My first novel, WHITE GOLD, was published back in 2011 and a lot has changed since then.
From a business perspective, it's now easier to find readers with the advances in technology that retailers like Amazon, Kobo and Apple Books have implemented – boy, was it hard starting out when Kindles were new!
Something that hasn't changed for me over the years is the determination to keep honing my writing craft. I hope those of you who have been on this journey with me for a while have noticed my growth as an author, because I've loved writing each and every one of my stories.
It's the best job in the world.
I didn't set out to write a psychological thriller this time around, mind – I've got projects lined up in my production schedule through to the end of 2020 and beyond, so it's not as if I was twiddling my thumbs. It's just that when a story idea socks me between the eyes, I have to write it down because I can't concentrate on anything else until I do. The exact same thing happened when the idea for Scared to Death started knocking around in my head in early 2016.
Therefore, when I started writing THE FRIEND WHO LIED, I learned all I could about the sub-genre of psychological thrillers. Not just reading more books, but reading every single interview I could find with some of the most successful writers in the genre. I turned some of my favourite reads inside out, learning how the stories were constructed and how best to capture the tension that underlies this type of novel.
On top of that, I went back to school. Between the end of October and the end of January, at the same time as moving house and attending a publishing business conference in Las Vegas, I undertook three separate writing classes to up the ante on what I'd already been doing. I knew that writing and publishing a standalone novel in one of the hardest genres I've ever attempted would take something special to make it work for you as a reader.
The writing courses taught me how to trust my characters even more than I had been – to let them lead me through the story, rather than creating a plot structure (as I do with the Kay Hunter novels to keep track of the police investigations!). Dean Wesley Smith calls this "writing into the dark" and you can read more from him here.
It was a bit scary to change my ways, but I came out the other side of the assignments with more writing skills under my belt than I could have ever expected – and it was a lot of fun!
So, in between settling down here in Dorset and publishing BRIDGE TO BURN in January (Detective Kay Hunter 7), I learned, I wrote, I grew as a writer.
It's been an amazing experience, and I can't wait to share THE FRIEND WHO LIED with you in just a few days’ time!
(There's still time to pre-order the eBook of THE FRIEND WHO LIED and save 50% before publication day on 9 June. Just click HERE to find a list of retailers, including Amazon, Kobo, Apple Books, and Google Play.)
Print and large print formats are available to pre-order, too and will be made available to libraries worldwide.