NK Chats To… Lesley Cookman

Hi Lesley, thank you so much for joining me today. Can you tell me about your latest novel, Murder by Christmas?

Thank you for inviting me! Murder by Christmas is the 25th in the Libby Sarjeant series. Libby is in the final throes of pantomime rehearsals, when she and her friend Fran become involved in the investigation into a local brewery. This involves visits to many pubs – naturally!


What’s your typical writing day like? Do you have any writing rituals?

I write as soon as I can get into the office – any time between 10 and 1pm and for as long as I can before the cats need feeding again.


What are the challenges you found when writing this novel and does writing a series present challenges? 

The challenge of this one was the short time (3 months) in which I had to do it.  And writing a series is definitely a challenge – trying to come up with different plots and not repeat myself.


Which songs would make up a playlist for your book?

Mostly classical


Which fictional character would you like to meet and why?

Roderick Alleyn from Ngaio Marsh’s wonderful books.


What elements make up a good mystery story?

Heavens – I don’t know! Keeping the reader guessing, I suppose, and comfortable while they’re doing so.


From idea to finished book, what’s your writing process like and how long does it typically take you from initial idea to final draft? How much research do you do before you begin and how do you know you’ve done enough?

Length of time varies on when the publisher has set the next deadline! And most of the research I do while the book is in progress.


Which authors do you admire?

Ngailo Marsh, Jerome K Jerome, Monica Edwards, Georgette Heyer, PG Wodehouse


What’s your favourite word and why?

I just love words. My family call me a pedant.


Any other advice for aspiring writers?

Keep plugging away and read, read, read

Would you rather – 


Watch the movie or read the book? 

Read the book


Paperback or eBook? 

These days, eyesight dictates eBook


Would you rather go back in time to meet your ancestors or into the future to meet future family? 

Frankly – neither!


Are you a morning person or a night owl? 

I can be both.


Would you prefer to explore space or the ocean?

The ocean.


About Lesley Cookman –

Lesley started writing almost as soon as she could read, and filled many Woolworth’s exercise books with pony stories until she was old enough to go out with boys.

Since she’s been grown up, following a varied career as a model, air stewardess and disc jockey, she’s written short fiction and features for a variety of magazines, achieved an MA in Creative Writing from the University of Wales, taught writing for both Kent Adult Education and the WEA and edited the first Sexy Shorts collection of short stories, in aid of the Breast Cancer Campaign.

Lesley is a member of the Society of Authors and the Crime Writers’ Association.

Lesley has also written pantomimes performed all over Britain, and published a book on how to do it!

Say hello to Lesley via her blog, Facebook, Twitter (X) and Instagram


About Murder by Christmas

The twisting twenty-fifth instalment of Lesley Cookman’s much-loved Libby Sarjeant series

Libby Sarjeant is deep into rehearsals for the annual pantomime when a body is found in a doorway two weeks before Christmas – and Libby and her friend Fran are called into action once again, when their investigation leads them to a local brewery and the sale of many of its pubs.

With the help of a team of local publicans, can Libby and Fran unravel the case before it’s too late?

Murder by Christmas was released by Headline Accent on 7th December 2023. Click here to buy. 


Facebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailby feather
I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Novel Kicks is a blog for story tellers and book lovers.

Book Club
Novel Kicks Book Club