When I wrote TAUNTING THE DEAD back in 2010, I had no idea that I was going to write a police procedural. My character, Allie Shenton, started off as a police family liaison officer, but as the plot evolved and she needed to be out of the suspect’s house more than I had originally planned, it made sense to make her a detective sergeant – plus the book benefited from being in multiple viewpoints.
When I published TAUNTING THE DEAD, it was my debut novel, although it was the fifth book I had actually written. I had no idea of its reach. I mean, how does anyone when they publish a book? The most you hope for when you start out is that someone might like it enough to recommend it to someone else… and then some.
Step back a little to the four books I had already written. Three of these are the books that currently make up THE ESTATE SERIES. Feeling passionate about these books after two of them had been rejected by several mainstream publishers, I decided to re-edit them and publish them off the back of TAUNTING THE DEAD and when they did well, I thought perhaps TAUNTING THE DEAD had been a fluke.
At that time, I had written 10,000 words of a follow-on from TAUNTING THE DEAD but then decided to write a psychological thriller and take the fast pacing and twisting of TAUNTING THE DEAD and the emotion and fear of THE ESTATE SERIES and combine the two. That ended up as WATCHING OVER YOU.
When I got a two book deal with Thomas & Mercer, I chatted to my editor about the 10,000 words I’d written and so I concentrated on writing FOLLOW THE LEADER. I’m now putting the finishing touches to the third in the series, ONLY THE BRAVE. I can’t tell you how much I’ve enjoyed writing about Allie Shenton again.
What I learned from all this is that despite thinking that I didn’t enjoy writing police procedurals, and instead concentrating on one or two main characters in WATCHING OVER YOU, I actually like writing books with multiple viewpoints and sub-plots. FOLLOW THE LEADER was a challenge because I had to get rid of the baggage but once I’d done this, the words began to add up.
I learned such a lot from my editor at Thomas & Mercer. She made me into a better writer, I’m sure. And now I’m happy with the direction my writing is heading. I am a gritty writer, not afraid to write about touchy subjects, no matter how harsh the reviews are sometimes. But I enjoy what I do – and hopefully a lot of readers do too. I have over 1700 reviews across my books on Amazon – with 85% of those 4 and 5 stars – that ain’t too bad. So, for anyone who has read one of my books and left a review to say so, or contacted me to say so, THANK YOU so much.
Above is the cover for the book that was never meant to be, FOLLOW THE LEADER. It’s published 10 February 2015, followed by ONLY THE BRAVE, penned in for 26 May 2015.
The three books tie up a sub-plot that runs through them all. In ONLY THE BRAVE, you’ll get re-acquainted with the Ryder family… oh, how I’ve enjoyed that! I’ve mirrored a lot of things from TAUNTING THE DEAD in ONLY THE BRAVE but all three books can be read as stand-alones – there is a crime solved in each book.
I’m writing more books in THE ESTATE SERIES at the moment too. But, funnily enough, now that I’ve written three books with Allie Shenton as my main character, I’ve found myself planning two more…