Tag Archives: Detective Stories

Page One, Line One

This week I made a start on a new Sam Smith novel, Smoke and Mirrors, book nine in the series. This book has a dramatic start and the plot is more labyrinth than some of the earlier novels. When you write a series you want to add variety around the familiarity of the central characters, which is why I try to change the locations occasionally and the tone of the stories, while remaining true to the original concept.

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My routine usually consists of writing a chapter a day and editing the previous day’s chapter. Therefore, each day represents a complete chapter. Another round of editing and proofreading take place before the book is ready, but I try to alter as little as possible for the simple reason that these are Sam’s stories, she is the narrator and the words represent her actions and thoughts.

Books Are Us

Phew, a busy weekend! Sins of the Father was published this weekend and the book has broken my personal record for sales on a publication day. Along with that I have the proof copy of the print version to assess, for publication in August, and I’m working with Suzan Lynn Lorraine on the audio book version of Ripper. Suzan has excelled herself with the narration and I think Ripper will be our most impressive audio book to date. I must also mention Lucy Llewellyn at Head and Heart Publishing Services and thank her for her considerable creative contribution to the audio book cover. In addition, I’ve also completed a 125 page outline for the next book, Smoke and Mirrors. Wonderful to be writing and collaborating with such talented people.

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Sins of the Father

Published today, Sins of the Father, the latest Sam Smith mystery!

For the first thirty-three years of my life I had no knowledge of my father, no idea what he looked like, his name, whether he was dead or alive. Then fate brought us together. Then, a year later, he decided to hire me.

Although we had talked for a year, my father was still Gawain Morgan to me, a stranger, not my dad. Would the task of locating Frankie Quinn bring us closer together, or drive us further apart?

Frankie Quinn was a con-man, a life-long villain, a member of my father’s old gang. That’s right, my father was a villain too, with dodgy contacts, a shady past and sins he preferred to forget. The police wanted Frankie and, if arrested, he faced the prospect of spending his final years in prison. However, he had a trump card, evidence of my father’s indiscretions. Frankie was looking to cut a deal with the police, my father was looking for Frankie. They knew that one of them would spend the winter of their days in prison; but who would it be?

Meanwhile, the clock was ticking towards my wedding day. Would I enjoy the happiest day of my life, or be left crying into my champagne?

Sins of the Father, ten days that defined my relationship with my dad.

Available from all major Internet outlets for the special price of £0.99/$0.99

Amazon Link

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Sins of the Father – Pre-Order

Published on the 29th July and available for pre-order now from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo, iBooks and Smashwords, Sins of the Father, book eight in the Sam Smith Mystery Series. This book is about Sam’s father, an ex-con, who walked out of her life when she was a baby. Thirty-three years later, Sam discovered her father’s true identity and met him for the first time. Connected as kin, yet strangers, this is Sam and her father’s story.

Amazon Link

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To #1

Over the weekend of July 16-17-18, Sam’s Song reached the #1 position on the amazon.com private detective chart and #62 on the main amazon.com chart. With this series of articles I intend to offer background on how my book reached those heights; hopefully, this information will be of interest to followers of the series and fellow authors alike.

To start at the beginning, the writing of Sam’s Song. I have always been an avid reader and my favourite genre is the private detective novel. In particular, I admire the series created by Robert B Parker and Marcia Muller. I wrote my first play at school, aged nine, so writing has always been a part of my life. After a number of minor writing adventures, including articles and short stories, I wrote four private detective novels featuring two private detectives. I regarded those novels as my apprenticeship and they were not offered for publication. After those novels, life moved on and with my long-term partner I started a family. I continued to write during that time, mainly for my own amusement.

Then, in 2014, I decided to write another private detective novel. But who should I have as my narrator? My first draft featured a woman who was a bit flaky to say the least and the novel developed into a comedy. However, I soon discovered that my comedy was centred on one joke, and that, over the length of a novel, that joke would wear thin. So I placed my notes in a file and started again.

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Sam at #1

I knew that I had the basis for a novel, but no central character. I knew that my narrator would be female, in her early thirties, that the story would contain some humour, and that the book would have a strong psychological thread. But still no central character presented herself. Then, one day – I can picture the scene now – I was sitting sideways at my desk, scribbling notes when I looked up and paused for thought. At that moment Samantha whispered into my ear, “Why don’t you write about me?”

I don’t believe in ghosts, the supernatural or anything mystical, yet when Samantha walked into my life it was a magical experience. I believe that writing is basically a craft you fashion through hard work and dedication, yet this character was talking to me. And she told me her life story. Everything about Samantha and the main characters in Sam’s Song was done in one take. I didn’t require a list of names, locations or personality types, Sam, Alan, Sweets, etc came to me fully formed. I couldn’t believe my luck. Could writing really be that easy? Yes, and no.

The next step was to find a subject to write about. This time I did make a list, and because I love music, I settled on that. Again, the characters of Woody, Derwena and Milton came to me quickly and I wrote the first draft in no time. While reading through that draft, I elaborated each chapter until I had the story mapped out. At that stage, the chapters with Dan, Sam’s abusive ex-husband, were the most detailed, but soon the other chapters developed as well.

With the storyboard as my guide, I sat down to write Sam’s Song. What you see in the book is basically the first draft, with editing modifications and proofreading corrections. When the first draft was complete there were no major rewrites.

If I wrote Sam’s Song today, it would be totally different, probably more serious, reverential, and less fun. But from day one, I allowed Sam to tell her story in her style. I type out her words and edit them, but they are Sam’s words, Sam’s stories. Sam’s Song would be different if we wrote it today because Sam is a slightly different person, a bit older, a bit wiser and, on a good day, more secure.

So, I had a 250 page novel, which I was proud of. More importantly people close to me, people who don’t offer praise lightly, liked the book. What to do next? Seek out a publisher? Publish it myself? More about that next time.

New In Books

Family Honour is featured today in New in Books, alongside Sue Grafton, Janet Evanovich and Mary Higgins Clark 😃

https://www.newinbooks.com/books-to-read-if-you-like-liliana-hart/

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Sins of the Father – Pre-Order

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Published later this summer, available for pre-order now at the special price of £0.99/$0.99

For the first thirty-three years of my life I had no knowledge of my father. No idea what he looked like, his name, whether he was dead or alive. Then fate brought us together. Then, a year later, he decided to hire me.

Although we had talked for a year, my father was still Gawain Morgan to me, a stranger, not my dad. Would the task of locating Frankie Quinn bring us closer together, or drive us further apart?

Frankie Quinn was a con-man, a life-long villain, a member of my father’s old gang. That’s right, my father was a villain too, with dodgy contacts, a shady past and sins he preferred to forget. The police wanted Frankie and, if arrested, he faced the prospect of spending his final years in prison. However, he had a trump card, evidence of my father’s indiscretions. Frankie was looking to cut a deal with the police, my father was looking for Frankie. They knew that one of them would spend the winter of their days in prison; which would it be?

Meanwhile, the clock was ticking towards my wedding day. Would I enjoy the happiest day of my life, or be left crying into my champagne?

Sins of the Father, ten days that defined my relationship with my dad.

Amazon Link