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Interview: Rosy Fenwicke talks about Cold Wallet

Rosy Fenwicke lives in Martinborough. She was a doctor who worked in General Practice, Women’s Health and Occupational Medicine in the Wellington region and in Hawkes Bay before becoming a full time writer.

Her previous books are: In Practice, the lives of New Zealand Women Doctors in the 21st Century (2004); Hot Flush (2017), the first book in the Euphemia Sage Chronicles. Euphemia Sage, a 53 year old Wellington business consultant, develops super powers and their responsibilities, with the onset of menopause. No Sweat (2019), the second book in the series followed and in late 2021 Empty Nests, the third book in the series will be published. Death Actually (2018) is the story of Maggie, a female funeral director based in Queenstown, and like Rosy’s previous books, received four star-plus reviews on Good Reads.

Rosy has run marathons (Paris and Motutapu) in the past but now walks her dogs every day. She enjoys reading, gardening, swimming and spending time with family and friends. She can ride an elephant but not very well and hasn’t done this since she had her three children.

Tell us a little about your novel.

Cold Wallet is about Jess a lonely young woman who marries the man she loves only to have him die tragically on their honeymoon. Surprisingly he leaves his business partner Henry out of his will and leaves Jess his cryptocurrency exchange. When the passwords to his wallets can’t be found, Jess comes under suspicion. Unable to trust anyone least of all Henry, Jess has to fight to clear her name.

What inspired you to write this book?

The story was inspired by the real life events at Quadriga, a Canadian cryptocurrency company. As I researched Bitcoin I became more and more fascinated by the world of deregulated finance and how the blockchain is used and how it will be used in the future. I knew this would be a fantastic new setting for a thriller.

What were your main influences?

I have always enjoyed reading thrillers with a twist at the end. I like complex unique characters and I was determined that Cold Wallet would be this type of novel.

What research was involved (if any)?

I listened to hours of podcasts about money, finance, the blockchain and cryptocurrency and how it works so I would be embedded in the language and world inhabited by Andrew and Henry. I read many books and articles on crypto and spoke to people who were in at the beginning of Bitcoin. I followed press releases about Quadriga and Cryptopia in NZ and read Jared Savage’s articles and book about the history of the 501s and their impact on crime in New Zealand.

What was your routine or process when writing this book? Do you have a typical writing day?

My writing day consists of sitting at my desk and writing. Some days are better than others in terms of finding things to put on the page. I agree with George Saunders who said writing is a temporal-linear phenomenon, one sentence follows another and then you go back and edit and edit again.

What do you think is the key to writing characters that readers engage with?

I find I am awfully protective of my characters once I believe them to be fully fledged in my mind. They are real to me and some like Euphemia Sage and Jane French in the Euphemia Sage series are like friends. Each one is built up in layers over the writing and re-writing of a book until each one has developed a deep personality and history unique to them and which is not always necessary to reveal in the book. I know who they are as people, their flaws and their strengths and that’s more than enough to work with.

If your book was made into a movie, who would you like play the lead characters?

Maybe for Jess, Saorise Ronan, or Park So-Dam. Anya Taylor-Joy could be great as would Sophia Di Martino. Andrew, I would cast Eddie Redmayne or Jay Ryan. Henry – maybe Antonio Te Maioha or Dwayne Cameron.

What did you enjoy the most about writing this novel?

Being part of the world I created. Now it’s over, it’s hard to let it go.

What was most challenging aspect?

Getting the story to work out and be consistent with the characters and what they would actually do.

What is the favourite book you have read so far this year and why?

I don’t tend to read much when I am writing as it is too hard to sustain different worlds. I did enjoy Jo Nesbo’s The Kingdom and I thought Sue Orr’s novel Loop Tracks was excellent. I am throughly enjoying dipping and out of George Saunders non fiction book, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain.

What’s next on the agenda for you?

I am planning my next thriller in my head and doing the necessary research so I understand the world it will be set in.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Gardening, swimming, walking the dogs, housework and being with my children who are grown up and quite interesting. I plan to go to Scotland as soon as I can to research another book which I plan to write after the next thriller.

Is there anything else you’d like to add about your experience writing this book?

At times it was very stressful as different parts of it had to be written and rewritten but as any author will tell you, you know when it is done and the last word is written to your satisfaction. There is no better feeling in the world.


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