I write mystery novels set in and around Winchester – and sometimes even in Chandler’s Ford!
Chandler’s Ford has been home since 1981 when we moved here from Surrey for my husband’s new job. I come originally from Poole and my husband comes from Oxfordshire. When we moved here our son was twelve and went to Thornden, followed in due course by his sisters: our elder daughter who was ten when we moved here and went into the top year at Hiltingbury Juniors, and the younger one, who was five, who started school at Hiltingbury Infants.
Our house was brand new and when we moved in we found a carpenter still hanging the back door, a plumber working on the boiler and a telephone engineer in the attic! Luckily they finished their jobs before bedtime!
North and South Millers Dale were still building sites for the most part and the two elder children loved exploring and soon discovered the stream in what is now the Flexford Nature Reserve.
I always wanted to be a writer, from the time I was about six and realised that books were made up inside people’s heads! My first ever published work was a set of stories for the children’s page of the Scottish magazine, The People’s Friend. I was twenty-two and was paid the princely sum of £2 a story. In the 1980s I was Brown Owl of the 5th Chandler’s Ford Brownies, based in the temporary building in the car park of St Martin’s in the Wood, and I wrote stories for the Brownie Magazine.
Later I won a short story competition in Family Circle and for some years I wrote for women’s magazines. At the same time I was writing novels – and failing to get them published! Eventually, Scuba Dancing, a romantic comedy – the seventh novel I’d written – was accepted and was published in 2005.
Since then my published novels include three Victorian mysteries set in the fictitious village of Finchbourne – that’s Otterbourne thinly disguised, and three contemporary mysteries set in and around Winchester.
My latest novel, The Art of Murder, published in September, is the third in my series featuring retired headmistress, Harriet Quigley, and her clergyman cousin, Sam Hathaway. Murder Fortissimo, Harriet’s first adventure is set in ‘Chambers Forge’ (which might sound slightly familiar) and features a very unusual murder weapon. A Crowded Coffin, her second outing, has a murder in Winchester cathedral, and the new book takes place almost in the shadow of the cathedral.
My books are available on Amazon and in public libraries.
To find out more about me, do check out my blog, Histories and Mysteries: Nicola Slade’s Winchester Mysteries, and my website, Nicola Slade. I’m always happy to do talks to social groups and writing circles.
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