Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Yorkshire Gets Sherlocked!

Sherlock fever has gripped Yorkshire as a charity’s campaign to set a new Guinness World Records™ title for the Most People Dressed as Sherlock Holmes has gone viral.

Sherlock Holmes, one of the most popular consulting detectives of all time, is on the case to help raise money for the Yorkshire Brain Research Centre at the Leeds Teaching Hospitals.

The Guinness World Records attempt promises to be the biggest Sherlock party ever. It takes place on 31st August 2014 in Temple Newsam, Leeds from 12 noon. The entry fee is £15 and every participant will receive a Deerstalker hat, pipe and magnifying glass on the day of the event.   The minimum number of people required to set a new Guinness World Records title is 250 participants.

The world's biggest Sherlock party will include a big stage featuring comedy, music, dance, cosplay, circus and theatre. There will be food, fun rides and a few special guest surprises along the way.

Clair Challenor-Chadwick, Appeal Director of the Yorkshire Brain Research Centre, said: “Sherlock is the perfect fit for brain research as the brainiest detective of all time was born in Yorkshire. He is helping us raise awareness of this much under-funded area and to help patients with dementia, epilepsy, Parkinson’s and MS. You don’t have to be a super fan to join in, everyone is welcome to come and help support this crucial cause and the great thing about Sherlock is he’s loved by so many across the generations. It’s going to be a fun family day out, and we’re asking Yorkshire to get behind the event, be part of a World Record, and help the new Brain Research Centre make life changing differences.”

A spokesperson from Guinness World Records said: “We’d like to wish everyone participating in this attempt the very best of luck.  It’s for a great cause, and hopefully by the end you’ll be official Guinness World Records holders.”

The event has galvanised world-wide support with donations from Chile, France, USA, Canada, Japan and Mexico. Sherlocks have been popping up all over Yorkshire and from around the world on social media, with Sherlock fans posting #sherlockselfie pics to help raise awareness of brain research and the world record attempt. Pictures have been posted from the Great Wall of China, from Australian beaches, and outside 221B Baker Street itself.

Even British Airways and Leeds Bradford Airport are getting on the case.  The best
#sherlockselfie pic will win return British Airways flights to London, a night at the five star Royal Horseguards in a river view executive room with breakfast and a visit to the Sherlock Holmes Museum at 221B Baker Street.

Social media fans are being asked to TEXT BRAIN to 88811 to donate £5 and to nominate a friend.

Clair said: “We have had #sherlockselfie pics from Wimbledon and the Tour De France. There’s going to be a real festival spirit on the day. We’ll even teach everyone a collective Sherlock dance with their deerstalker hats and magnifying glasses to be performed on the day.”

Celebrities, businesses, and sporting stars have also joined the case for Sherlock, with cast members of Emmerdale, players from the Huddersfield Giants Ruby League, and a British Airways Sherlock selfie of pilots and air staff taken in the cabin of a jet at Leeds Bradford Airport.

To register to the event go to www.sherlockworldrecord.com.

For special announcements and event news follow @sherlockrecord, #sherlockselfie

Pictures - Outside on the runway: Launching their own world record “selfie” are: (left-right): Tony Hallwood, Leeds Bradford Airport aviation development and marketing director, Lucy Jayne Pattinson, British Airways’ customer service agent and Jim Keegan, British Airways’ regional customer service manager UK regions & Ireland.

In the cockpit: Captain Spencer Tavares and first officer Richard O’Brien launch the Sherlock ”selfie” world record attempt with Tony Hallwood, Leeds Bradford Airport aviation development and marketing director on the flight deck of the Leeds Bradford-London aircraft. 

Scott Grix and Chris Baily from the Huddersfield Giants looking for clues.


The Yorkshire Brain Research Centre is part of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals Charitable Foundation, charity number 1075308.

For information about the Yorkshire Brain Research Centre go to 

The Sherlock World Record will raise funds for a £2m research centre for Epilepsy, MS, Parkinsons and Dementia. Please contact Appeal Director, Clair Chadwick, for more information on 07531948014 or email

Artists in Attendance at the World Record Attempt

Neil Grainger is an Actor and Comedian, starring in such programmes as Eastenders, Judge John Deed, Crossroads and most recently BBC2 sitcom Hebburn in which he played deluded pub singer Gervaise alongside Vic Reeves and Gina Mckee. Born and bred in North Yorkshire, Neil is a proud northerner and thrilled to be presenting the Sherlock World Record attempt for such a great cause.

Re-Wired- Re-wired is an Indie Rock band from Scotland. Their energetic and passionate live performances really make them stand out from the crowd and put on an unforgettable show to their fans. The honesty in their lyrics tied in with punchy guitar riffs complement front man Andrew Nagle’s voice perfectly and are sure to have you on your feet at any gig in which you see them at.

Tom Donaldson Badger-Tom is a young but extremely talented singer and entertainer. He draws his influences from classical and swing music and has a huge passion for musical theatre. Tom loves to be on stage and the confidence he exhumes whilst performing means there is an instant connection between him and his audience.

Max-Massimo Restaino is an amazingly talented 17-year-old singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist. You only need to see him once before you can’t help but appreciate his natural talent and hum his songs for the rest of the week. Max is in the process of releasing his debut EP so be sure to follow him at-www.maxmusic.co.uk @maxmusiccouk

Lazuli- Who is Lazuli? Lazuli is a cool and fresh singer from the North of England. Lazuli’s voice instantly cuts through to the fore front and will always leave you wanting to hear more. Lazuli is in the process of writing a whole bunch of new material and really drawing in on who she is artistically. Be sure to find out who Lazuli is at www.whoislazuli.com, www.facebook.com/lalalazuli

Laura Erby-Laura is a 20-year-old singer from Bradford. Laura draws a lot of her inspiration from Soul and RnB music. With her stunning debut EP in the pipeline be sure to follow her journey through Facebook and twitter for all the information.
www.lauraerby.co.uk. www.facebook.com/laura.erby.music, @lerby1234

Area 40 Five experienced musicians performing original yet contemporary songs. An eclectic mix of style and content from the several singer songwriters within the band. Songs that indulge vocal harmony with dueling electric violin and lead guitar solos. A melting pot of varied influences and sheer enjoyment of music. Debut CD ‘One Small Step’ released in 2013 and recent Tour De France single ‘Road Trip’ available via www.area40.co.uk and itunes. The band name refers to an area of the brain – Brodmann area40 – an area associated with language and music.

Attendees at the Sherlock World Record are in for a real treat when The Flanagan Collective and Harts horn – Hook Productions in association with York Theatre Royal, performs a taster preview of their new production of Sherlock Holmes ‘A Working Hypothesis’ on the big stage.


My name is .............

Copyright Ella Bernhardt
My name is P.D. Viner and I am a crime writer – really, you can Google me.  No, I mean it – please do Google me.  I became a crime writer on October 8th, 2012 when my agent called me at 7pm to say he had just agreed a two-book deal.  Let us just say I was excited (my wife and I were out and had a babysitter for the night, which was already a pretty exciting event), but not so much that I didn’t notice that the deal was for two books.  Two!  ‘When will I need to have finished the second book?’  I asked.  ‘You’ll probably get a year – next October.’  Next October.  ‘Okay, no problem.’  I told him.  No problem.  What a fool I was.
It had taken three years to write The Last Winter of Dani Lancing – but that was part-time while I had a real job and I had a two-year-old to look after a couple of days a week.  Surely, as a full-time writer with a daughter now at school, I could write a book in a year.  Twelve months.  Twelve whole juicy months. Easy.  But… the thing is that there weren’t twelve months.  Here is what happens.

A week after the phone call I met with my editor.  I knew from my agent that they loved the book but didn’t like the title.  We had sold it to them when it was called A Half-Remembered Death.  My agent had taken it on when it was called A ferocious love and, for most of the three years I was writing it, the title was Three Drops of Blood.  Over lunch my editor outlined a few areas she would like me to work on with the novel (I was fine with that), we talked about the title and about tweaking my name.  ‘Initials are hot’, she told me, and ‘P.D. Viner has that ring about it’ (what the D stands for is a story for another day).  Then she outlined the timetable for getting re-writes done, her notes on those, then having the copy editor read it and give notes and finally getting a manuscript to publication.  The book would be ready in March/April.  She smiled.  I counted on my fingers – that left 6 months for the second book.  Then she talked about writing blog posts, upping my Twitter profile (you can follow me @philviner) and attending the Theakston Crime Festival in Harrogate.  Plus there would be meetings here and there and parties.  ‘Oh.’  I said.  Inside I was thinking about how it looked like I only had five months at most to write the second book.  But then I opened my mouth and said something incredibly stupid.  ‘I did all this research for the first book, and I have these two stories in my head.  The case that makes Tom Bevan’s career and allows him to set up his Serious Crimes Unit and the story that Patty Lancing breaks to make her crime journalist career.  The Sad Man and The Ugly Man.  I COULD WRITE THEM AS NOVELLAS AND THEY COULD BE GIVEN AWAY FREE.’  I meant that they would be written after I completed book two, but my editor loved the idea.  ‘Can you write them now?’ she asked.  NOW?  Now, as a marketing idea it is good (and they are both fabulous reads and available free from all good eBook stockists), but as a pressure on me during my twelve months (already down to five) – it was crazy.  I came out of that meeting with a list of areas in my book to look at, a new title to come up with, a tweak of my name to consider and I was writing two novellas and a second novel.  I realised we had not even discussed the second novel.  Could I do it all?  I wasn’t sure I could.  Maybe the jump from part-time writer to full-time was too much.  With the first book there was no expectation, only hope and very supportive people around me.  I had put myself on a fantastic two-year writing course that meant I had people who would read my book chapter-by-chapter and give me feedback.  But that support was gone.  I was alone – or at least that was how it felt.

The rewrites on the newly titled The Last Winter of Dani Lancing (and now I cannot think of it as anything other than this, as I love the title) were fun to do and I really enjoyed working with an editor.  The copy editor was brilliant at getting me to tighten the time line (it is a very complex structure over twenty-plus years) and I was writing the back-story novellas as I put the finishing touches to the book.  The novellas, in part because I had been plotting them over the last three years, came very easily – though at 30,000 words each, they became a lot more substantial than I had originally conceived them.  But The Last Winter of Dani Lancing was put to bed and both the novellas were written by the end of May 2013 (I also directed the audiobook version of Dani Lancing, but that is also another story; the story of my Kurtz-like insanity in the jungle).  I had five months left.  Gulp!

On the positive side, I also had lots of ideas and from (almost) the start I had conceived of this being a trilogy; the mystery of Dani Lancing and how her death affects those who loved her would twist and turn over three books and four novellas.  Each one was planned so that they could be read as stand-alone works, but if you read them all you will get more from each one.  I also had seeded into many of the elements and characters I would develop in books two and three.  I also had a title – book two would be Summer of Ghosts.  I wanted it to be my Godfather II or Return of the Jedi.  I did not want Exorcist II.  No pressure then.

So I began to write in earnest, surrounded by a stack of notebooks that I had been jotting ideas in for months.  (At this point I would like to point out that I only use Moleskine notebooks.  I am including this fact, as I want Moleskine to send me a lifetime supply of notebooks, I want to be the face of Moleskine.  Because I’m worth it.)  So I began writing just as the first reviews started coming in for TLWODL and I really began to start feeling the pressure… feeling that the second novel is more important than the first.  Debuts can make a flash.  They can even take over the world – I am thinking of Before I Go To Sleep – but then how difficult is that to follow up?  Crime fiction is not like literary fiction; there is the expectation that a new book from Peter James or Sophie Hannah (or P.D. Viner) will appear every year.  With each book you build a relationship with your readership and forge your career.  For every mega debut there are a hundred crime writers out there who are building a universe for their creations and body of work.  Val McDermid and Ian Rankin have both said recently that they didn’t start selling in large numbers until books five or six, but by that time they had a back catalogue that could fly off the shelves, and had found their voices and characters.  Personally I think there is nothing better than discovering a writer and then finding they have other books you can buy, borrow, rent or steal – so you can stay in their world a little longer.  That is reading bliss.  But it is also writing pressure.
Then there is your own publicity.  I was being called 'a master of mystery' (I’m sure that was a marketing person) and I was being compared to ADD FAMOUS NAME HERE.  I also imagined people actually paying money for my books and expecting them to be good….  

Agh!  I have to be good as well.  When you’re writing your first book in the anonymity of a shed or a coffee-shop (my office of choice), I don’t think the audience enter into your mind as anything more than a formless lump.  But with book two looming I became more and more concerned that the book wouldn’t be twisty enough, wouldn’t be exciting enough wouldn’t be enough.  Plus, some writers I love, like Sophie Hannah, Stav Sherez, and Mark Billingham, were saying fantastic things about TLWODL.  My hat wouldn’t fit.  There are many stories of bands that spend months and even years trying to perfect a follow-up to a hit album.  There are bands that have split up over the second tricky album.  And there are writers who have never followed up a big hit novel (To Kill a Mockingbird II anyone?).  In the August of 2013 I was in danger of imploding.  As the launch of Dani Lancing approached (September 12 2013), I was second-guessing reviews (oh my lord I had to stop reading my GoodReads reviews, they are too much a rollercoaster of highs and lows) and erasing most of what I had written.  I could have gone up like a rocket at any moment.  So what happened?

Research.  I spent time with the Sussex police – who were fantastic.  In August 2013, I spent a Saturday night with the 999 response team under the guidance of Andy Kille (real name) and then another Saturday cruising the mean streets of Brighton.  I got to see arrests, macings, drug tests, domestic violence and the best and worst of humanity.  It was deeply affecting.  After that I spent time with CID teams, in briefings and with officers and their case-load.  I got to talk drugs gangs and psychonauts.  It grounded my writing in real experiences and then I let my imagination loose from there.  I also found that my agent and editor were fantastic resources, as were other crime writers.  Some of those figures I had admired so much, made me feel really welcome in their ranks.  Crime writers are incredibly generous, and that sense of joining a profession made it easier to write.  And of course a deadline helps to galvanise the spirit.
Did I get the second novel in for October?  No.  But by the time the contract was done in 2012 I had until November 30th 2013.  Did I get it in by then?  No.  Actually I handed Summer of Ghosts to my editor in the first week of January 2014.  What did I think?  I could not be more pleased with it.  I think it is my French Connection II.  But, of course, I am still a little scared.  When I handed it in, no one had read a word of it.  Even now only about ten people have read it (the response of those few has been pretty encouraging).  Proofs went out last week and soon I will feel the groundswell of opinion.  But you know what?  I can’t sit and wait with crossed fingers to hear what people think.  I have a deadline.  Book three is knocking at the door.  It is titled The Fall of Hope (at least today it is), and I have three notebooks (Moleskine) full of ideas.  I think that what I have learned from my tricky second novel is that, if I am going to create this universe of the Sad Man and the troubled Lancing family, and then I have to totally trust my own spider senses to mould and create their world.  Feedback and reviews are great, but it is me at the end of the day (okay, with some pushing and snipping from my editor) who makes the choices. So, roll on August 14th 2014 and the release of my second tricky novel. And then roll on Autumn 2015… and pretty much that’s the road map.
More information about P D Viner and his work can be found on his website.  You can also follow him on Twitter @philviner and on Facebook.

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Farewell Jeremiah Healy

The crime / mystery / thriller community is in shock at the tragic news of the passing of crime writer Jeremiah Healy.

Though perhaps not as well known in Europe as he was in his native America, he was a firm fixture of the community, and we’d all meet up with him at conventions and conferences such as Bouchercon, Thrillerfest and the many other events that celebrate the joy that is writing and reading - an effort to make sense of the reality that we find ourselves in.

We first heard the tragic news on Friday via writer Reed Farrell Coleman

“I am very saddened to learn of the suicide of my colleague Jerry Healy. Jerry was what we in my family would call a real character. He had his foibles and eccentricities, as do we all--writers more than most--but he was a good man, a caring man. It's people like Jerry who make being part of the mystery writing community a special thing. It's safe to say, there won't be another like him.

Jeff Pierce at The Rap Sheet posted further news -

I’ve had my head down over the last couple of days, trying to finish work on my latest column for Kirkus Reviews. Which may explain why I missed the tragic news that Jeremiah Healy--author of the Boston-based John Francis Cuddy private-eye series--committed suicide yesterday in Pompano Beach, Florida. He was only 66 years old. A post in Bill Crider’s blog says that “depression exacerbated by alcohol” contributed to Healy’s action.

Born in New Jersey in 1948, Healy was a graduate of Rutgers College and Harvard Law School, and had been a professor at the New England School of Law for 18 years. He had served as the chair for the Shamus Awards, president of the Private Eye Writers of America, and president of the International Association of Crime Writers. During his writing career, he turned out at least 18 novels and dozens of short stories. His second Cuddy outing, The Staked Goat (1986), won the Shamus. Under the pseudonym Terry Devane, he also penned novels about Boston lawyer 
Mairead O’Clare.

I had the chance to 
interview Healy for January Magazine back in 2000, but saw him at more than one Bouchercon over the years. The last time, I believe, was during the 2011 convention in St. Louis. He always struck me as a smart guy, and very much a fighter. He’d already survived a bout with prostate cancer.

His wife, author Sandra Balzo, sent out 
the following message

My heart breaks to send you all this news, especially by email. As you may know, Jerry has battled chronic severe depression for years, mostly controlled by medication, but exacerbated by alcohol. Last night he took his own life. Jerry was the smartest, kindest man I’ve ever met, and I thought we’d continue to grow old together. His demons had other plans. Please keep Jerry in your heart, as you all were in his.

Jeff has updated his article and it can be read here

Jeff also interviewed Jerry several years earlier for January Magazine in which he wrote in his introduction -

"To ignore Healy's contributions to contemporary detective fiction seems ludicrous. Sure, he may not enjoy the fame of Robert B. Parker or write with the same captivating grittiness as yet another Bostonian, Dennis Lehane, but, to quote the Chicago Sun-Times, Healy has created "one of today's best American mystery series." Jeff Pierce

Read the full Interview here

I first met Jerry Healy at my first Bouchercon held in 2003 in Las Vegas Nevada, and wrote at the time –

"After the registration process I grabbed my goody bag and headed off to the writing seminar. The morning session was led by the Thriller Supremo Gayle Lynds. She gave an informal presentation focusing on the elements that make a good story. There was particular focus towards thrillers, which was natural considering that she co-wrote ‘The Altman Code’, The Paris Option’ and ‘The Hades Factor’ with Robert Ludlum as well as her own work ‘Masquerade’, ‘Mosiac’ and ‘Mesmorized’. Her new book ‘The Coil’ is due for release in April 2004 while ‘Masquerade’ is being relaunced in February. The seminar concluded with a Q & A session that allowed the assembled to ask Gayle questions about their own work, and she put me right on several points when it came to villains.

I thanked Gayle and had a quick lunch in one of the Riviera’s restaurants as en route I had the pleasure of meeting with Jeff and Beth Tindall of CincinnatiMedia.com, an author website development firm who have Karin Slaughter and Laura Lippman to name just two of their Clients. Then I had the delight to meet many of the Rec.arts.Mystery newsgroup that I belong to including Sarah Weinman, Mary, Annie, Judi, Arlene, Mark and many, many others appeared including Beth and Jeff Tindall.

After lunch the second part of the seminar was presented by Jeremiah Healy, who is one of Bouchercon’s guests of honour in Toronto 2004. Jerry Healy has written 17 novels (of which 14 have had Shamus nominations) and over 60 short stories. He writes the renowned Francis Cuddy PI series as well a series of legal thrillers under his pseudonym ‘Terry Devane’. His was formerly a professor of law and is currently the president of the international association of crime writers, so I was somewhat nervous in taking his tutorial class, but I needn’t have been, as it was extremely useful with handouts and real practical advice for writers both published and unpublished. I was heartened to see many published writers attending both Jerry and Gayle’s seminars. At the beginning I thought Professor Healy (who has a military background) was going to shout ‘Drop and give me two thousand words!’ but he didn’t, instead he shared his insights generously and his enthusiasm for writing echoed around the room."

Read the full Report from the Shot archive here

Mike Stotter, Ayo Onatade and I often would bump into Jerry on our US trips to Bouchercon, PWA Shamus Awards and Thrillerfest, where he would greet us warmly, and make us always welcome.

I will leave the last words to S J Rozan who sums up the loss of Jerry Healy in concise and moving terms
We have added a few photos of Jerry who for me remains the man in the red shirt, a great writer, a larger than life personality, who just by his presence made you feel welcome in the community that is crime, mystery and thrillers.

Our thoughts go to Sandra Balzo and his family and close friends.

More information about the work of Jerry Healy can be found here

Thursday, 14 August 2014

Broadchurch Beacon Blogger Tour - How I brought Broadchurch to your bookshelf

I have loved British crime dramas for as long as I have been allowed to watch post-watershed television. As a young teenager I bonded with my dad over a shared love of Taggart, Wexford, Prime Suspect and Cracker (my dad’s one of those annoying people who can spot the killer the second they appear on screen). These days, I love Silent Witness, Scott and Bailey and The Line of Duty. My favourite television detective of all time is the enigmatic, wonderfully arsey genius DCI Peter Boyd from the Cold Cases unit. I don’t think I will ever get over Waking The Dead being cancelled.

In April 2013, I settled down to watch a new ITV show. My hopes were high for Broadchurch; for a start, it starred David Tennant and Olivia Colman, two actors whose presence I use as a hallmark. From the first shot, the camera panning slowly down the empty seaside high street at night, I was hooked. Broadchurch had reeled me in, like it did so many others. Of course, at the time I had no idea that it would have any impact upon me other than as a viewer, but after the second ad break my sister sent me a text. ‘Are you watching ITV? This show feels like one of your books.’

She was right, there were obvious similarities; like my own books, Broadchurch was big on atmosphere, character and sense of place. Those luminous amber cliffs watch over everything, almost a character in their own right. a similar a sense that this story could only happen here is fundamental to my own books. I write psychological thrillers rather than detective novels, and although Broadchurch is technically a police procedural, it is very strongly rooted in character.

It would be months before I got the email from my agent saying that the Little, Brown publishing group were looking for an author to turn Broadchurch into a novel but when I did, that text from my sister chimed in my mind. I already had a fan’s keen sense of possessiveness; now I felt very strongly that this project was mine. But it wasn’t going to be that easy; I had to ‘audition’ for the role, turning the first act of the drama (the fifteen minutes before the first ad break, ending on the heart-breaking scene where Beth Latimer finds her eleven-year-old son’s body on the beach) into a novel. I hadn’t wanted anything so badly since I was angling for my first book deal. When I got the call to tell me I had been chosen, I actually sang with happiness.

I wrote the book with a strange mix of liberty and pressure. Liberty, because as someone else had already laid the plot for me, and provided me with reams of flawless dialogue, I was free to indulge my favourite aspects of writing; getting the language and the characterisation spot-on. Pressure, because I knew that there was an army of fans out there who would not forgive a single slip-up. Broadchurch geeks (‘Broadies’, as some of them refer to themselves) love with depth as well as breadth. The internet is awash with conspiracy theories, fan sites, even fan fiction (some of which makes Fifty Shades of Grey look like a Ladybird book, but we won’t go into that here). Whilst this hunger for all things Broadchurch was occasionally intimidating, I had to ignore it. My responsibility isn’t to the fans, or the actors, it isn’t even to the series creator Chris Chibnall. It’s to make sure the novel makes sense and is compelling even for readers who (by some miracle) haven’t seen the TV show. A friend of mine –a big hairy bloke, who’d never seen a single episode of Broadchurch – read an early draft and cried his eyes out twice. I have never been so delighted to see a grown man cry. 

More information about Erin Kelly and her books can be found on her website. She can also be found on Facebook and you can follow her on Twitter @mserinkelly. 

You can buy Broadchurch from Amazon.co.uk

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Chelsea Cain's One Kick

Today's guest post is by bestselling author Chelsea Cain. Best known for her Gretchen Lowell and Archie Sheridan series, One Kick is the start of a new series featuring Kick a marksman, lock picker, escape artist and bomb maker.
When my first thriller, Heartsick, became a bestseller everyone wanted to know when I was going to write a "real" book.  The question puzzled me.  I thought I had written a book.  But it wasn't a book-book, I guess.  So everyone assumed that I had a book-book up my sleeve, some opus, my stab at the so-called Great American Novel.  They all looked so disappointed when I had to explain that all I had up my sleeves were more thrillers.   "But what do you really want to write?" they'd ask helpfully, like I hadn't properly considered the question.  So I looked deep down into my soul and really searched for anything I might really really really want to write.  You know what I saw there?  More thrillers.  (What a relief since I, as a thriller writer, was in a unique position to publish thrillers.)  I decided right then that I'd write multiple series.  I'd set them all in Portland, Oregon.  I would be a thriller series queen.  It was settled.  There was one small delay:  I couldn't think of anything else to write about.  Or more specifically anyone to write about. 

Writing a series means spending a lot of time with a character.  It's like a marriage.  Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's work, but if there's not a connection at the center of the relationship it's not going to last.  I was looking for love in all the wrong places and waking up the next morning alone and only halfway through a chapter.  Until I met Kick.  She sprang into my imagination nearly fully formed.  A missing child case that had been big news when I was a kid was reopened and that cold case came together with the stories of Elizabeth Smart and Jaycee Dugard (two missing girls thought dead and later rescued).  I had been riveted by the Smart and Dugard cases.  I am riveted by most crime stories - sometimes when I'm bored I Google "crime stories" just to see what deviant misadventures people have been up to in the last few hours - Americans do terrible things to one another. 

 When I was a kid we drank milk out of cartons with missing kids on them, so I am a particular sucker for those stories.  I usually solve the crime before I've finished the headline (step-father, drainage ditch).  Happy endings are rare.  By the time the kids are on the news or a milk carton the hour glass has run dry.  So when a kid reappears months or even years later, it's a resurrection.  When the Salt Lake City police found Elizabeth Smart nine months after her abduction, she was our collective little sister.  I cried.  I read everything I could get my hands on from celebrity magazine coverage to court transcripts.  Why?  It's another form of exploitation, isn't it?  I cringed at so much of what I read, but I couldn't look away.  I wanted to know more.  I am a series lover.  I always want the story to continue.  I want to know what happens next.  So I came up with a fantasy version of a girl who is abducted and survives, a young woman who struggles with her demons and her family, but also has made herself a skilled escape artist and a master at self defense, someone who uses her power to rescue others.  She is every girl who had been abducted and survived, and she is none of them.  When I look deep down into my soul for what I want to write about, my "real" book, my book-book, she is what looks back at me.

More information about Chelsea Cain and her work can be found on her website.  You can also follow her on Twitter @ChelseaCain and on Facebook.

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

John Lawton and Zoe Sharp book signing - 23 August 2014

Scarthin Books 



Book Signing


John Lawton

 & Zoe Sharp

The man who showed Foyle

how it’s done, and the girl who can kick Jack Reacher’s a**


John Lawton’s Then We Take Berlin

new in paperback


Saturday 23rd August


2:00pm – 5:00pm (time tbc)


The Cafe will be open as usual


For more information 01629-823272


Scarthin Books of Cromford, Derbyshire