Today I’m delighted to introduce Anne Coates, another successful author from the Urbane Publications stable. Having returned to writing and introducing us to Hannah Weybridge, it’s great to see this series take off and to be able to promote a lovely lady who serves as a reminder that it’s never to late to follow your writing dreams.
For most of her working life in publishing, Anne has had a foot in both camps as a writer and an editor, moving from book publishing to magazines and then freelancing in both.
Having edited both fiction and narrative non-fiction, Anne has also had short stories published in a variety of magazines including Bella and Candis and is the author of seven non-fiction books.
Born in Clapham, Anne returned to London after graduating and has remained there ever since. In an attempt to climb out of her comfort zone, Anne has twice “trod the boards” – as Prince Bourgrelas in Ubu Roi when a student and more recently as a nun in a local murder mystery production. She also sings periodically in a local church choir and is relieved when she begins and finishes at the same time – though not necessarily on the same note – as everyone else. Needless to say, Anne will not be giving up her day job as an editor and writer.
Telling stories is Anne’s first love and nearly all her short fiction as well as Dancers in The Wind began with a real event followed by a “what if …” That is also the case with the two prize-winning 99Fiction.net stories: Codewords and Eternal Love.
Dancers in the Wind published in October 2016 was followed by Death’s Silent Judgement in May 2017. The third in the series, Songs of Innocence will be published in May, 2018.
Which 5 pieces of music/songs would you include in the soundtrack to your life and why?
Not a lover of musical theatre or films, I couldn’t understand why I knew all the words to songs from The Sound of Music (when I’d never seen it). However my sister went to drama school and often practised these songs for auditions. So if you ever need a rendition of High on a hill – I’m your woman.
A must include would be the first classical LP I bought – Sibelius Symphonies Nos 3 and 7. My music education at school left much to be desired so I had to explore for myself. I was blown away by Sibelius the first time I heard these symphonies and many other classical composers like Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov inspire me.
I had always thought brass instruments were the Cinderellas of the orchestra until my daughter started learning the trumpet when she was six or seven. I can’t choose one particular piece but anything she played (after passing through the first few grades) gave me great joy and when I hear brass instruments now I get the same tingle.
Dusty is still a favourite if I feel like having a sing-along – on my own I hasten to add. Not many would want to hear me squeaking “I just don’t know what to do with myself.”
The first time I sang Fauré’s Requiem with my local church choir, I nearly had a nervous breakdown. Singing in Latin! However I join in every year and like to think I am actually improving.
Highlight 5 things (apart from family and friends) you’d find it hard to live without.
My three cats – Alice, Phoebe and Freddie will kill me if I don’t mention them! They are very affectionate and put up with me mumbling to myself when I’m writing. Ever since I had my own home I’ve had a cat – often joined by a second… and for 131/2 years I had the joyful company of Fliss, our West Highland terrier. I miss having a dog but they do tie you down.
Books – obviously. I do manage to cull these now and again as I have a lot of non-fiction sent to me for review on my parenting website. But there are books I’ll never part with. I can still remember the absolute joy of holding a book with my name on as author or translator and this thrill remains.
The sea – London has been my home for most of my life and I try to make the most of the opportunities the city offers but I would be bereft if I couldn’t make regular visits to the sea at home or abroad. I went to Portsmouth University and it was a revelation to experience the coast in all its manifestations throughout the seasons.
Theatre – I love live performances and have been privileged to see some great actors on stage but I also enjoy fringe. My mother trained as a ballet dancer and was born in Waterloo where she used to go to The Old Vic with her mother. Every time I go there I think of them (and how my mother used to be so embarrassed as my grandmother always took a crusty cheese and onion roll!).
My computer – this covers a multitude of things I couldn’t live without as it gives me access to radio, TV and films and books plus it’s where I store my photos. Fortunately, I managed to stop playing solitaire on it but I had to go cold turkey!
Can you offer 5 pieces of advice you’d give to your younger self?
Don’t worry so much! I used to worry about everything from being too skinny (not a problem I have now) to not having a boyfriend. I still worry now but try to keep life in perspective.
If someone makes you unhappy – move away from them. I think most of us have had relationships that are draining. The relief when you’ve said goodbye is so invigorating.
Learn to say no – you can’t please everyone and you can’t do everything. Your time is precious. Make the most of it.
Don’t compare yourself to others – a difficult one as I still do this at times. A total waste of energy.
Trust your gut instinct – always!
Tell us 5 things that most people don’t know about you.
I translated an erotic novel from French but used a nom de plume.
Once had an abstract bird picture I’d painted in an exhibition in Harlow Library.
The first magazine article I wrote was about joining a tap dancing class – I didn’t give up my day job but did hang up my tap shoes.
I used to advise on parenting issues for the BBC Asian network – they are based in Birmingham but I sat in an unmanned studio in the basement at Broadcasting House in London waiting for people to call in. A bizarre experience.
I make a mean Martini (according to my daughter!).
What are the first 5 things you’d have on your bucket list?
Join a life drawing or portrait painting class.
Volunteer at the elephant refuge my daughter went to in Thailand. It was an amazing experience for her and I love elephants. Some of those wonderful creatures had been severely traumatised.
Learn to play a musical instrument to a reasonable level. I started off as a child with a recorder and had some piano lessons with a terrible teacher. I began classical guitar – just as I was studying for my A levels so couldn’t devote the necessary time to it. I have a keyboard waiting at home …
Discover more of the flora and fauna in the UK.
Travel – there are so many places I’d like to visit. Perhaps I ought to have a “gap year” but I know I would miss my family and friends too much.
Fabulous answers Anne, I’m with you on a dog, books and the sea for starters. I also started to learn to play the guitar (without much progress). I hope you get the chance to volunteer to work with elephants, they are amazing creatures.
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Dancers in the Wind (Hannah Weybridge Book 1)
Freelance journalist and single mother Hannah Weybridge is commissioned by a national newspaper to write an investigative article on the notorious red light district in Kings Cross. There she meets prostitute Princess, and police inspector in the vice squad, Tom Jordan. When Princess later arrives on her doorstep beaten up so badly she is barely recognisable, Hannah has to make some tough decisions and is drawn ever deeper into the world of deceit and violence.
Three sex workers are murdered, their deaths covered up in a media blackout, and Hannah herself is under threat. As she comes to realise that the taste for vice reaches into the higher echelons of the great and the good, Hannah realises she must do everything in her power to expose the truth …. and stay alive.
Deaths Silent Judgement (Hannah Weybridge Book 2)
Following the deadly events of Dancers in the Wind, freelance journalist and single mother Hannah Weybridge is thrown into the heart of a horrific murder investigation when a friend, Liz Rayman, is found with her throat slashed at her dental practice.
With few clues to the apparently motiveless crime Hannah throws herself into discovering the reason for her friend’s brutal murder, and is determined to unmask the killer. But before long Hannah’s investigations place her in mortal danger, her hunt for the truth placing her in the path of a remorseless killer…
Songs of Innocence (Hannah Weybridge Bk 3)
This will be published in May, 2018
You can keep up to date with Anne via