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Having read all of the novels and novellas in the DI Frank Lyle series to date, I am most impressed with how much attention to detail you have given all of your characters, both main and supporting.
I like how although each novel features a new case, the story arcs of the characters are moved forward, which gives those that enjoy the series something to follow alongside the main plots.
You were in the process of writing the next novel in the series when you had the idea for this and found that it needed working on, before you could move on.
Do you have all of the back-stories and further story arcs mapped out for all of your characters or do some of the story arcs get spurred on by plot points from the plot ideas you have?
Sometimes I know what will happen to the characters before I know who has got murdered and why. Some story arcs do get spurred on by what happens in the main plot. For example in Murder in the Wings I suddenly had the idea of making DS Fox (DC Fox as he was then) left handed as he was able to demonstrate that a right handed person could not easily have murdered David Marlow. I’m right handed myself, but I have a sister who is left-handed.
What gave you the inspiration for this novella and why do you think the need for this story was so strong for you?
Whether we admit it or not where and who we come from is important to us, hence the increased interest in researching our ancestry in recent years. I think that every main fiction series has a dubious origins storyline at some point and so I decided to make DS Fox the subject of mine. I have come to know DS Fox extremely well in the course of the last couple of books and i just had an overwhelming desire to tell his story. He is probably my favourite character if I’m honest. I felt that diluting it as part of the story arc in a full length novel would not do either the story or the character justice mine. He has already been through a lot recently, but what doesn’t kill us makes us stronger.
Will there be many further references to the main story arc from Old sins cast long shadows in the next novel, the ending of the novella certainly hinted that DI Frank Lyle might have a few questions of his own?
Yes there will. I will have to make a few adjustments to what I have already written of Dead on Arrival to accommodate it. Well, all DI Lyle wants is for James to be happy and he technically sees Thomas almost as a son-in-law although civil partnerships don’t even exist at this time.
What made you set the DI Frank Lyle series in the past. Do you have a particular affinity to the time period?
Well I wanted to write about a time when people actually talked to each other rather than communicating through the Internet and mobile phones etc. I turned 18 in 1993 when the story has currently reached. Also forensic technique wasn’t as advanced then as it is now which meant more scope for mistakes.
You clearly research your stories well, do you have particular sources you like to call upon?
I was put in touch with an organisation called NARPO (National Association of Retired Police officers). I met a lovely copper through that. Retired PC Alistair Melling has helped me a lot as he was serving at the time of the DI Lyle series. We met for coffee earlier this year and got on brilliantly. I also have fellow author Paul Trembling to call on as he’s a real life CSI and he helps me with technical stuff. I read and watch all the crime related stuff I can get my hands on. Type 1 Diabetes has featured in the storyline a few times, but that of course I can write about from personal experience.
Do you have any hints to what is in store for the next full story?
Dead bodies, revenge and drama. Also could romance be on the horizon for DS Mark Slade and will Almira Desai also find new love? Will DI Redfern’s wife, Tanya, have her baby okay and will Aidan O’Malley finally get his just desserts? I’m afraid you’ll have to wait and see.
Could you share a small excerpt from the novella?
It’s hard to find one that doesn’t give away something major. This is from the Prologue.
A frantic couple of hours passed while Barry waited. Finally a man in a white coat had come over and introduced himself as Dr Wishart.
“My wife,” Barry’s throat was dry.
“Dr Fox, I’m afraid that your wife has suffered a miscarriage, but I’m sure you know that.”
“I realised that was what had happened, but this will devastate her, she takes things like this to heart.”
Barry was shocked when Wishart’s face turned pale.
“God man, what is it? What is wrong?” Barry exclaimed.
Wishart lowered his voice and led Barry to a quiet corner of the waiting area.
“I’m sorry Dr Fox, but the damage caused by the miscarriage was too great so we’ve had to perform a hysterectomy. If she was to get pregnant again it could kill her. I’m so very sorry.”
“Have you told her?” Barry asked in a voice that didn’t sound like his.
“Not yet, she’s not come round from the anaesthetic.”
“Do you mind if I tell her, being as I am a doctor? I think it might help me deal with it better if I explain it to her.”
“That’s fine Dr Fox, and I am truly sorry.”
Where can people buy the book?
This Amazon redirect link will take you to the appropriate Kindle store for your country.
You can also find it in paperback form at Lulu.com as well as ebook format on Kobo, Nook and apple itunes.