and finds it is one that will defy even her imaginative and inventive mind.

Set against the  hottest summer on record, Desire & Deceit, the ninth outing for this popular Victorian Detectives series, explores how the love of money really is the root of all evil. Once again, Victorian London is brought to life in all its sights, its sounds, its sordid and gas-lit splendour. Another must-read book, teeming with memorable Dickensian-style characters.


Welcome to my blog, Carol. Have you always wanted to be a writer?

It is difficult to say whether, at the age of 7, I knew what being a writer was. I did enjoy making up stories for my younger brother ~ my parents used to charge me with keeping him amused on the long car journey we made every year to Devon for the family holiday and we had a set of characters who had adventures. Did I see myself as a writer when I won the Essay Cup, age 10, for a book review of Alice in Wonderland, or produced books for my toys, or later, wrote compositions and essays for an inspiring secondary school teacher? I don’t know. I can say that I have always written something, and maybe the somethings gradually coalesced into what I do now.

Do you have a special place for writing?

I write at what used to be our kitchen table, now located in the back bedroom (see photo). My laptop is not connected to the internet, deliberately, so that I don’t get distracted. My iPhone remains downstairs. Small disciplines because as every writer knows, it is horribly easy to find oneself wandering off task and getting nothing written. Sometimes my chair is occupied by the cat, who sees it as ‘her’ chair, and has to be coaxed off it. I envy people who can write in cafes, on buses, trains etc. I need peace and quiet and the same space. Even so, I still spend several minutes prior to writing arranging desk ornaments and staring out of the window!

What a lovely view! Are you a pantster or a plotter?

Hold on to your credulity! I am an appalling pantster. Really really appalling. Well, no, actually I do have some sort of structure: every book begins with the end. Once I have written that, and am happy with it (for now) I start at the beginning and work towards it. Because my novels can best be described as episodic (there are a lot of characters … think Dickens), I sometimes break off one strand and revert to another. No, I never know where the darn thing is going, but then if I did, I’d be bored. And if I got bored, I know you, my reader, would instantly pick up on it. I regard those writers who have postit notes, card indexes, character studies etc with total bafflement. As they do me. Also, because I write Victorian crime fiction, every now and then the narrative comes to a complete halt while I research some aspect of the plot or locus. And you know what that means ~ going down wonderful rabbit holes from which I emerge to change direction completely.

Is your writing evert inspired by family or real life incidents?

No member of my family has ever been harmed by my writing! As for real life incidents ~ I’m saying nothing. Suffice to say that corrupt politicians, unscrupulous lawyers and a public-school educated elite who felt they were superior to everyone else existed in the 1860s as well. There may be some parallels drawn. Possibly.

What time of day do you write best?

It would be nice to say that I leap out of bed at, hit the computer, knock off a couple of thousand words, then break for lunch until another couple of thousand words are written in the afternoon. Sadly, this is not how it works. If you write historical fiction, an inordinate amount of time is spent researching, as I said earlier. Mainly this is so that no picky reviewer can point the finger and go ‘Ah! AH!’ (I have to admit that I do this all the time when watching so-called historical TV dramas. Especially those set in the Victorian period. You do NOT want to share a sofa with me. The Woman in White was the worst!! How much research does it take to learn how many fingers a person would offer to a stranger. And NOBODY would use the term ‘knock yourself out’ in the 19th century!)

 Sorry ~ what was the question again? Yes.. my best and most productive time of day is 2pm ~ 4pm. Mind, that’s only if the cat hasn’t taken over my writing chair. At the end, I try to leave the characters at a crossroads or dilemma, so that I have an incentive to get back and sort them out next day. And of course, a lot of time is also spent thinking, which is a kind of writing.

Do you have a daily set word count?

No. Why put yourself under pressure and take all the fun out of it?

What advice would you give to other writers?

Don’t get bogged down in advice from other writers.

Thanks so much for dropping by to talk to us, Carol. It was really interesting to learn about your work. Wishing you lots of success.

Meet Carol

Author bio

Carol Hedges is the successful UK writer of 18 books for Teenagers/Young Adults and Adults. Her writing has received much critical acclaim, and her novel Jigsaw was long-listed for the Carnegie Medal.

Her ebook Jigsaw Pieces, which deals unflinchingly with many of the problems that beset today’s teens, is available on Amazon as is her Dystopic Fantasy The Last Virus

Carol is the writer of ‘The Victorian Detectives’ ~ a series of novels set in 1860s London and featuring Detective Inspector Leo Stride and his side-kick Detective Sergeant Jack Cully.

The nine books in the series are:

Diamonds & Dust

Honour & Obey

Death & Dominion

Rack & Ruin

Wonders & Wickedness

Fear & Phantoms

Intrigue & Infamy

Fame & Fortune

Desire & Deceit

Author contact links

Twitter: @riotgrandma72

Facebook Author page:



Karen King – Writing about the light and dark of relationships.
Amazon Author Page: