Guest post: Helen Smith, author of Invitation to Die

Invitation to DieQ) Your latest book is called Invitation to Die. Can you tell us a bit about that?

Invitation to Die is the debut novel in my Emily Castles mystery series. It’s an entertaining British mystery featuring twenty-six-year-old Emily Castles. She teams up with eccentric philosophy professor Dr. Muriel to investigate a murder at a romance writers’ conference in London. Emily has already appeared in two novellas I have written, Three Sisters and Showstoppers. Thomas & Mercer asked me to write three new full-length books in the series and Invitation to Die is the first of those.

Q) In a film or TV adaptation of your book, who would play your main character?

Emily is a sweet-natured young woman with dimples so I’d love her to be played by Carey Mulligan. Miriam Margolyes would be perfect as her side-kick, Dr. Muriel.

Q) What’s next for you?

I have just finished the follow-up to Invitation to Die. It’s called Beyond Belief and it’s set in Torquay at a conference of philosophers, psychologists, mediums, hypnotists and TV psychics. Celebrated magician and self-professed sceptic Edmund Zenon has offered £50,000 to anyone who can prove the existence of the paranormal that weekend. When a death by drowning is predicted in a vision, Emily is called in to investigate.

I’m just about to start writing the next book in the series which is set at the Edinburgh Festival. Emily takes part in a theater show in which the boundaries between reality and art begin to blur. She finds herself in danger when she tries to investigate the death of a fellow performer.

Q) Who would play you in a film based on your life?

I’d want someone camp and beautiful. Faye Dunaway as Joan Crawford would be good. But if we want a hit at the box office we could just go with Jennifer Lawrence.

Helen SmithQ) A stranger unexpectedly does something nice for you that brightens your day. You decide to carry out a random act of kindness for another person in return. What do you do?

I like the idea of the suspended coffee initiative that started in the US and has recently reached us over here—you can go into a coffee shop and buy a coffee on account for a homeless person or someone else who would like one but can’t afford it. I’d like to do something like that. I’d pay the check in a restaurant for someone who could do with spending the money on something else, maybe a young parent or a tourist.

Q) The world will end in two minutes and there’s nothing you can do about it. You turn to the person next to you and you say…

“The things you have done have been worthwhile. People have loved you and known that you loved them. We only have a finite time on this earth and ours is up but I want you to know, as we leave this place together, that you’re a fine human being and your hair looks nice.” That will give them enough time to say something upbeat back to me, including a compliment about my hair, I hope. Then I’ll take their hand and off we’ll go together.

Q) Where can we find you online?

Twitter: @emperorsclothes

Helen Smith is a British novelist and playwright who lives in London. She’s the author of Alison Wonderland, Being Light and The Miracle Inspector as well as the Emily Castles mystery series.