Returning to a life of crime

Here I want to share with you some of my thoughts on the new crime series I have recently started writing. Although keen to branch out into new genres the feedback on my Gamekeeper Turned Poacher series has proven too good for me not to want to return to this area.

But that’s not to say the familiarity has made things easy. One of the things many people enjoyed about the original books is that they are also written from the perspective of the murderer. I have an old blog where I talk about the enjoyment I got from writing as Brandt, that you may wish to look up if you haven’t already seen it. The fashion with crime series is to name them after the lead detective but, much as DCI Stella Johnson is a key character, the first book is as much about Brandt as it is her.

For my new series, and to ensure it just doesn’t seem like a rehash of the original series, like most sequels in the movie industry unfortunately are, I wanted a different direction. Therefore, I am going the more traditional route of focusing it solely from the perspective of the detective in this one. She is also female but is very different from Johnson, in that the book starts with her very first day in CID. This was always my intention and would allow us to see her evolve, not just in the first book, but throughout the series; her series.

The question then was how to make it instantly grab the reader like, if you’ll allow me to be immodest for a moment, One Step Ahead does? The truth is, anything I thought of that would be equally explosive would, again, just be a rehash of the old book. The only way, and to avoid it being dull by comparison, was to make the start character driven in contrast to where the original is initially all about the plot.

Similarly I had to address the issue of relationships. I think it’s fair to say that everyone liked watching the bond evolve between Johnson and McNeil, and many people cite their dialogue as their favourite elements in the book. I knew that I had to have someone very different for DC Ruby Knight in my new novel and I’m pleased with the result.

Most of all the key difference was that Gamekeeper Turned Poacher had a finite life span. You’ll understand what I mean if you’ve read the series. I very much enjoy Lee Child’s Jack Reacher books and wanted to create a character in Ruby Knight where the possibilities for future stories were endless. Moreover, my intention is to have it, just like with Child’s work, that you don’t necessarily have to start from the beginning. Eschewing my love of a cliff-hanger each book in the series will work as a stand-alone novel.

So, there you are, a flavour of what’s to come. I hope that, in my honesty about the thought process that has gone into it, I have still whetted your appetite, whilst assuring you that it isn’t simply more of the same.

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