Sam Smith Mystery Series

To #1

Over the weekend of July 16-17-18, Sam’s Song reached the #1 position on the private detective chart and #62 on the main 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.


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.

Novels Private Detectives Sam Smith Private Eye

Happy Easter!

Chocolate 2

Wishing you a Happy Easter! I always find that Easter is an exciting time, due to the promise of spring. This Easter is even more exciting for me because Suzan Lynne Lorraine has agreed to narrate Sam’s Song for an audiobook production. Suzan has a wealth of experience as an actress with over thirty theatre productions, as a director with over fifty productions and as an instructor of live radio drama performances. I have heard an excerpt of Suzan’s work on Sam’s Song and it is amazing! The full recording will commence shortly and we plan to release the audiobook through Audible, Amazon and iTunes in early summer.

Novels Sam Smith Private Eye

Sam at Number One

This weekend, March 14th – 15th, Sam’s Song is number one in the Amazon chart for crime fiction based in Wales and in the top 100 of the chart ‘female sleuths’. Many thanks to everyone who has read the book xxx.


Novels Sam Smith Private Eye

Hannah’s Store

My books are available from all leading retailers and Internet outlets, including Amazon, The Book Depository, W.H. Smiths, etc. However, you can also order my books direct from the publisher, Goylake Publishing. With no third party mark-up to consider you can save up to 55% off the cover price. Just visit the Store page on this website and click on a book cover and a link will take you to PayPal, a secure encrypted site. PayPal handle the transaction process and you can pay either through your PayPal account or via a Debit or Credit card. All books are post free and cost $5.99 for the USA and £3.99 for the UK.


Music Sam Smith Private Eye

Love Hurts

Love Hurts is Sam’s theme song in my novel Sam’s Song. Personally, I love the Nazareth version of that song, and this version too.