A Geraldine Steel Top Ten, Celebrating Ten Geraldine Steels……

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TEN NOVELS SET IN YORKSHIRE THAT GERALDINE HAS READ

The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
 To Catch A Rabbit- Helen Cadbury 
A Kestrel for a Knave – Barry Hines 
Billy Liar – Keith Waterhouse 
Jane Eyre- Charlotte Bronte 
Gallows View – Peter Robinson 
The Tenant of Wildfell Hall – Anne Bronte 
Nicholas Nickleby- Dickens 
Under World- Reginald Hill 
The Amateur Historian Julian Cole

Detective Geraldine Steel is back in Class Murder – her tenth case!

With so many potential victims to choose from, there would be many deaths. He was spoiled for choice, really, but he was determined to take his time and select his targets carefully. Only by controlling his feelings could he maintain his success. He smiled to himself. If he was clever, he would never have to stop. And he was clever. He was very clever. Far too clever to be caught.

When two people are murdered, their only connection lies buried in the past. As police search for the elusive killer, another body is discovered. Pursuing her first investigation in York, and reunited with her former sergeant Ian Peterson, Geraldine Steel struggles to solve the baffling case. How can she expose the killer, and rescue her shattered reputation, when all the witnesses are being murdered?

 

 

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#blogtour Lie In Wait – GJ Minett

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Today as part of the blog tour for his latest release, Lie In Wait, author G J Minett talks to LifeOfCri.me about the unexpected amount of extra work that comes with being a newly published author, while we readers are all sitting at home expecting them to be hard at work on their next book…

 

 

What They Never Told Me

OK. So this is how I saw it at the time. Please don’t snigger at the simplistic way in which I viewed things back then because I can guarantee that most of those authors you follow religiously and who now appear like demi-gods on the literary stage will have been no different when they first started. At least, I hope it’s not just me.

So you finally get your agent and, in due course, your first deal with a publisher – in my case, a two-book deal. All downhill from here on in, isn’t it? The publishers welcome you with open arms, promise to take care of everything from now on. You just go away and get on with writing the next one and don’t worry about a thing. Leave it all to us. 

In your dreams.

I am at present 57,000 words into book 3, which probably equates to two-thirds of the way through. I have another 6 weeks to finish the first draft which, a few years ago, would have been a stroll in the park. Not even 1000 words a day. Piece of cake. But . . . what they didn’t tell me is that finding time to write the next book is not the simple matter of choice that it was before I got a publishing deal. New writing time has to fight its corner against serious incursions from a number of other areas which are also very important and fall within the author’s remit. In case you’re not aware of these competing demands, let me list some of them for you – and please be aware that this is far from a comprehensive list.

  • Social media. When I had my first meeting with Bonnier Zaffre my editor asked me what I was like with social media and I gave him my best smug expression and announced in true authorly fashion oh, I don’t do that sort of thing. His response was you do now. I spend something in the region of two hours a day, creating my own tweets and posts, re-tweeting others, sending direct messages, deciding which people to follow, thanking others for kind comments or RTs and, inevitably, watching that panda clutching the zookeeper’s leg.
  • Website. Didn’t have one. Do now. And it needs to change every so often or no one will come and look at it. And it doesn’t change itself.
  • Blogs. I’d heard of them but wasn’t sure what purpose they served. Now I’ve discovered a whole world out there of bloggers who are prepared to include you and your book and anything you want to say about it for no better reason than that they love what they do. But they have to be fed.
  • Reviewers. In my naïve way, I assumed you write your book and wait to see what the reviewers in the national press think of it. The answer is they don’t – or at least they haven’t so far. You’re very fortunate if they even read it. But there’s a community of reviewers out there who not only read as many as 250 books a year – I thought I was doing well with 70 to 80 – but also write wonderful reviews which play a significant role in getting your name and your book out there. They need to be reminded how much they’re appreciated.
  • Personal appearances. Not complaining for one moment. I love these and having the chance to talk about your book with people who’ve been good enough to buy it and invite you along is one of the real joys of being an author. Just saying . . . if you go to Liverpool to meet your readers, it’s probably a couple of days out of your writing time.
  • Editing. You don’t just write your book once. You do it about half-a-dozen times with rewrites that can take weeks. Then you read it again for line edits and final edits and by the time everyone agrees it’s as good as it’s going to be, you’re starting to have doubts about whether it’s as good as you once thought
  • Life. Whether it’s work or bringing up young children or working at your own relationship, life has a way of tapping you on the shoulder and reminding you that it’s there, waiting not always very patiently for you to get your priorities sorted out.

As I said, it’s not a comprehensive list – I haven’t for instance mentioned what it’s like to sit down and try to be creative and sparkling after you’ve just watched Wolves get beaten at home by Birmingham – but it should give you an idea of the many different directions from which distractions descend upon any author trying to meet a deadline.

Just as well we love what we do.

 


A man is dead. A woman is missing. And the police have already found their prime suspect…  

Owen Hall drives into a petrol station to let his passenger use the facilities. She never comes back – and what’s more, it seems she never even made it inside.

When Owen raises a fuss, the police are called – and soon identify Owen himself as a possible culprit – not least because they already have him in the frame for another more sinister crime.

Owen’s always been a little different, and before long others in the community are baying for his blood. But this is a case where nothing is as it seems – least of all Owen Hall…

The Thrillers That Inspired ‘Lies’ by T M Logan #blogtour

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tm-loganThrillers that inspired LIES

Who can say where stories come from? For me, they start with a tiny core, a single idea. Maybe a character or a single situation, a point of crisis or a relationship I want to know more about. Wrap a few more ideas around the core, then a few more, check its pulse to make sure it’s starting to live and breathe. Then sit down and start writing.

The core idea of LIES came to me while we were driving to Brittany for our summer holiday. I was supposed to be navigating but got so caught up with the idea – and scribbling it down in my notebook before it disappeared – that we got lost. We had to go on a bit of a magical mystery tour to pick up our route again, but the story of LIES was already starting to live and breathe (in my head, at least).

Like everyone else, though, I’ve been inspired and influenced over the years by thrillers that I’ve loved and the people who have written them. My favourite authors include Michael Connolly, Harlan Coben, Linwood Barclay, Tana French, Lee Child, Sophie Hannah, Bernard Cornwell, Peter Swanson, Stephen King, Gillian Flynn and Ken Follett. I’ve missed lots out, but that might give you an idea of the kind of stories that I love to read – and write.

In no particular order, here are a few of the stories that inspired LIES:

I remember being bowled over by Harlan Coben’s Tell No One. It was the first time that I’d read one of his thrillers and it featured his trademark combination of a cracking story, great dialogue, compelling bad guys and a protagonist you’re rooting for from page one. Coben is also adept at bringing in technology and making it a turning point in his story, as when the hero sees an image of his wife – supposedly dead for eight years – on his computer screen.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn was one of many great recommendations from my wife, Sally. I loved this book. The slow unravelling of the truth about Amy Dunne takes the story in ways you can’t predict. Is she alive or dead? Is her husband involved in her disappearance? Is the truth simply what we believe it to be? The blurring of fact and fiction, the creation of different versions of the truth, feature strongly in LIES.

I have lots of favourites by Stephen King but Misery is at the top. It’s so simple, basically two characters in a house for 95 per cent of the story, and yet he manages to make it utterly gripping and terrifying. Stephen King is the master at that sense of ‘creeping doom’, at building the tension slowly, as Paul Sheldon comes to realise that there is something very, very wrong with the situation in which he finds himself.

A Simple Plan by Scott Smith grabbed hold of me in such a way that it became like an addiction. A real high concept premise – three guys find a bag full of money in the woods – but so many twists and turns that it was impossible to put down. At its heart it’s about the terrible things people will do in pursuit of what they think is right, and the crimes they will justify on the way.

Last but definitely not least (and not a book, either), I tip my hat to Les Diaboliques, a French film about betrayal, obsession, and murder. Check it out if you ever get the chance. It has a killer twist – when it was shown in cinemas, a title screen appeared at the end of the movie asking the audience not to reveal it to others, so they wouldn’t spoil the surprise. I hope the twist at the end of LIES has a similar impact!

What are your favourite thrillers? Let me know @TMLoganAuthor

lies

 

WHAT IF YOUR WHOLE LIFE WAS BASED ON LIES? 

When Joe Lynch stumbles across his wife driving into a hotel car park while she’s supposed to be at work, he’s intrigued enough to follow her in.

And when he witnesses her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, he knows he ought to intervene.

But just as the confrontation between the two men turns violent, and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe’s young son has an asthma attack – and Joe must flee in order to help him.

When he returns, desperate to make sure Ben is OK, Joe is horrified to find that Ben has disappeared.

And that’s when Joe receives the first message . . .

From helping fight Crime, To helping write crime

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When it comes to authenticity in a novel, it’s all down to research, research, research and at times some expert advice.  Not everyone knows where to look, so today former DCI Stuart Gibbon, is talking to lifeofcri.me about his transition from writing factual police reports into helping write fictional police procedurals.

FROM HELPING FIGHT CRIME TO HELPING WRITE CRIME

GIB1My name is Stuart Gibbon and I’m a former police DCI turned Writing Consultant.

My story began in the early 1980’s when I travelled from my native north-east of England down to London at the ripe old age of 16 to join the Metropolitan Police as a cadet. A couple of years later I passed out (fortunately not literally) from the police training college at Hendon as a fully-fledged Police Constable. For the next 18 years I worked in uniform and CID on the streets of north-west London.

In 2000 I transferred to the East Midlands where my police career continued with promotion through the ranks to Detective Chief Inspector (DCI). As a large part of my police career was spent as a Detective I was able to gather lots of experience in crime investigation and detection. As a Senior Detective I was in charge of Murder and other serious crime cases.

On retiring from the police service in 2012 I still wanted to help people and had always maintained an interest in reading books. I decided to set up GIB Consultancy to offer advice to writers to ensure that their work is not only procedurally accurate but also authentic. I contacted the Crime Writers’ Association and circulated my details where possible. Since then I have been working with a number of writers across a diverse range of topics from standard police procedure, missing persons and Coroner practices to forensic evidence, kidnapping and Murder investigation.

My first written acknowledgement arrived courtesy of Tammy Cohen as a result of my advice for her novel Dying For Christmas published in 2014. I have recently advised C.L. Taylor on her massive hit The Missing and I’m currently working with her on her fourth psychological thriller which is due out next year. Although the majority of requests for advice are from crime writers, I have helped writers of other genres who may wish to include something police-related in their story.

In addition to the advisory service I also talk with Writing Groups and at festivals/conferences on the subject of ‘Murder Investigation’ and the challenges facing a Senior Detective in charge of such cases. The talk/workshop is designed to give writers ideas for their work and to ensure that any procedures are realistic.

My new ‘career’ is every bit as challenging and rewarding as my previous one. It’s great to be able to play a part in helping to produce something which is going to be enjoyed by so many people.

I have a website at http://www.gibconsultancy.co.uk and would welcome any writers who would like any advice or just the odd question or two answering to contact me as I am sure I would be able to help.

The GIB Consultancy

Stuart Gibbon
GIB Consultancy

Generating Geraldine – Leigh Russell Talks About the Inspiration For Murder Ring

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As part of the blog tour for the latest Geraldine Steel novel ‘Murder Ring’ Leigh Russell talks to LifeOfCri.me about where some of her inspiration came from.

 

 

 

 

My inspiration for Murder Ring

Inspiration comes from all sorts of places, in various guises. Agatha Christie famously said that the best time for planning a book is while you’re doing the dishes. Even though nowadays most of us have dishwashers, we all know what she meant. I can be sitting at home, or out and about, when an idea occurs to me and off I go. Ideas can come from anywhere. It might be a person I’ve noticed who sparks off a story, or an atmosphere in a strange place, or just a large suitcase, large enough to hide a body…

The inspiration for Murder Ring came about in a slightly unusual way for me, more calculated than in my other books. Usually I’m inspired to write about something that interests me, but this time, ironically, my starting point was  a topic that didn’t interest me at all. In the fourth book of the series, Geraldine Steel moved to London. By the time I started to think about Murder Ring, the eighth in the series, I decided I couldn’t continue setting a detective in North London in the present day without ever mentioning guns. The problem was that not only did I know nothing about guns, they aren’t a topic that inspires me at all. Nevertheless, in the interests of authenticity, I decided to bite the bullet, if you’ll excuse the pun. So tackling the issue of gun crime was a conscious choice, rather than an idea that inspired me.

One of my advisors is a police ballistics expert, but his information was not what interested me the most once I began to look into the subject.  My research led me in a different direction, looking into the kind of people who were likely to be in possession of guns in London. Most of them are not criminal masterminds, but dysfunctional people. Older teenagers in gangs frequently give their firearms to young siblings to look after in order to avoid detection, knowing the children are too young to be prosecuted if found in possession of a gun. It was in the news recently that children as young as ten were among fifteen hundred children held over alleged firearm offences in the UK in the three years to January 2016. Such statistics are worrying, and are only likely to worsen as guns are so readily available.

The more I looked into the subject, the more I realised that while guns themselves don’t interest to me, what they represent fascinates me as a writer of crime fiction. People often use self-defence as an excuse for owning guns, but guns are essentially a means of exerting power. And for a crime writer, villains seeking to control or eliminate their victims is always interesting. So although guns in themselves are merely mechanical instruments of death, introducing them into Murder Ring opened up new possibilities for creating villains. Because what makes guns frightening is not the weapons themselves, but the people who use them.

 

Rob Sinclair talks Thrillers: Books vs Big Screen

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As part of his mini blog tour for Rise Of The Enemy, author Rob Sinclair talks to LifeOfCri.me about books and the big screen.

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Thrillers: Film versus books

I’m a huge thriller fan, whether it be books or film, and it’s probably no surprise therefore that so many of my readers have commented how they think the Enemy Series would translate so naturally onto the big screen (any Hollywood producers reading this, just give me a call). So which is best and why?

I’m not sure I have an answer to that. I love both books and films for different reasons. Books are special to so many people. With a book you transport yourself into your own world. Ok, so it’s the writer’s words you’re reading, it’s his or her characters, but those characters come to life for each and every reader and they do so in a different way. The way every reader feels about the book and the characters, how they see the setting in their heads, how they view the characters and the emotions the characters feel, is an entirely personal experience. That’s what makes a book so powerful. And as a writer, the part that I get real satisfaction from is really exploring the psyche of my characters. I like getting into their heads and drilling down to the very core of who they are. On screen, and in writing a screenplay, you just can’t get to that same depth because such a large part of the unspoken elements of the plot are purely visual.

That said, on the flip side, it’s the visual potency of films which I love. In many ways they can be a lazy alternative to books, and films definitely engage the brain in a different way than books do. But I still love them. I love the sweeping visuals that you can get, and the painstaking and gritty detail that we get to see in action scenes which has so many more levels to it than you could ever write down on a page. And films can be incredibly emotional too. We don’t get to be inside the characters’ heads in the same way as in a book – as there simply isn’t the inner narrative – but when you get a top-notch script and top-notch actors in place, there’s no doubting that you can feel a wide range of emotions watching a good film. And we feel great connections to actors and actresses because of this. It’s why they are such big A-list celebrities.

As for my own books, in many ways I think they are perhaps something of a hybrid between traditional book and film. I love both formats and have been influenced greatly by both and even though the books I’ve written are very definitely novels and not screenplays, in my head they play out more like a movie, with a big emphasis on visuals. My writing evolved in many respects as a collection of scenes, much like you’d get in a screenplay. I think that’s just the way the plots are formed in my head and the way that I translate them onto the page. I think of a scene, I flesh out the scene as much as I can in my mind, and then I write it out.

So which is best: book or film? Well, the jury is still out as far as I’m concerned. But it’s on my to-do list to re-write each of the books of the Enemy series into screenplays. I think they’d all work in that format and I’m excited to see how they look and feel. And maybe one day, when the big screen version of the Enemy series hits your local cinema, you can come and tell me which version you liked best.

image003Rise of the Enemy is available to buy now.