One to Watch: how a mystery novel grew from a photograph

I can still recall the exact moment the idea for One to Watch sprung to mind. In fact, here’s a photograph from my notebook. As you can see, the Kay Hunter series was in the planning stages for quite some time before I set out to release it to the world!


Image shows a close up of a notebook with the original premise for One to Watch written down

“TPP” is the three-letter acronym I was using for this particular story idea at the time.

It stands for “The Purity Pledge”.

What triggered the title?

A fascinating photography collection by Swedish photographer, David Magnusson.

Magnusson had published his collection of images entitled Purity through Bokförlaget Max Ström in 2014, but for some reason I didn’t stumble across it until early 2016.

When I talk about the power of synchronicity with regard to my writing, this is what I mean.

I was immediately drawn to the images posed by young girls with their fathers. I didn’t set out to write One to Watch to criticise anyone’s faith, and I don’t wish to be drawn into any discussion about religion. However, I was fascinated by the slightly unsettling photographs because the whole concept seemed so alien to me personally, and I wanted to explore it further.

As I read more about Magnusson’s relationship with his photography subjects, and then researched more about how the “purity pledge” movement grew in the United States, and the promises the fathers make as part of their daughter's pledges, I developed the idea of a teenage girl in England taking a “purity pledge” – only to be found murdered hours later.


Cover for One to Watch 3D with Spine showing

One to Watch is released today, 6 June 2017 and is available from eBook and paperback retailers worldwide, including:

Amazon US

Amazon UK



If you’d like to read the original article that inspired the story, you can access it here:

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