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
My 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.