Very exotic location this week! Fiji 🙂 Marianne Wheelaghan takes us there with her story, The Shoeshine Killer, and shows us both the side of Fiji we think of when planning a vacation, and the darker side. Check it out on the map!

How or why is the setting important to who your character is?

Marianne WheelaghanLouisa Townsend is of dual heritage from Scotland and Kiribati. She often feels conflicted as to who she is and where she is from. She is sent to Suva, Fiji for a conference – Fiji is one of Kiribati’s closest neighbours. While in Suva Louisa finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. Everything is done differently in the Pacific – and in Fiji differently again. The weird and wonderful dual nature of the setting – both paradisiacal and sinister – reflects Louisa conflicting struggle to come to terms with the many sides of the two very different places she is from.

Which location did you enjoy writing the most in your story? Why this one?

I enjoyed writing about Suva, the capital of Fiji, because when I went there it was so different from how I expected it to be.  When we think of Fiji we think of holidays on paradisiacal, sunshine-drenched deserted beaches. The reality is somewhat different – but beneath Suva’s wet and squalid surface beats a very warm and generous heart.

When you visited France, which location did you prefer?

I have visited many parts of France but in particular I love Charente Maritime because it feels like home. I’ve been going there with my husband, who is of French-English dual heritage, for over twenty years. We go to a small hamlet called Ligueuil. It is a tranquil, bucolic hamlet where nothing much happens – well, that is until recently when the mayor decided to try and knock down the 12th century village church! Oh la la indeed!

What gave you the greatest cultural shock when in France?

The very rigid times for eating – no one seems to serve food (other than snacks) and/or eat meals outside the expected meal times.

Which part of the French archetype did you discover to be wrong? Right?

The French like to talk: they never use ten words if they can use one hundred. And in particular they like to talk about their health and, bien sûr, food and wine 😉

What do you think would be the greatest cultural shock for a French person who visited your home town?

If a French person came to Edinburgh they would be shocked that meals are served all day; that our shops are open on Sundays and lunchtimes; that some children can be rude,  and finally, you cannot buy a decent bottle of wine for less than a fiver.

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