How do you start to write a novel? We get this question asked so many times…



Snow Kills

RC Bridgestock

Publishers Caffeine Nights Publishing


How do you start to write a novel? We get this question asked so many times… Well for those and others who would like insight, this blog is about how ‘Snow Kills’ the fourth DI Dylan novel came to be …

Samantha our youngest daughter got stuck in her car one night coming home from work. The snow that fell that day was recorded to be one of the heaviest the, Isle of Wight had seen for many years and due to the velocity and speed that it fell, coupled with the drop in temperature, the disruption to ‘Island life as we know it’ lasted over a week.

Tom & Sam Farren

Once gridlock occurred along the main road from Ryde to Newport the mobile gritter units could not get through.   

Anyone who knows the Island is aware of its road structure and therefore you can imagine that everyone stuck to the main routes. These roads were kept open as long as the mobile gritter units could get through, but eventually it was a foregone conclusion that gridlock occurred. Sam was stuck for hours in the dark, not knowing what to do and she became increasingly more frightened as panic set in. She feared accepting drinks off strangers as the night drew in and the roads became deserted.  


As with all our storylines this portrays an element of truth by the storyteller but also how the investigation would go should it turn out to involve a crime…

The next inspirational moment came as I had my hair cut by my lovely hairdresser Kayleigh Harwood at Envy Hair & Beauty.


Chatting as we women do Kayleigh became ‘the hairdresser’, her Mum Kim became the fictional Kayleigh’s Mum,

and customers Claire (Rose) & Stuart Viney joined in to become other fictional characters we already had in mind, or that would be part of a missing person/murder investigation.

Claire Rose (Press Officer), Bob, Kayleigh Harwood (Hairdresser) Carol, Stuart Viney (SOCO officer) & Kim Harwood, Kayleigh’s mum.

Unbeknown to us Marlene on the left is Kim Harwoods mum and her name is the characters name of the person who owns the hairdressing shop… spooky!!!


Envy Hair & Beauty a crime scene…

Laura, Bob, Carol, Chloe, Kim, Hayley, Kayleigh & Izzy

Envy Hair &  Beauty staff

Bob and I set off on a book launch and speaking to our DI Dylan readers at Waterstones events Andy Wormald became our inspiration for a DC in the office as did Simon Clegg the PS in charge of our uniformed police operations team.

Bob, Andy Wormald, Carol, Simon Clegg & son Nathaniel


A raffle in Waterstones Kingsgate, Huddersfield resulted in Fearne Robinson winning a prize to be a named character in the book and in Waterstones Isle of Wight Carey Megicks also won the privilege.


At Waterstones in Sheffield we got talking to Daniel Jones who was training to be a Pathologist so he became our named character Pathologist in Snow Kills much to his delight!


In Waterstones Bradford Woolshops at the Consequences book signing we had the pleasure of meeting an avid crime fiction fan, 86 year old Mavis Beanland. Mavis had always wanted to be a Miss Marple’s and although we couldn’t quite get her there but she has an elementary part in this book.

A couple more named characters are Louisa Edwards (SOCO officer) who has followed us since we did a talk at her school, Christ The King College in Carisbrooke four years ago & Maggie Jones who is in our writing group.  

With Louisa Edwards

Bob, Kim, Maggie Jones, Claire, Stuart, Carol

Maisy Murphy (aka Maisy Dylan)

Bob with Liz, Virginia Mason (Editor Harrowfield Times), Carol, Mel, Hannah

Carol, Bob, Yvonne Best, Lyn Perfect (our Perfect & Best Solicitors)

& last but not least Janet (Hugo-Watkins secretary and Dorothy Duties Clerk) with Carol & Bella at WHS in Halifax

All our characters now in place meant that we could start.

Bob writes the police story from start to finish, with the ‘mask of the detective’ firmly in place. He writes it as it is drawing upon his own thoughts and feelings as a SIO incharge of these complex investigations. In Snow Kills as in all the DI Dylan novels you go with him, looking over his shoulder, throughout the investigation. You will visit the scene, the family, to the mortuary for example and feel his tension, frustration and his passion to catch the perpetrator. Once caught you will even be in the interview to hear the lies and cheer DI Dylan on to bring the murderer to justice – sometimes knowing more than he does. How does an investigator, keep their hands off a killer such as in this case, he is often asked. His answer is with great difficulty, but knowing that if he loses control with the offender the offender wins.

It is the senior detectives place to pull together all the information/evidence so he/she can to put the offender behind bars for a very long time. There is nothing you can do, as an officer on a murder case, for the victim other than give their family support and bring the perpetrator to justice. Hopefully giving some ‘closure’ for the family.

Once Bob has written his part my work begins and I build the scenes from Bob’s memories that I draw from him. Each time this is becoming a little easier as he lets his ‘mask’ fall and opens up to me. Hopefully you can see this in my writing too. I give the victim and the characters an identity – often changing characters names that Bob has given them, much to his annoyance J I also write Jen’s/the home life thread and hopefully now everyone is comfortable with Dylan & Jen and not taking anything away from the crime story we are now learning more about their respective past that have made the characters evolve as they have…

So the book is written.

The next point of call is to ensure that all police procedure is correct and computer systems used at that time. Gemma our daughter still works for the police organised crime unit.

Then it goes to our publishers Caffeine Nights Publishing and onto the eagle eye of Sandra Mangan our proof reader on this and many more we hope Sandra!


The rest as they say is history and I refer you to the launch tour of Snow Kills in West Yorkshire where we were featured on BBC 1, ITV 1, Radio, shared a stage with X Factor winner Joe McElderry  and visited Media City in Manchester where we went to a read through for ‘Happy Valley’ a new police series that we are storyline consultants and police advisors on for Spring 2014 …

 A great time was had by all at the recent opening of Envy Hair & Beauty in Newport, Isle of Wight and a party to celebrate the launch of ‘Snow Kills’ too!




Till the next book!


Carol & Bob xx

Authors DI Dylan series

01983 402393


Consultants to Red ProductionsMedia CityManchester

ITV1 Scott & Bailey series 4

BBC1 Happy Valley (New kidnap 6 x 60 min series for 2014)



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