What is the working title of your book?
‘A Long December’ – it’s had that title for a few years now, that and ‘A Murder of Crows’ for a New York set crime novel both came to me around the same time. I do like making lists of possible titles and the fact those two kind of link in to one of my favourite bands, Counting Crows, helped a fair bit too.
Where did the idea come from for the book?
I listen at home to the radio a lot, and normally just talk radio shows, so there have been many occasions where I’ve been working the day job whilst breaking news on events such as the 7/7 London bombings or fathers for justice campaigners scaling buildings is being announced.
The image of a justice campaigner dressed as Santa Claus getting shot down from a motorway bridge came to me fully formed (how festive am I?!) and was quickly followed with a plot involving a young police officer who suddenly finds that someone from her past is sending messages to her via some pretty bizarre crimes in the lead-up to Christmas.
What genre does your book fall under?
Crime and, in the main, a Police procedural with, I’m hoping, some strong thriller elements along the way.
What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a movie rendition?
I’ve just finished watching ‘The Fear’ series on Channel Four and Peter Mullen would make a wonderful DI George Haven – although before watching that, I would have had Ed Harris in my mind, with Jodie Foster (in her ‘The Brave One’ style role) as Haven’s sidekick Sandy King. All of them will, however, be far too old to consider by the time I’ve been through sufficient drafts…
What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?
Doubt I’ll get it down in one sentence, maybe two or three.
DS Sandy King is receiving messages, video recordings of a captured woman and her young daughter, a handgun left at the scene of a motorway shooting which she instantly recognises. All the information and threats seem to point to something in her past, but it’s a secret she never wanted to get out. DI George Haven might be the only one she can disclose it to and the only man who can help.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I’m considering the options at the moment. Having had a couple of short stories in anthologies this year and just recently putting seven short stories featuring DI Haven out on kindle has been a real buzz, but I still would really like to try the traditional path. I’d love to have a book in bookstores one day. So, when it’s finally at a stage that I’m happy enough for it to go out into the wider world, I will be looking at suitable agencies to send sample chapters to – I’ll see how things pan out.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?
Probably around six months in total, but with some significant breaks within that due to other pressures – which, having changed jobs, have improved greatly.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Tricky one. At first I did the usual thing of trying to break away from all the usual expectations of a character in the police force, broken marriage, hard drinking, dark past – but soon realised that although I could bend a few of those, they are there for a reason and to an extent need to be in there as, although crime readers are looking for something new, they are also looking for very similar things most of the time.
Who or what inspired you to write this book?
I admire many authors in the crime genre – far too many to mention – but, it’s never been a case of ‘I think I could write better than a certain book or author’ more that, having been on the reviewing side of the crime fiction world for some time and not getting any younger that it might be a good time to get some words out there rather than continually talking about half-finished projects in drawers and boxes around the house. As I mentioned above, the idea of having a central section of the story set around a radio phone in show was piqued by my regular listening to such events unfolding whilst listening to the radio during the day job. I’m sure the themes of fathers for justice and abortion both came up during those radio shows and one day just met in my mind one day.
What else about the book might pique the reader’s interest?
Well, I have a series of missing women, who seem to have a connection, a lead detective who has reasons all of his own to want to save them and to protect the women around him.
A hooded abductor who sends haunting videoclips and messages should hopefully intrigue – as, hopefully, will the fact that the prime suspect has actually been dead for nearly a year
Now for the fun part. I get to tag in three writers who I think will be ones to watch in the next year or so.
Through this year’s NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) I have met many new great people, but top amongst those most keen to write and most encouraging to others who I think are ones to watch are:
@aegeanjan – http://aegeanjan.wordpress.com
@writerannie – http://anniedyer.wordpress.com
@davidbastiani – http://davidbastiani.wordpress.com
Thanks to Luca for tagging me into this – now to get writing done !