A rare chance to get into an SIO’s mind at the scene… Not To Be Missed By Crime Authors or Crime Readers!

 

Have you ever thought what is going through the officer in charge of a Murder enquiry’s mind at this stage?

Well here are a just a few … and below there are a few of our other presentations boards with information relating to some of the real life crime investigations that Bob took charge of as a Detective Superintendent. You can also ‘google’ Bob Bridgestock for more information. Copyright Applies

 About us:-

Carol and Bob Bridgestock were both born and lived in West Yorkshire until they relocated to the Isle of Wight in 2003. Between them they have 47years employment with the police, Carol being a member of the Civilian support staff and Bob being a Police Officer. They never had any inclinations to become authors, but others found their verbal stories thrilling which led them to put pen to paper.

About Bob:-

 

Bob in front of the world’s mediahttp://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/1983685.stm

Bob was born in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire in 1952. He left Grammar School at the age of 15, served an apprenticeship as a Butcher then spent two years in a dye works before joining the police force on the 28th January 1974. In 1981 he was awarded the much acclaimed ‘Denis Hoban Trophy’ for outstanding detective work. On retirement he received a Certificate of Loyal Service from West Yorkshire Police in appreciation and recognition of 30years ‘Loyal and Devoted Service to the Community’. As a career detective he worked in the CID at every rank. For over half of his service he was a senior detective, retiring at the rank of Detective Superintendent. As a Senior Investigative Officer (SIO) in charge of homicide cases he took command of some twenty-six murder investigations, twenty- three major incidents including shootings and attempted murders and over fifty suspicious deaths and numerous sexual assaults, some of which were extremely high profile in his last three years alone. He received numerous commendations from high court judges and chief constables who credit him with personal commitment and professionalism, expertise and diligence as well as competence with skilful leadership in sensitive, complex high profile cases with the subsequent presentation of compelling evidence. He was a Force Hostage Negotiator and was also commended for his work into the investigation of a protracted, high profile investigation of police corruption in another police force.

 

About Carol:-

Carol was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire in 1961. She left Grammar School at the age of 16 and went on to study hairdressing at college. At the age of twenty she was running her own successful salon as well as teaching at the college. In 1988 Carol commenced working for the Police as a member of the support staff in the administration department. As a supervisor she received a Chief Constable’s commendation for outstanding work for her determination and drive creating a poster competition for an Autumn Fall Crime Initiative involving local schools.

She always knew Bob could tell a good story because of the experiences he had had in his life but her nagging fell on deaf ears until in 2008 when out of the blue he enrolled them on a college course to ‘Write Your First Novel’. Carol & Bob are members of the Wight Fair Writers’ Circle which developed from that course and involves the community in writing competitions for all ages.

The DI Dylan Series:-

Their first novel, Deadly Focus, was self published in 2009. In 2010 the couple were lucky to  be taken under the wing of Darren E Laws at Caffeine Nights Publishers www.caffeine-nights.com. In June 2011 this was re published. The couple now hold a contract with them for the whole of the ‘DI Dylan’ crime fiction series. ‘Consequences’, the second novel was launched in April 2012. The couple are now International crime authors. ’Wight Lilies’ the 3rd in the series is out March 25th 2013. Book 4 ‘Snow Kills’ is in the  hands of the publisher scheduled for release later this year/early 2014.

‘ The couples first book ‘Deadly Focus’ will be traslated into Korean and published in South Korea next year.

About their TV work:-

This year they are working with Sally Wainwright & Red Productions on a BBC 1 commissioned thriller 6 x 60 series called ‘Happy Valley’. More information here – scroll down to ‘Happy Valley’ – http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/latestnews/2012/bbc-one-drama-commissions.html

 

 

 

 

And as they say, there is more…

Our contact details are:-

www.rcbridgestock.com

Twitter @rcbridgestock

Facebook – RC Bridgestock

rcbridgestock@gmail.com

 

Feb 28, 2013

Crime Author Geraldine Evans Gives Us A Grilling!

Geraldine Evans – British Crime Author of the Rafferty & Llewellyn & Casey & Catt series amongst other great stand alones http://www.geraldineevans.com/ You can also read the interview also here:-   Part 1 @ http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1217367-interview-with-r-c-bridgestock-husband-and-wife-crime-writing-duo-crea Part 2 @http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1217378-part-2-interview-with-r-c-bridgestock Part 3 @http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1217380-part-3-interview-with-r-c-bridgestock

 

Your detective, Dylan, did you base him mostly on Bob? Or is he an amalgam of several influences?

DI Jack Dylan is loosely based on Bob – although Bob had to ‘reduce himself’ in rank to take on ‘the character’ of the Detective Inspector.  It took him fifteen years of his CID (Criminal Investigation Department) led career to reach the dizzy heights of rank of Detective Superintendent, so it was quite painful for him. J Subsequently all the feelings that Dylan has in our novels are Bob’s true feelings that he has experienced at some point at crime scenes and on enquires. The reader is privy to fact as well as fiction in our narrative.  The truth is that the only way I could get him to drop his ‘detective mask’ was to focus his thought process though a fictional character. With regard to police procedural Dylan had to be an Inspector rank to allow him to do such things as interview suspects – even for murder.

In reality, it is seen to be too oppressive for the suspect to be interviewed by someone at the rank of Detective Superintendent. I don’t know if your readers are aware of the ranks in the British Police Force but above the rank of Detective Superintendent there are only two (or three in some forces) ranks to Chief Constable and they are, Detective Chief Superintendent (only seen in some forces), Assistant Chief Constable and Deputy Chief Constable. 

 

Mysteries are divided into lots of sub genres from cozies through procedurals. Did you ever think of writing the more gory type that seem to be so popular?

No, one of things that we didn’t set out to do was to shock the readers of the Dylan series. People can see enough of that on the big screen. We wanted to tell it ‘as it is’ from the police man’s point of view and how his work and mind set affects his family whilst on major crime enquiries as well as about the enquiry itself.  Bob would never write about factual cases. He always says it is the victims and their families who suffer the life sentence of a crime and he wouldn’t want to distress them further by putting such detail in the public domain. So we came up with a unique way of showing the drama in fiction. Our novels are written to be like watching a horror movie behind a cushion or splayed fingers but with real police procedure of how that enquiry would be run, and dealing with the investigation through the mind and the eyes of someone who has been there, seen it, and bought the T-shirt, as they say.

 

Do you, Carol, do the bulk of the writing and then have Bob go through correcting and changing wherever necessary?

Bob actually writes the whole fictional enquiry from start to finish in the same format he would deal with a factual report to him, as the detective, of a body found or a report of a major incident occurring. He works through the investigation as if it is a real life case with all the police procedure from the outset of the enquiry and subsequently throughout to trace the perpetrator and into interview of subsequent arrested persons. Of course there are always leads which take the officer nowhere in fact and fiction and Bob has plenty of real life ‘red herrings’ to draw from to use in our narrative. Once this process is completed he passes the manuscript to me. I read the story and at this stage build the characters to fit the somewhat ambiguous names Bob has given them!  I’ll let you into a little secret. Our way of choosing some of our characters is by Bob telling me who he is thinking about when he writes them in, in terms of descriptions and whose character he has put to that person. At any one time we then both know who we are talking about or what that particular character would most likely do in a particular situation. This works well for us and our old colleagues and friends are always asking us if a character is a particular person – sometimes they’re right too! All our characters truly do live and breathe for us. I also write the descriptions of the scenes and at this point have to draw out of Bob sometimes deep rooted horrific scenario’s that he has long since put to rest but has been witness to over the years, to help me get it right for the reader. The easiest part for me is putting Jen’s side to the story as she is loosely based on me. Jen’s feelings about certain issues are my own and some situations are ones that I found myself in as the supportive partner of a police officer and to Bob in his role as an SIO.  My part over the manuscript goes back to Bob. Now, instead of a factual enquiry he is faced with a fictional tale with characters that Bob, as the reader, can get to know.  If either of us have any issues with a character, a storyline, or a scene this is when we discuss it but we have never argued, Bob has his role in the writing process and I have mine. Bob is always a book ahead of me so I am always intrigued as to what enquiry we will take on next.

 

Did either of you harbour childhood fantasies about doing something other than police work? For instance, a lot of little boys want to be engine drivers? Was that one of Bob’s ambitions? Or did you both always want to work for the police?Bob

No not at all. Bob was a butcher for five years before he worked in a dye works for two years, only because the money was better. He left school before the mock GCSE’s, as they were in them days, because he was offered an apprenticeship. It was the way of the world. It was only the security of work and the free board and lodging – a police house or allowance, which tempted him to the role of a police officer. He had to take a 50% pay cut.

My mum found me my first ‘Saturday’ job in the hairdressers she went to when I was 14yrs old. I worked seven hours a week for £1.50 and my first weeks wage was £9. I think mum had a method in her madness, to get her hair done free! However, the job was laborious and I enjoyed teaching the craft a lot more than ‘doing’ the day to day shampoo and blow dry. The job I loved best was the civilian role in the police force which I held in the West Yorkshire Police for seventeen years – there were never two days alike.

 

Do you come from a long line of public service workers? Is police-work a family tradition?

Bob’s dad was a Railway Inspector who investigated rail accidents having served in Burma and Dunkirk in the second world war, but that is about as much of an influence as he had in investigation or the forces. It was either the Police or the Army!

 

Why did you choose to move to the Isle of Wight? Do you ever find living on an island brings constraints? And have you ever, because of bad weather, been marooned and unable to get to the venues where you’re booked to give talks?

 

As a child my family lived for some years in Milford-On-Sea from where you can see the Isle of Wight. I used to play with my friends on the beach and we would talk about the Island in a most romantic, fairytale, mystical way. We moved back to Yorkshire when I was a teenager and I always dreamed of living by the sea again. Bob and I retreated often to the Island for ten years prior to moving here so we had got to know it well. We bought the house nearly a year before we retired. As soon as you get on the ferry from the mainland it is as though all your worries float away with the sea; most definitely our home forever. We have never felt constricted living on the Island but it is costly to get to and fro across the Solent. I guess we’ve just become more organised because of that stretch of water and watch the local weather forecast. J

 

 

Now that you’re both retired from the police service, do you find it difficult to keep up with changes in that and forensics?

 

We are lucky enough to have friends who are in every field of the service and professional roles such as forensic, pathology, legal, media etc. so we have the up to date resources for research on tap. Things are changing and being updated often and we are only too pleased to do the research and keep up to date for our own interest as much as for our writing.

 

 

 

 

You’re now working on book four, I understand. I’m sure with the experience you both bring to the writing role you have no problems in coming up with plots. But series bring their own difficulties. How do you keep things fresh? Does it get more difficult with each book? And do you have a system in place so that you’re able to check established ‘facts’ about a character or location? Or do you, as some writers have confessed, only know you’ve got the remembering wrong when a reader writes in to tell you?

 

Being part of the police service brings its own methodology. We are used to being somewhat the ‘Analyst’.  Anacapa charts are used to plot targets, mobile phone use and track individuals for example. We in effect ‘live’ in our office in the middle of the enquiry we’re working on! As I build the characters I use what we would call an MO form  – each character has their own Modus Operandi, so hopefully our readers won’t catch us out. I’m sure we’ve set ourselves up now though! Procedural wise the story happens as it does in real life and we draw upon life experiences of things that do happen for the drama. From the family life side of our novels again we use life experiences. We find it easier this way.

 

What kind of research do you do for your procedurals?

 

Police procedural wise the most important thing for us is ensuring that the police systems/procedures that are used in the book are used as and when the books are dated. Although we try not to date the books, it is hard when the facts have to be correct for time and place in procedure. Apart from that the family saga research, such as pregnancy or a characters idiosyncrasy. I have been lucky enough to have friends who have been pregnant and giving birth at the time of writing ‘White Lilies’. They very kindly gave me some great notes to work from – you forget don’t you?  I love researching for characters – you’ll get to meet some weird and wonderful people in our books as time goes by.

 

Have you written other things, like short stories, as a lot of crime writers do? Or did you launch straight into novels? And if so, why?

 

We have both dabbled with short stories for our internal writing circle’s competitions that we organise twice a year. These have independent judges I might add. But it is not something either of us enjoys, so we don’t tend to write short stories. Maybe it is because we write our novels together that our way of writing actually works… Who knows? Our publishers have put a request out to all their authors for a short story to introduce their protagonist to the readers on their  soon to be formed short story page, but we haven’t done one… yet.

 

Your novels have been widely praised for their true-to-life depiction of police work. If you didn’t both have that background, is there any other genre that would hold appeal for you? For instance, I could imagine you, Carol, writing romances or Historicals.  And Bob, thrillers.

 

Yes, you’re right I also think Bob could write some very dark thrillers. His true stories are enough to make anyone’s hair curl and there is nothing stranger than the truth to draw upon is there? Maybe it is one for the future.

 

I love historical novels and a good cry at a romance but I think writing them would somehow spoil the genre for the reading if I’m honest. Maybe one day…

 

Is Bob mainly responsible for any research that’s required? Or is it a shared job?

 

It’s shared. Again, we have just seemed to have taken on the roles as a natural progression to the storylines. Bob’s interest is in the research to come up to date of police/court procedure and forensic capabilities, to broaden and bring up to date his knowledge. For instance the turn-around time for DNA these days is like lightening to what it used to be only ten years ago and not as expensive for the SIO. Even murder investigations have a budget believe it or not. I probably do most research but I do tend to get wrapped up in it if I’m not careful.

 

Will Bob be writing his memoirs, one day? And what about you, Carol? Any plans in that direction? I’m sure that now, with the popularity of your police series, any such memoirs would find a very receptive audience. I’d be first in the queue!

 

I would love Bob to write his memoirs. This is how the whole process started. I wanted Bob to write his memoirs for the grandchildren and the great grandchildren we might never be lucky enough to meet. You see even our children didn’t have a clue as to what Bob actually used to do until they read ‘Deadly Focus’. When they were young they would be often concerned when they saw Daddy on TV. He was always serious where as other dad’s that were on the TV would wave at their kids and give them a ‘shout out’. We had to eventually develop a code so that they knew dad was okay and that he was thinking of them. If you ever see a TV interview with Bob, or an old press conference he would always straighten his tie, this was their signal.

 

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received and who gave it to you? And what advice do you, in turn, give out to writing hopefuls?

 

Never give up!  Just about every other author who has been published told us.

Start what you finish – I think this applies to everything in life though and was installed in us from both sets of parents.

 

A number of writers have decided to break away from traditional publishing and turn ‘Indie’ – I have myself. Is this something you would ever contemplate?

 

Ah, but you’re a genius Geraldine! J As long as we have Caffeine Nights publishing behind us we are very happy bunnies indeed. Darren E. Laws is an author in his own right and an excellent person work with. His work ethos is the same as ours and we think ourselves very blessed that he took us on.

 This is us with some other authors in the Caffeine Nights Publishers stable with the CEO Darren E Laws.

Have you found that your publisher provides support and marketing? Or is that mostly down to you?

 

We have heard some horror stories about publishers but Caffeine Nights provide excellent support for their authors – we could ask for nothing more.  They also have a great team behind them for marketing and book design too. They are dedicated and as passionate about your work as we are. However, personally I don’t think you can ever do enough promotion or marketing, so we do as many book signings as possible, as many talks  and arts/literary festivals as we can and are part of the social networking sites. We love talking to our readers, listening to their views about our characters and storylines – it’s fantastic that they want to be involved and great fun for us. Dylan has a great female following! ;-)

 

Darren E Laws – Caffeine Nights Publishing - There is an interview with him on this ‘Close Up’ site.

 

Are you happy at the price at which your publisher sets your books, especially given the often cheaper alternatives amongst Indie publishers? Is he fairly flexible and prepared to listen to suggestions.

 

Our publishers have just reduced the price of all their paperbacks this weekend from £8.99 to £5.99 in their bookstore – with an open letter you can see here to Mr Daunt and Mr Husain http://t.co/YtlPahKx at Waterstones about that very topic.

We as authors are very happy with whatever they decided. We wouldn’t have a clue so we trust them implicitly knowing that they do everything in our best interest.

 

Your covers are very distinctive and eye-catching. Did you and Bob have any input into their design?

 

‘Deadly Focus’ as you know is printed in two editions. The first was published by ourselves. There were only about 1500 copies printed of this edition so they are becoming quite rare even on Amazon. This cover was designed by Andrew Beckwith, our son-in-law who is also a very talented web and graphic designer http://www.andrewbeckwith.com/ He also does our website for us and has set up the blog for me to use.

 

The titles published by Caffeine Nights Publishers are all designed by the very creative Mark (Wills) Williams with input from Darren E Laws. We are always consulted but have no problem in leaving this in their more than capable hands. We think they are amazing.

 

Would you recommend new readers start with the first book or can they be read out of sequence?

 

Each title is a stand-alone book purposely but if the reader wants to turn a book into a saga it is best to start reading ‘Deadly Focus’ first. Here you get to know the main characters of the series a little better. 

 

How long does it take you and Bob to research and write a book?

 

Probably about six to eight months.

 

What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?

 

Definitely the daylight hours, usually I start writing about ten o’clock but that can be promotional work, a talk, social networking etc. and I will write till about five or six maybe longer if the work dictates it. If I am reading the manuscript however I tend to do that at night.  

 

Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?

 

The bones for ‘Deadly Focus’ was written in six weeks, in long hand believe it or not – all 120,000 words of it. I know because I typed it and did a word count at the end. But now the work is all done on the computer, although we each have a notebook specifically for each book that we scribble down notes in. This way the notes we use are never lost either.

 

What do you draw inspiration from? Is it always actual cases?

 

Inspiration comes from different places. It could just be a character from the past or an incident that appears in the newspaper, to an actual appeal by the Police. We never use actual cases but we do draw inspiration from some that we have been involved in.

 

Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write such as word count?

 

Bob does, we were only talking about this the other day. He likes to reach 10,000 words and then aims to 20,000 and so on. I never look at the word count until I have finished what I am doing.  I just let the story run its course.

 

What drove you to choose writing as a second career? A number of ex-

Police officers have tried and found it more challenging than they expected. Did you?

 

We didn’t, it chose us. Neither of us had any inclination to write six years ago other than I had this feeling that I wanted Bob to write his memoirs for future generations of our family.

When we moved south nearly ten years ago, our newly made friends and acquaintances weren’t involved in the police at all, so were enthralled by Bob’s stories that sometimes made them laugh or cry. Karen Eeles from our local hospice ‘The Earl Mountbatten Hospice’, found out what Bob did for a job after we became involved with their fundraising events and let’s say the rest is history. ‘Come do us a talk to help raise money,’ she said. ‘Nobody wants to listen to my boring Yorkshire tales on the Isle of Wight,’ Bob said.

Days later he had his first gig that was a great hit. The talk was supposed to last an hour and they had to throw people out at tea time! A couple of days later there was an advert in our local newspaper the ‘County Press,’ offering a course at the local college to ‘Write Your First Novel,’ and it was during this course that ‘Deadly Focus’ was started and finished. The teacher couldn’t believe her eyes when he produced the full manuscript at the end.

 

How have you found it, working together? Has it gone smoothly or have you encountered difficulties that you hadn’t expected?

 

None whatsoever, I type up the final manuscript so there is no problem at all! J As in life we trust each other implicitly and respect each other’s judgement. It is just lovely to have such fun and experience new things together after spending so many years apart when ‘job was running’.

 

Was it love at first sight between you and Bob? Or was it more of a gradual thing?

 

The first time I saw Bob at work I actually said to my colleague and friend Margaret Hulme; ‘I wouldn’t want to cross him!’ He has this certain look that could curdle milk. He never once had to shout at the kids or smack them – he just had to cock his head to one side and raise his eyebrow. Behind that look however there is a heart of gold and when that winning smile crossing his face he looks like a mischievous little boy. We were work colleagues and friends before we became a couple – gosh was that twenty years ago now? How time flies when you’re enjoying yourself.

 

Do any of your children intend following in your footsteps, either as writers or working in the police service? And would you encourage or deter them from either?

 

Gemma our daughter works for the West Yorkshire Police force and has done for about eight years now, progressing through the civilian ranks after she gained a Law Degree at Sheffield Hallam. Her role is one of a few civilian ISO’s (Investigative Support Officer), in the Major Incident Team. The first time she told us she was going to a mortuary to witness a post-mortem Bob was concerned for her. To think that your little girl is going to see what one human being could do to another and to  have to witness the consequences troubled him enormously, but she’s Bob’s daughter and where I would  have run a mile she took it all in her stride and faced it knowing these things have to be done to catch the killer. John is an Electrician & property developer, Stephanie went on to be a model in Milan as is now a Director for Dorothee Schumacher and runs the Milan salon and Sam has a psychology degree and works on the Isle of Wight but we wouldn’t put any hurdles up if they had decided on a life in the police force it is a fantastic career. Ask Bob if he’d do his time again and he’d say straight away, ‘You bet!’

 

Does the so-called ‘Canteen Culture’ still exist? Or has it been forced underground by the politically-correct stance of  the brass?

 

You’ll never eradicate the ‘Canteen Culture’ totally but since the arrival of political correctness it has probably been pushed, as you say, underground or into quiet corners. There has however been a vast improvement in eradicating it in our experience in recent years. Most definitely the ‘isms’ are now considered before people speak and not before time either.

 

Do you own an ebook reading device?

 

Bob has an iPad 2 which he is using more and more these days rather than his laptop.

 

Who are some of your favourite authors and what are you reading now?

 

We met you after Mum and myself had read a few of your books between us. She loves the crime novels especially the Rafferty and Llewellyn series and I enjoyed immensely ‘The Reluctant Queen’. So you have two fans here! We are very supportive of the Caffeine Nights Authors – there is some fantastic new talent there and as they say their mantra is ‘Fiction for the Heart and the Head’ which it most definitely is. Bob has just read Ian Ayris’s ‘Abide With Me’ and thoroughly enjoyed it. Neither of us reads crime really anymore. Writing the genre has totally spoilt that for us although in the past I did enjoy Martina Cole. I also love the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon.

   

Are there any particular writers who have influenced your writing?

 

For me probably Warwick Deeping, his book Sorrell & Son has to be my favourite of all time.

For Bob, he says not. He reads mostly factual books.

 

What do you think of book trailers?

 

We’ve never done one but I think anything to market a book is terrific and this is such a fun way to get the story across with the aid of music and pictures.

 

 

How do you come up with the titles of your books? Do you and Bob brainstorm with your publisher?

 

Our publishers have never suggested another title to the working title of our books so I guess they are happy with them. If they are then we are too. As he is writing the first draft Bob usually come s up with something that strikes him as significant or encompasses the theme that runs throughout the story. This has stuck with ‘Consequences’ & ‘White Lilies’ and I think will continue with ‘Snow Kills’, ‘Reprobates’, ‘When the killing Starts’ and ‘Exodontia’ which are the working titles of books four, five, six and seven. However, ‘Deadly Focus’ started out as ‘The Ground Beneath Your Feet’, which is the mantra of the detective to cover the ground beneath your feet and work outwards from the scene of a crime. It was felt at the time that this was too long a title and should be cut – although Bob still refers to ‘Deadly Focus’ as ‘The Ground Beneath Your Feet’ sometimes.

 

Have either of you ever done any other line of work, apart from writing and being in the police service?

 

Bob is a qualified butcher and he worked in a dye works for two years before joining the police force. I was a fully qualified hairdresser and beautician as well as a salon owner and teacher of hairdressing practical. My jobs in the police force as a civilian employee were varied from typing to accounting and file preparing for court becoming a supervisor for an administration department and the office manager for a government led vehicle crime initiative. Like I said there was never a dull moment!

 

Can you tell us a little about what you’re working on now?

 

At the moment Bob is reading his file for a talk he is doing tonight. We are both working on a crime fiction evening we are taking part in at the Isle of Arts Festival in April. I am working on the next Crime & Intrigue short story competition which we hold twice a year to try to inspire others to read and writer www.iowwritingcircle.co.uk (all proceeds go to local charities). Bob is writing ‘When The Killing Starts’ and ‘Exodontia’ and I am writing my part of ‘Reprobates’. Book three ‘White Lilies’ is out March 25th and ‘Snow Kills’ is with the publishers with a possible publication later this year.

 

We are also both working with the very talented Scriptwriter Sally Wainwright and Red Productions on a BBC 1 crime thriller series called ‘Happy Valley.’ Bob and I are very excited about it. We start filming later this year and we have others looking at placing ‘Dylan’ for a TV/Film series.

 

Tell me a little bit of something about you that we haven’t already learned.

 

The only new car that we have ever bought was delivered to a mortuary which was the first for the garage, the salesman and the mortuary!

 

Our website is www.rcbridgstock.com

Our blog which covers ‘Carol’s Close Up’s’ with authors, publishers, literary agents, TV/Film producers and International Private Detectives. ‘Reads Ramblings’ are weekly poems by Janet Read and ‘Life Happens’ are blogs by life coach Maggie Currie. www.blog.rcbridgestock.com  but the blog can also be accessed through our website.

Twitter – @RCBridgestock

LinkedIn – Bob Bridgestock

Facebook – RC Bridgestock

Facebook – Deadly Focus Group Page

 

‘Deadly Focus’ has 32 5* Reviews on Amazon.co.uk (Two Editions)

‘Consequences’ has 17 5* Reviews on Amazon.co.uk

 

This is the latest piece for ‘White Lilies’:-

WHITE LILIES is the third novel in the RC BRIDGESTOCK DI JACK DYLAN SERIES in which Bob brings unique insight and experience from how real life cases are conducted into page turning gripping fiction, aided by his wife Carol, who also worked for the police. This combination adds authenticity rarely seen in British crime fiction, coupled with warmth, humour and humanity.

DI Jack Dylan’s promise to Jen is to spend more time at home in this latest novel; after all she is expecting their first child. However ‘the job,’ as in reality, takes over. Two fatal road accidents, an elderly lady found battered to death, two girls brutally attacked, a chief suspect found dead, a life threatening hostage negotiation and a stabbing all happen as a newly promoted attractive Sergeant is added to the mix, which is truly genuine in voice and substance. Whilst Dylan is confronted by a madman, Jen goes into labour alone only to find herself in hospital with her arch enemy at her side and the question is will Dylan make it to the birth in time and secure justice for the victims of the crimes?

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Dilemma! Which poster to choose for our upcoming book tour! Please vote on ‘White Lilies’!

A dilemma! Which poster to choose for our book tour to launch ‘White Lilies’ the third in the DI Dylan series  in March? Can you help us?

Poster 1

Poster 2

Poster 3

Poster 4

White Lilies

Pre order now from our publishers @ £5.99 R.R.P £8.99

http://www.caffeine-nights.com/paperbackaudiobook-store.html

WHITE LILIES is the third novel in the RC BRIDGESTOCK DI JACK DYLAN SERIES in which Bob brings unique insight and experience from how real life cases are conducted into page turning gripping fiction, aided by his wife Carol, who also worked for the police. This combination adds authenticity rarely seen in British crime fiction, coupled with warmth, humour and humanity.

DI Jack Dylan’s promise to Jen is to spend more time at home in this latest novel; after all she is expecting their first child. However ‘the job,’ as in reality, takes over. Two fatal road accidents, an elderly lady found battered to death, two girls brutally attacked, a chief suspect found dead, a life threatening hostage negotiation and a stabbing all happen as a newly promoted attractive Sergeant is added to the mix, which is truly genuine in voice and substance. Whilst Dylan is confronted by a madman, Jen goes into labour alone only to find herself in hospital with her arch enemy at her side and the question is will Dylan make it to the birth in time and secure justice for the victims of the crimes?

 

A special poem from ‘Read’s Ramblings’ – for the March 2013 launch of ‘White Lilies’ by RC Bridgestock

 

Janet Read

 

WHITE LILIES

It’s another new novel hot off the press

‘White Lilies’ the title and it’ll impress

DI Jack Dylan and his team, here again to solve the crime,

Gathering clues in the shortest of time.

 ~

Searching here and there, no stone left unturned

No snippet of information is discarded or burned.

Carefully creating the profile of a killer

Investigating the facts, a strong minded fellow

 ~

Not One, not two, but THREE great novels are here

RC Bridgestock, give them a cheer

Working hard with fictional stories to tell

From past reports and experiences of hell.

Book signing tours about to take place

Getting from A to B; joining the rat race.

A superb part in the Isle of Wight Arts Festival

Along side the great names, oh what a thrill!

We’ll wave them on with great delight

Hoping their journey will continue just right.

Impatiently waiting for the next book to be come

And DC Jack Dylan’s next move: to surprise us.

 ~

So here’s to all you people out there on the internet

On twitter, facebook and your usual daily net

Tune into RC Bridgestock and follow the news

A great crime writing team: inspiring views.

 ~

Go on then, check it out, and you will find, that the

More you read, the more you can’t wait.

Time is of the essence and your input is gladly received

Help us to create the feedbacks needed to please.

 

 

 Pre Order the book Now -  £5.99 from Caffeine Nights Publishers

 http://www.caffeine-nights.com/paperbackaudiobook-store.html

 

 

 

 

 

Carol’s ‘Close Up’ with Rock Chick,Musician,Cake Eater that is Radio Presenter Heather McCallum!

                                                                                                   

Carol Bridgestock

Heather Mcallum Radio Presenter

 

       Rock Chick/Musician

                                        

 I  love spending time with the lovely Heather McCallum. Heather  is always a bundle of fun and never without a smile, that lights up any room, the moment she walk in. Now she is usually the one to be interviewing us so come on and let’s find out together more about her…

 

Hello my Lovely! :-) Now, tell all our followers a little about yourself? 

I’m a 29 year old presenter/musician born and bred on the Isle of Wight! I live with my other half Ross and pet fish called Bob.  

My Bob will be thrilled! :-)

What are you working on now?

Well, I have recently relocated to the North! So I am currently working as a freelance radio presenter but also taking a little bit of time to check out my new home. After spending some time with you guys I have also started writing a book! After hearing Bob saying anybody can give it a go, I decided to do just that! I am pretty sure no one will want to read it but it’s great setting myself a new challenge!

Hey, don’t say that. How many shades of grey is it did you say? :-)  

Share something with me that nobody else knows about Heather.

I think at least one person knows pretty much everything about me! A lot of my close friends know how partial I am to cake….. well my first word was cake! If only it had been lettuce or something healthier, I would never need to count those calories!

And let me tell you at this point that Heather McCallum is a enviable size 10 at the most. You’d never guess cake even passed her lips!

Who would you like/or do share a cup of coffee and a natter with?

This is really hard… there are so many people I would like to sit and natter to. I am always up for a coffee and a natter with anyone, well within reason. Ha ha! If it was a famous person… I reckon Dave Grohl would be a good one. I think he would have some amazing stories but, although ultimately I would love to have a conversation with Ricky Gervais. A few years ago I got completely addicted to his podcasts and again I think he would have some brilliant stories to share.

How do you relax?

Hmmm… Eating cake? I would like to say running but I usually have to push myself out of the door to go on a run! I Love watching films and socialising with my blooming wonderful friends and family. After a stressful day, there’s nothing better than catching up with one of my buddies over a glass of wine.

If you won the lottery what would you spend it on?

I don’t think I could even try and answer this. It used to be a running joke with all of my colleagues. We used to play the euromillions every week and would spend at least half the day talking about what to do with it all! I seem to remember we all googled the car we would like to have and one of us even went as far as starting to order one ha! ha! I think my number one choice would be a ticket around the world, oh and a supermarket sweep, type challenge in Harrods! I would go to the bed section and order myself the biggest bed there and of course a Jacuzzi!

Girl after my own heart, I love anything with the Harrods label on it! Bob says they could sell me a piece of coal and I’d ‘love’ it.  

Are you a savoury or sweets girl?

Well as you know I do love a bit of cake but if I am honest… I LIKE ALL FOOD! Do you know what I really like? A good buffet! There’s always a good mixture of savoury and sweet, you can’t go wrong!

What do you have in your handbag right now?

It’s funny you ask this because I did an interview with an American Psychologist for the show. This Psychologist used to work with people by asking what they had in their handbag. She asked me to look through mine and I had a piece of bread in there, along with a shell, a couple of pennies, fruit pastilles and copious amounts of receipts. I think she decided I was a total scatterbrain!

What’s your earliest memory?

I think my earliest memory has to be on one Christmas eve, I really don’t know how old I was, but I do remember getting out of bed at about three in the morning and running in and waking my big brother up asking ‘has he been yet?’ I don’t think my brother was too impressed.

What’s your favourite smell?

I know its a little clichéd, but I really do love the smell of cut grass in the summer. In fact I love the smell of summer in general, I can’t really explain it but you know what I mean. Oh and Chanel Coco mademoiselle!

What was the last thing you laughed & cried at?

Well I like to have good laugh at least once a day… but the other night I watched the new Ricky Gervais show ‘Derek’, I both laughed and cried during a single episode!

What’s the best advice you’ve been given or best advice you’d give?

Don’t let yourself hold you back. You know those doubts or negative thoughts that we all torture ourselves with sometimes? Well I was asked by a friend once… ‘Would you ever say those things to someone else to hurt them?’ and the answer of course is no. I really took that on board and always try to think positively.

 What’s your favourite band/film/book as a child or as an adult or both?

OK here we go! Neil Young & Blondie, I loved both these as a child and as an adult too, I could go on and list 100 bands and artists more but I won’t bore you. My favourite film at the moment is ‘Drive’ and I am a bit of an old romantic, so I loved the twilight saga books. Oh, and of course your books too! I am looking forward to ‘White Lilies’ the next instalment in the Dylan series!

The prized possession valued above all others Ok, well; it would have to be my phone. I know that sounds terrible but I’m not sure I would be able to survive without it. I read books on there, write, record and catch up with what’s going on in the world; I really do love a bit of technology.

The unqualified regret you wish you could amend?

I try not to have regrets, what’s happened has happened and there is nothing you can do to erase it so move on and learn from it – that’s what I try to tell myself anyway!

How would spend your fantasy 24hrs with no restrictions?

Running up and down the street naked! No… not really, I wouldn’t want to put anyone through that!

The temptation you wish you could resist.

CAKE!

The priority activity if you were the invisible woman for a day.  

I would like to be generally nosey! Wouldn’t it be good to go and spy on the Queen for the day? Or go and look in all those places that are ‘taped off’ to the public for instance at Osborne House. I would definitely like to take a peek in all of those places.

The pet hate that makes your hackles rise?

Rude people! I can’t stand grumpy, rude people. I mean how hard is it to smile? That really grinds my gears. I totally understand if someone is having a bad day, but some people … I’m getting wound up just thinking about it!

The figure from history that you’d like to buy a pie and a pint?

I would like to buy and then throw a pie at the face of Henry VIII. I mean honestly, there’s really no need to go through that many wives!

The piece of wisdom you would pass onto a child?

Oh well, again a tricky one… I don’t have any children but I guess if I did… I would have to say, don’t let anybody put you down, or if they do just ignore them and move on. Oh, and honesty really is the best policy!

The crime you would commit knowing you could get away with it?

Me commit a crime? But I’m such a good girl!!

The song that means the most to you?

Probably Neil Young’s ‘Don’t let it bring you down’ one of the best songs ever written… have a listen and see what you think.

The unfulfilled ambition that continues to haunt you?

Probably becoming a properly paid musician, I mean most of us have dreamt of becoming a rock star. I still have about a year left; Debbie Harry properly made it when she was thirty so that’s what I judge it on. You never know…

 

Heather with the Gold Medal we presented her with! :-)

Me in the studio with Hev @ Isle of Wight Radio -

 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Isle_of_Wight_Radio

& Bob & Hev clowning around!

 

 You can follow Heather @ https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Heather-Mccallum/154391631382218

And Catalist Band https://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Catalist/148427158516203?fref=ts

Feb 17, 2013

Carol’s ‘Close Up’ with Author Steve Christie!

 

Carol Bridgestock

Author Steve Christie

I recently met Steve through a social networking site for authors and it was nice to see how supportive he was to others, which made me want to know more about the man himself!

Hi Steve,

Tell me a little about Steve?


I’m originally from Aberdeen and moved to Edinburgh in the late eighties to do an HND in applied Consumer Studies after I was made redundant from Texaco and have been here since. I have been married for twenty five years and have two sons my youngest is severely autistic.

What are you working on now?


I hold down a full time job but am also hard at work on my second novel.

Okay so now we’re friends share something about the real Steve Christie that others would maybe not know… ;-)  

I play guitar and played in a band in the seventies. looking back on those times now I cringingly remember having some very weird hair styles and some decidedly strange outfits.Oh, I remember the seventies well! I had every colour of leg warmers and a Suzy Quatro hairstyle!

I guess you don’t have much spare time but if you do how do you relax?

I still play a bit of guitar, more into blues nowadays and I love going for long walks around Arthur’s Seat (an extinct volcano in the heart of Edinburgh) with my wife and my Border Collie. And of course there’s the writing.

If you won the lottery what would you spend it on?

 
I think I would buy myself a small farm in the middle of nowhere and spend my time enjoying the piece and quiet. Every thing is so noisy nowadays.

A man after my own heart, that’s why we moved to the Isle of  Wight. :-)

Are you a savoury or sweets guy?
Definitely savoury. Especially if Im enjoying a beer or two. You can’t beat a big bowl of dry roasted peanuts.

You men are so predictable! LOL You sound just like Bob.

What’s your earliest memory?

There’s a few acres of woodland in the Hazlehead area of Aberdeen. My dad would always take the family for long walks up there every Sunday. He had a real knowledge of nature and he would tell us the names of all the birds , trees and plants we would come across during the walk. Although I was quite wee at the time I vividly remember these woodland trips. I often surprise my self with just how much of this knowledge I have retained.

What’s your favourite smell?


Damp woodlands on a fresh Autumn morning.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given or best advice you’d give?

Best advice? Never give up and believe in yourself?

And your favourite book? 

Probably Lord of the rings. I’ve read it a few times now and still go back to it now and again. I suppose that might surprise some people me being a crime writer but I believe if you have a great story with some good characters you can place it into any genre.

That’s really freaky… Bob and I started to watch the Lord of The Rings on DVD just last night…

Who was the most famous person you have worked with and what were they really like?
I havent met a lot of famous people, but I did meet Keith Richard when the stones played Aberdeen many years ago. Seemed a nice guy, very down to earth.

The prized possession valued above all others?


My Guitar collection. It’s not very big but some of them are quite old. Im particularly fond of my vintage Stratocaster and old Martin acoustic.

You sound like Tom our son in law. He plays Base in a couple of bands. Look out for ‘Champs’! :-)

The pet hate that makes your hackles rise?


I hate the way some people punctuate the air with their fingers while telling you stuff.

The person who has influenced you the most?


My wife Audrey who has pushed me when I needed pushing and who has the distinct knack of calming me down when I go off on one!

We have our uses don’t we Audrey? :-) Hi there!

The figure from history that you’d like to buy a pie and a pint? 

Probably Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Simply for this fact. I have always had a great fascination about the Jack The Ripper Murders. I would love to get his take on them. What would Sherlock Holmes do if he was investigating the case? I would love to know.

The unlikely interest that engages you curiosity?


American Wrestling, It’s pure escapism.

The treasured item you lost and wish you could have again?

My dad had a Rolex watch he got while he was in the army in Singapore. He gave it to me and I told him to hold on to it when I moved to Edinburgh, he died a few years ago and no one seems to know what happened to it.

The song that means the most to you?


Gerry Raffertys Baker Street. It’s a personal thing between me and my wife.

The happiest moment you cherish?


The birth of my two sons. I was present at both.

The saddest time that shook your world?

The death of my father was hard but the death of my younger sister shook me to the core.

The philosophy that underpins your world?


Do unto others as you would have done to yourself, I’m a great believer in karma.

Totally agree Steve which brings me to the first passage of this interview… ;-)

So glad we met Steve! Good luck and thank you, I hope we stay in touch!

Now’s your chance to tell the readers all about your novel ‘Good Deed’ and where they can read more about you and order your book of course!

Good Deed is a fast paced crime novel that captures the reader from beginning to end. The gripping story of Good Deed rattles along relentlessly, leaving the reader breathless but enthralled. Good Deed introduces a new Scottish detective hero, DI Ronnie Buchanan, who is certain to quickly attract a legion of fans.

The events crammed into Good Deed take Buchanan from his base in Aberdeen on a frantic journey around all the major Scottish cities as his increasingly deadly pursuit of a mysterious criminal master mind known only as Vince comes to a breath-taking climax back in Aberdeen.

The pace of Good Deed is exceptional and unremitting. It is the kind of book that demands to be read in one sitting, but most readers will be so breathless as the saga unfolds without pause that they will need occasional rests before eagerly returning for more.

 
Where You Can Find Me.
 
 
Book Links.
 
 
 
 

Till next time on Carol’s Close Up!

Ta’ra for now!

C x

 

Feb 16, 2013

Carol’s ‘Close Up’ with Crime Author Graham Smith!

 

 Carol Bridgestock

 

 

Oh, gosh there is so much I want to know about Graham Smith the author and so, I’m sure, will our readers! Now, where to start mmm…

Psss… before we start I know that Graham has orgainsed a ’Crime & Punishment’ weekend event of writing masterclasses, that is certainly a ‘no brainer’ for writers and authors – you can read more about it here or contact Graham directly. (All his contact details are at the end of the interview).

 

 Author Graham Smith

Hello Graham,

You are a writer of novels and short stories I understand. Tell me, your detectives, are they based on someone you know or are they an amalgam of several influences?

I write gritty fiction filled with twists, turns and surprise endings. My influences come from every book I’ve read. The good books have taught me what works and the bad tells me what doesn’t. Particular influences on my detectives have been outlandish characters such as Gene Hunt, DI Roberta Steel, Reacher, Tom Thorne although every mystery I’ve ever read has been absorbed and now filters into my writing. Authors such as Simon Kernick and Matt Hilton whose books are pace filled adrenaline boosts have also shaped my writing. To me as a writer the most important thing I have to do is make the reader desperate to turn the next page. I named one of my characters after my grandfather and some of Grandad’s traits have surfaced in the character.

 Have you ever co-authored a book?

I have only co-authored once and it was on a short story with Rosalind Smith-Nazilli. We have both released our own stuff both before and after the collaboration. I wouldn’t be averse to co-authoring again in the future but I’m flying solo just now.

 Do you find it easier writing alone or with a co-author?

I loved the experience as I threw down the first draft of the story filled with action and Rosie came along and added depth before editing the story into a better shape. Which means I got to do all the fun stuff, leaving her do the drudge. If you will – I built the house but she came along, did the decorating and furnished my house to make a home.

Must be a man trait that’s what Bob does! ;-)

 Did you harbour childhood fantasies about having a book published or did you have other ambition?

I’d always fancied writing something but becoming an author didn’t feature on my bucket list until I was in my late 30’s.

 What kind of research do you do for your books?

Where possible I visit the places I write about to get a feel for the area. My research assistant (Mr Google) is very helpful and while details are important in a full blown police procedural, the crime thriller author can dispense with detailed analysis of forensics in favour of an over view. I also cheat massively and copy down any relevant pieces from the books of others so I can use their “science” should I need to. Obviously I do not cut and paste this stuff, I just save it as my research should I ever need it.

 Tell me about your short stories did you write short stories before you progressed to novels?

I started off writing a novel a couple of years ago and flapped around half heartedly until a friend give me the kick up the backside I needed to write more often. He also introduced me to short story writing and I flipped between the two for a few months before getting the impetus I’ve needed to concentrate on finishing the second draft of my novel. However there are a bunch of short stories in my head which are demanding to be told.

 Have you ever written anything other than crime?

I’ve only ever written crime but I have looked at it from all angles. Fast paced thrillers, psychological nerve shredders and the odd standard police story mixed up with mystery and of course “what if?” scenarios.

 What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received and who gave it to you? And what advice do you, in turn, give out to writing hopefuls?

I’ve been lucky enough to speak to many authors and they have all said much the same thing. Read a lot and write regularly to hone your craft.

 Your covers are very distinctive and eye-catching. Did you any input into their design?

I’m very lucky that I have a friend who is a graphic designer and he does my covers after I give him a rough outline of what I want. He never fails to amaze me with his fantastic designs.

 

It’s a heart stopping moment when you see a cover of your novel for the first time isn’t it.

How long does it take you to research and write a book, where do you start?

As I am only writing in the evenings or on days off it can take me a year to write a book with some time spent doing research. My day job as the general manager of a hotel and wedding venue keeps me very busy and I am also a director of a Destination Management Organisation for tourism in Dumfries and Galloway. I’ve also organised a weekend of crime writing master-classes at the hotel I run and I’ve taken on the role of publicist for a crime festival in a local town. Couple all that with a wife and young son, my reviewing for www.crimesqaud.com and the CWA and there isn’t much time left for writing.  More info on these events can be found at www.crimeandpublishment.co.uk and http://www.moffatbooks.co.uk/events.htm

 You’re certainly a busy bee! I don’t know how you have the time to write. Respect! What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?

I can write almost any time of day but I find that late evening when my wife and son have gone to bed is a good time for me. I put the telly on low in the background and pound the keys for a while.

 What’s your favourite nibble whilst you’re writing? Are you a savoury or a sweets guy?

I don’t nibble when I’m writing as I don’t like oily or food coated  fingers anywhere near my laptop and I’m such a messy eater I would surely spill onto my keyboard.

 Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?

I do everything on the computer. I have a spreadsheet for characters with their physical attributes and I have a chapter list which I use to record a two or three line synopsis of each chapter after I’ve written it. Zoë Sharp gave me this tip and it is invaluable to me for editing and recordkeeping purposes as it saves one hell of a lot of scrolling back to find out eye colours or other points I can’t remember.

I do something similar as I use the Modus Operandi sheet that we used in the police force – works a treat!

 What do you draw inspiration from? Is it actual cases?

I draw my inspiration from all kinds of places such as the news, overheard conversations and throwaway lines I’ve heard. I also like to dismantle jokes and reassemble then as a short story. Punch-lines are often good because they come from nowhere and as a writer I love having a twist in the tail of my tales.

 Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write such as word count?

I try not to set goals as such and while I do keep an eye on word count I tend to not write unless I have at least an hour to concentrate. In this hour I aim for a minimum of 500 words but I have been known to start writing at 11.00pm with the aim of writing for an hour only to discover it is suddenly 3.00am and I’ve hit over 3,000 words.

 Do you own an eBook reading device? Which do you prefer a paperback or an eReader?

I have a Kobo eReader which I enjoy using and find very convenient. However it will never usurp the love I have for physical books. The feel smell, sight of them will always trump and electronic toy, however good it may be.

My thoughts exactly, how anyone can relax reading an electronic device amazes me!

 Who are some of your favourite authors and what are you reading now?

Authors who climb automatically to the top of Mount To Be Read are Stuart MacBride, Matt Hilton, Lee Child, Peter James, Chris Ewan, Simon Kernick, Mark Billingham. This list could continue until I wear my fingers away on the keyboard.

I’m just about to start reading So Low So High by Pete Sortwell. Pete is an online buddy of mine and a publishing stable mate of yours. SLSH is his debut novel and I’m very excited to be reading it ahead of everyone else. This is one of the best things about being a reviewer. Free books before they are even published.

Great idea Graham! :-)

 Are there any particular writers who have influenced your writing?

Every writer I’ve ever read has influenced me by letting me learn what is good and what is bad about writing. Since I started reviewing I have learned how to dismantle a novel into various components and this knowledge is invaluable to me as a writer.

 What do you think of book trailers?

I don’t tend to pay them much attention to be honest. I think that they may or may not work for some people but I get new books sent to me from publishers all the time. My reading choice is influenced by the words on the book cover. Be they the synopsis on the back or the name on the front that is what I use to select my next read. As a reviewer I NEVER read someone else’s opinion of a book until I have read the book and written my own review as I would not want my own opinion influenced.

 How do you come up with the titles of your books?

I just think about the content and then find an appropriate title. Gutshots: Ten Blows to the Abdomen and Eleven the Hardest Way are short story collections which do exactly what it says on the tin. Harry Charters Chronicles was a no brainer for me as it encapsulates the noir private eye stories of yesteryear which is the subject of that collection.

 Can you tell us a little about what you’re working on now?

I’m working on the second draft of my debut novel which has a working title of “The Ironmonger’s Error”. It is about a middle class couple whose children are kidnapped to force the father to pay his gambling debts. The police are unaware of the kidnapping until halfway through the novel and are pursuing two different spates of thefts.

Sounds great!

 Tell me a little bit of something about you that we haven’t already learned about Graham Smith.

I used to play rugby for South West Scotland Schools and I was in the team the first time SW Scotland beat both the Ayrshire and Borders Teams. I have played darts against Jocky Wilson and Mike Gregory and I once punched Emu on the nose.

Great stuff! :-) I love asking people that question!

 More about Graham and where you can ‘find’ him:-

Graham Smith is married with a young son. A time served joiner he has built bridges, houses, dug drains and slated roofs to make ends meet. For the last eleven years he has been manager of a busy hotel and wedding venue near Gretna Green, Scotland.

 An avid fan of crime fiction since being given one of Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books at the age of eight, he has also been a regular reviewer and interviewer for the well respected review site Crimesquad.com for over three years.

 He has three collections of short stories available as Kindle downloads and has featured in anthologies such as True Brit Grit and Action: Pulse Pounding Tales as well as appearing on several popular ezines. His first collection Eleven the Hardest way has been longlisted for a Spinetingler award.

 He can be found at any of these places on a regular basis

Twitter – @GrahamSmith1972

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1316200537&ref=tn_tnmn

Blog – http://grahamsmithwriter.blogspot.com/

 Amazon Author Page

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Graham-Smith/e/B006FTIBBU/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_1

http://www.amazon.com/Graham-Smith/e/B006FTIBBU/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

 Goodreads

http://www.goodreads.com/grahamsmith

  

This is the first part of the Harry Charters Chronicles

 

Detecting Malicious Murder

 

This is how it started…

Ignoring the knock on my door, I reached for the bottle of rye. I’d already had too much but the headache making my eyeballs throb wouldn’t treat itself.

‘Either let yourself in or beat it.’ I yelled.

The door creaked its way open to reveal a broad I knew from way back. In fact I’d known her when she was merely narrow. Now she was the broadest broad in the whole damn neighbourhood. She’d kept the pretty face she’d been blessed with although the years were smoothed away by the extra pounds. Five kids in four years had smashed the hourglass figure which had once entranced every man she met.

‘Your ghosts can still find you when you’re inside a bottle.’

‘When I put the bottle inside me I can’t find them. Now why are you here?’

‘I want you to find out if my Bert has been alleycatting it.’

This is what my life had become. Trailing errant husbands and frightening bad debtors. For some years I’d been one of the top private dicks in town. Then a case had ended badly for all concerned. Now I kept company with Jim Beam and Jack Daniels while feeding the habit with the kind of moronic jobs I used to pass to my underlings.

‘Who’s he been walking alongside?’

‘I’m not sure but I think it may be the girl from the garage.’

 

Graham it has been a real pleasure to talk to you today – you’ve been brilliant.

Good luck with the upcoming event – only wish we could make it but we’re 300 miles away. Maybe next year we could try fitting it into our annual book signing tour in the north and staying at the hotel too. :-) I am so looking forward to reading the ‘The Ironmongers Error’ in paperback very soon!

Ta’ra for now,

 Carol x

Titles by Graham Smith

 

 

It’s Thursday! It’s ‘Read’s Ramblings’! Look At Me!

 

 

Janet Read

 

LOOK AT ME

 

Standing tall, feeling small

 

Is that a problem issue?

 

Thin as a latte but feeling fat

 

 As light as a 2 ply tissue.

 

 

 

Don’t eat too much or not enough

 

You need to look your best.

 

Diet and exercise will help you slim

 

But you must do the rest.

 

****************   

Cupcake!

‘Carol’s Close Up’ with newly published author Maggie Jones!

Carol Bridgestock

I am very pleased and proud  to post a ‘Close Up’ today with Maggie Jones.

Maggie was a great  Deputy to me at the ‘Wight Fair Writers Circle’ for nearly five years and so it was with great pleasure that I passed on the role of Chair to her at the end of last year. Maggie is a prolific writer and I am very happy and excited to say she  has just become a published author of short stories!

 Maggie Jones

First of all Maggie, well done you! Short stories are hard to get published and I know you’re as pleased as punch to have two stories now published and one story accepted on alfiedog.com. People can find you on the site through your name can’t they?

Yes, that’s right and they are only 39p so it won’t break the bank.

So come on Maggie tell us all how on earth do you manage to juggle working, writing being a wife and a mother?

I’m a magician :-)  No seriously I somehow find the time during the evenings and at weekends to do my writing.  And my husband, Graeme is great helping out with the housework, and cooking.  My daughters are at an age now where they don’t need too much from me, apart from  an odd  ’taxi’ at four in the morning!

What inspired you to write?

A few things have happened to me in my lifetime, and I found solace in writing about them.  I started off with writing poetry and then progressed to writing short stories and a few novels.

Who do you admire in the literary world?

I know this is where I am supposed to say the literary giants like Keats, Dickens and the Bronte Sisters, but I just love chick flick, and adore reading Sophie Kinsella, Jane Moore, anyone slushy like that.  I’m also a fan of Jackie Collins, her and Jilly Cooper, were my favourite authors when I was at school. I also like Crime & Intrigue, and my favourite writers of that genre are R C Bridgestock!

:-) That’s great news for us! Who do you consider your mentor?

I suppose my mentors would have to be my English teachers.  When I left school, I didn’t achieve much in the way of qualifications, apart from in English.  My teachers encouraged me to read and write.

Where do you work? Do you have a regular pattern or routine?

I work at Ryde Academy as a Science Technician.  I’m lucky in that I only work three days a week, so on my days off, and at the weekends I tend to be sat on the sofa with my little purple laptop doing as much writing as I can.

What are you working on now?

I have recently finished a novel, ‘The London Boys’ and I am trying to find a publisher/literary agent for it.  Also I have been working on a lot of short stories that I have written over the years, whilst thinking of  new ideas for some  short stories to send to my publisher at Alfie Dog, an e-book publisher, www.alfiedog.com

Share something with me that nobody else knows about you?

I got married  in a registry office, and I just brought an ordinary dress, nothing special.  But the one thing I would love to do, even now, is go into a bridal shop and try on something white and floaty.  Even at my age.

Who do you like sharing a cup of coffee and a natter with?

I like catching up with colleagues from a school  I worked at on the island before it closed.  A lot of them retired, but one of them went to France and set up a camping businesses.  She was on ITV last year on a programme called ‘Little England’. We all got on so well, just like one big happy family, and I miss working with them now. 

 How do you relax?

I like going for  long walks or reading a good book.  I also like sitting on the sofa with my laptop, and watching the telly whilst typing away.  I especially like watching old black and white movies, much to my children’s horror.  They remind me of happy times when I watched them with my Nan. 

What would you do if you won the lottery, what would you spend it on?

I would spend it on my wonderful family, making sure that my girls had a house each.  Also that Graeme got that motorbike that he yearns for, and I would also see my sisters were looked after.  And friends, who are like family to me too, I would make sure that they were alright for the future.

Are you a savoury or sweets girl?

I am definitely a savoury girl.  Any crisps, cheese biscuits, cheese straws, cheddars, etc you get the picture!

What do you have in your handbag right now?

This question took me an hour and half to answer, as by the time I had emptied my bag and looked at all my rubbish, I meant all my wonderful things, that’s how much time had passed.  I have a purse, keys, (car, house, work,) hairbrush, driving licence, makeup, receipts, tissues, two pairs of reading glasses, one pair of sunglasses, cheque book, credit cards, mobile phone, sore throat sweets, inhalers, hand cream and my diary.

What’s your earliest memory?

When I was aged four, upstairs in bed one evening, my dad came home from my Nan’s shop with some ice cream.  He shouted at me and my sisters to get up and come downstairs and have some.

What has been your favourite year and why?

I have quite a few favourite years, but I think the best year for me was 1987 when I married Graeme.  I can’t believe we have been married for over 25 years!  The time has simply flown by, he is my best friend.

What’s your favourite smell?

My favourite smell is Lilly of the valley.  It reminds me of my Nan who used to wear the perfume.  And Mrs Foord, who lived over the road from us, grew them, and always picked a bunch for me for my birthday, as they only come out at that time of year, being a spring flower.

What was the last thing you laughed/cried at?

I cry at sad films…  My daughter and I went to see ‘Les Mis’ last week, and at the end of it she asked if I liked it.  I loved it, but was so choked up, could only nod at her.  As a family we are always laughing and joking with one another and taking the mickey out of each other, but in a fun way.

What’s the best advice you’ve been given or best advice you’d give?

The best advice I would give about writing is believe in yourself and what you are writing.  Go with your gut instinct. 

And another bit advice I would give is in winter, if you are going to wear a vest, wear big girl’s knickers and then you can tuck your vest into them.  This will keep your back nice and toastie! 

What’s your favourite book/Film as a child/adult?

My favourite book(s) are Jackie Collins, The Lucky books.  I absolutely loved reading them when I was at school.  I have so many favourite films, but as a child I used to love musicals and going to the pictures with my Nan to watch them.  I think my favourite film as a child was ‘Hello Dolly.’  One of my favourite films I love now and only watched a little while ago is ‘It’s a wonderful life,’ with James Stewart.

Where can people contact you Maggie?

I am on facebook and linkedIn as Maggie Jones

Thanks Maggie for speaking to me today. Good luck with your writing for you work so hard you  fully deserve your success.

C x

 

 

 

FREE – Monthly Short Story from ‘The Wight Fair Writers Circle!’ www.iowwritingcircle.co.uk

The Wight Fair Writers Monthly Short Story!

‘The Adoption’

By Trudy Draper

Trudy also writes Trudy’s Talk Back see www.iowwritingcircle.co.uk

 

 

We married young and didn’t want children for a long time.  Life seems endless when

you are only 18 – careers first, children later.  We had a plan, a sensible plan.  Young

people usually have an idea of what they want from life; unfortunately life doesn’t always

follow the same path.  That’s what happened to us.  Life made its own plan for us.

 

My career came to an abrupt end with redundancy raised its head.  Not in the life plan at

all; never mind we could alter our plan and have children now instead of later.  Getting

pregnant proved not as easy as you would think.  It took several years for me to get

pregnant; why so long?  I didn’t know; I became pregnant eventually so life on track at

last.  Just ten days later, ten unbelievably joyful, ecstatic, hopeful days later it was

all over.

Baby was no more; all lost in a moment.  Not in our plan at all.  In the shortest time

possible all our dreams were shattered and all our hopes gone.

After the miscarriage the doctor said: ‘no children for you.  Try adoption.’

What was he saying?  This made no sense and it was certainly not in the plan either.

Everyone and anyone could have a baby; babies arrived when they were not wanted;

whey they could not be cared for and were neglected.  Our baby was wanted and would

be loved so where was he?   We had to have a rethink.  Could we love a child not born to

us; would we feel the same about a baby not linked to us by blood?  Major questions

meant lots of talking.  We decided adoption would be fine so decision made, let’s go and

get a baby.

 

Adoption 2

 

This route to parenthood proved to be very slow indeed.  Talking, talking, always talking

– where was the baby we wanted?  Not in this office or at this meeting; why were we

kept waiting?

‘There are not many babies available,’ said the adoption worker.  ‘Would you consider

older children, a sibling group or a disabled baby?’

What was this?  No baby, after all the talking, no baby – our plan was in shreds.

We only wanted one tiny, tiny baby but none was in the picture or even on the distant

horizon.

‘We only place about 12 babies a year from our agency.  Everyone wants a blue eyed,

blond baby and they hardly ever exist,’ the social worker sounded sympathetic.

We were not put off even though the adoption agency was not very optimistic.  It had

taken two years of letter writing to even get an appointment.  We thought we were half

way to having our baby now we were inside the agency; now we are being told the

baby did not exist.  Why had we been put through this torture if we were chasing a

rainbow?

Everywhere I looked there were mothers and babies.  Mothers shouting at babies – did

they have to pass an exam to get one?  No, they were lucky and did not even know it.

We had passed the exam.  We had sailed through all the interviews, expected adoption

panel approval and a certificate to prove we would be good parents; we just didn’t have a

baby to practice on.

Adoption 3

 

I tried not to think of adoption and it problems every waking moment but it was hard.

Life went on and we had to cope with brothers and sisters having children; with friends

getting married and a baby straight away.  We had been married for over 10 years and

everyone assumed we did not want children. It was a difficult secret to share with anyone

else.  In fact our years together in a stable marriage were used against us by one social

worker who thought we were too set in our ways and a baby could disrupt us and put a

strain on our marriage.  We were only in our 20s!

We carried on meeting the adoption agency; we had to bare our souls; meeting after

meeting talking, talking about adoption and what it meant.  No one who was half hearted

about adoption would ever get to the final panel.  And I suppose that was the whole point.

The agency had to make sure we were really serious.  It was like having a two year

pregnancy with no guarantee of a baby or child at the end of it.

We talked about adoption of older children and we decided that the only thing we could

not cope with was a handicapped child.  Having a disabled child naturally was one thing,

but taking on a child knowing it might always be dependent; might never leave home;

could never achieve the usual milestones of childhood and adulthood; that was an entirely

different kettle of fish.  We knew we could not do it.  We said we were sorry if we

sounded inadequate; we had to be honest.  The agency said we had to be truthful and it

was not a failure.  They were very kind but we still felt like the Nazis wanting a pure

race and felt we had let down all the unknown disabled children looking for homes.

We went before the panel and were approved for adoption.  We had confirmation we

would be good parents and had the diploma – still no child.

 

Adoption 4

 

The agency as ever kept our feet on the ground and said we could have a two year wait

before we were offered a child.  The process had made me become a very patient person.

So we got on with life again.  We had many friends, lots of Godchildren, loads of

nephews and nieces and we were happy but something was always missing.

I thought I might be pregnant again but I had not done a test as we were told it was

impossible.  But today I couldn’t put it off any longer and I carried out the test;  it was

positive.  Happiness was tinged with one worry – would I lose this one as well?

Then, out of the blue a few days later, the phone rang and I picked it up not knowing my

life was about to change.  It was the adoption agency.

‘We have a baby boy; would you be interested?’ was the startling inquiry.

The agency had expected to place the boy somewhere else but the family lived near the

baby’s natural family and that was against their policy.  So we were being offered him.

I could not take in anything after her first inquiry. ‘We have a baby boy, would you be

interested’ and had to ask her to repeat the rest.

My nerves were tingling, my head was about to explode.  I shivered in anticipation and I

could not take it in.  Years of wanting and yearning all over in a second.

‘Yes, we are interested,’ was my inadequate reply.  I did not mention the pregnancy or I

might not be allowed to have this baby.  I could not risk ending up with no babies.  After

years of famine I now faced a glut of babies.  Two in a year.

‘You will never believe it but he is the healthy, blue eyed, blond boy we told you did not

exist.’

 

Adoption 5

 

I didn’t care what colour his eyes were; what was she talking about?

‘When can we meet him?’ that was all I wanted to know.

‘Come to the office on Wednesday.’  It was as simple as that.

We then realised why the adoption process is so intensive.  We were about to be given a

helpless bundle, a vulnerable child and the agency had to be sure we were the right

people in every way.

Wednesday seemed to be forever arriving.  I woke at 5am on Wednesday and was ready

hours early.

We walked into the office and were told that we could meet the baby but if we did not

want him then we must say so.  There was no pressure.  The baby was brought in.

He was placed in my arms.  I hugged him to me.  Ecstacy.

 

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