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Fade To Dead, made its appearance in May 2016 and, as Fade To Dead Kindle Book Coverwith my previous books, I will be anxiously awaiting the readers’ – (plural, because I hope there will be more than one) – verdicts. If anything, I will be more edgy than usual because this is my first foray into the genre of crime fiction. So, what possessed me to stick my head above the parapet of contemporary women’s fiction and train my sights on what is another highly competitive market? It’s a question I have been asked many times. It’s also one I’ve asked myself in the wee small hours of the morning when I wake up sweating, and feeling like the serial killer in Fade To Dead has got me by the throat. Then, I remember. Natural progression.

See, here’s the thing; I do not do sweet and moving love stories with happy endings – I leave those to other people, who do romance so much better than I ever could. I know this, because I have tried. I even attempted a Mills & Boon-style book once, entitled Dear Mr Arrogant, which ended up in the dustbin.  The problem was, Dear Mr Arrogant was such a truly horrible bastard  not even the most mealy-mouthed of heroines could have fallen for him. He was Christian Gray with nothing christian about him. He was vile, manipulative, evil, a psychopath, with no saving graces whatsoever (apart from the ubiquitous scar on his cheek and aquiline nose). No woman, no matter how desperate, vapid or thick, was ever going to fall for a monster like that.  Except for me! I loved him. I obsessed over him. I liked nothing better than to meander around in the filthy sewer that was his mind. He interested me in a way no honourable chiselled-jawed hero ever could. All evidence pointed to the fact that he and Lemara Kent (I blush for myself!) would never get it on. Reluctantly, I shelved him  and started again.

This time, I tackled a saga. The premise was a nice family tale, a feelgood story, dramatic but wholesome. A kind of Waltons in Ireland, only with muddy wellies and lashings of rain. The reality was somewhat different.  I managed to sneak in two suicides, an illegal abortion, an attempted murder and a bone fide murder. A theme was emerging. Things improved with the next two books, in so much as I managed pretty much to subdue my inner psycho. Subdue, but not for long. In truth, it was simply fermenting, biding its time, before emerging at full throttle in RSVP and Blue-Eyed Girl. Complex books these,  both featuring a large and bloodthirsty cast. Once more mayhem, madness and murder abounded, along with a smattering (okay, rather a lot) of other vices. A critic described RSVP as Jilly Cooper on crack! Fortunately, he thought that rather a good thing. Who am I to quibble!

I accepted the inevitable. I have an evil mind. I am not a vanilla kind of gal. I like bad boys. I like bad girls. I like bad boys and bad girls together – all of this in the literary sense, you understand. I enjoy ferreting around in the minds of monsters. I want to know what makes them tick. Best of all, I can safely explore this aberration through the vehicle of fiction – cue Fade To Dead and how it came about.

The heroine, DI Jessica Wideacre, actually showed up in my brain a good ten years ago. I had an idea I would feature her in a script, but somehow I couldn’t seem to bring her to life that way. She needed a book, first. Something more meaty to introduce her to the world. I shoved her back in my mental filing cabinet, where she stayed till the idea for the novel came to me and, lo and behold, my main character was already waiting patiently in the wings.

So, was it fun to write a crime novel? Yes, it was fun. It was also terrifying. Breaking new ground always is. But, where’s the glory in playing it safe? As a writer, I like to explore my craft and give the boundaries a good old push. These days,  I have even more blood on my hands and I couldn’t be happier.The proof? I am currently working on book No. 2, Babyshoes.

Incidentally, Jessica has her own FB page with all sorts of interesting crime-related articles, as well as a preview of the first few chapters (edited since then, but much the same in substance). Stop by for a visit – take the test, if you’re brave enough, and find out if you might possibly be a psychopath. And, if you feel inclined to ‘like ‘ Jessica’s page, all the better!

 

 

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