The official website of Crime Writer and BBC Crime Correspondent Simon Hall
Simon Hall is the BBC’s Crime Correspondent for the South West of England and the author of The TV Detective novels, in which a television reporter and a detective work together to solve a series of extraordinary crimes.
His books have been warmly praised as a fresh, distinctive and highly entertaining approach to crime writing. Simon’s new novel, The Dark Horizon, has just been released and received with great pleasure by readers -
Its predecessor, Shadows of Justice, is a story of the fearful lengths that victims of crime are forced to when the law fails them. It too has been much enjoyed by readers -
Its forerunner, The Balance of Guilt, is the story of a shocking terrorist attack in a sacred place, the murky world of spies and the secret service, and an intricate conspiracy. It’s the first of the novels to be based outside of Plymouth, and has been lauded by the critics.
Simon's previous novel, The Judgement Book, was named by Eurocrime as one of the top reads of last year. Some reviews
There are more details of all Simon's novels on the Books page.
A prequel has been released, about how Dan, the TV reporter, and Adam, the Chief Inspector, met. The TV Detective is based on Simon's first attempt at writing a novel, A Popular Murder, and has been rewritten and published due to public demand in finding out how the pair began working together. It's the story of the bizarre murder of a notorious businessman and has been applauded by readers as a highly enjoyable way of filling in the gaps in the characters' story.
Simon is currently working on two new books in the tvdetective series, which have been commissioned by Thames River Press. The first, a story of a murderous battle between generations, is due for release next year. The second, a tale of the final attempt to solve a notorious 25 year old mystery, is scheduled for release in 2015.
The popularity of Simon's work is growing quickly. He's been invited to give talks at a series of prestigious events, including the British Crime Writers' Association Annual Conference, the Agatha Christie, Daphne du Maurier, Appledore, Poole and Reading Crime festivals. He also holds workshops on the art of novel writing, something Simon admits often teaches him more than the audience. He's proud to have been invited to the Swanwick Writers' Summer School as the specialist crime writing tutor, the Winchester Writers' Festival, the Geneva Writers' Group, and to lecture about his work on international cruise ships.
Simon's writing combines modern, complex and cunning mysteries with a behind the scenes taste of the life of a TV News reporter. There are jealous newsroom rows and precious egos to navigate, chaotic live broadcasts to present, and angry and emotional interviewees to placate.
The books also provide a fascinating insight into how the power of television can be used to help catch criminals, something which is much more common than many people realise.
Despite being far from a child of the internet age, those who know about the brave new world have persuaded Simon to begin writing a blog, something he has now confessed to actually enjoying. The latest is featured below, with previous entries on the blog page. There, you can also sign up for a feed of the latest blog. It'll keep you up to date with Simon's writing, events, and occasional whimsical musings on any topic which happens to be entertaining him. He's even begun Tweeting.
You can follow him @thetvdetective.
At the request of a dramatics company, Simon has adapted a tvdetective mystery for the stage. As part of his commitment to raise money for good causes, he's made the play available for free on the condition that any money raised goes to a local charity. If other dramatics groups are interested in putting on the play, they can get in touch with Simon via the contact page.
Simon has also begun teaching creative writing and storytelling in schools, something he finds hugely satisfying. 'I love working with youngsters because of the sheer challenge of it. You just never know what they're going to ask, or how they'll react to some of the games I like to put in the sessions,' Simon reflects. 'But I very much believe the world of words should be fun, and it's such a wonderful feeling to fill young people with the joy of books and stories and to help them to love reading.'
The TV Detective site will take you on a tour of Simon's work, tell you about his latest events and give you an opportunity to get in touch.
Simon Hall welcomes you to his website.
Creating characters is one of the most important parts of writing, but I don't think you can do it well unless you can really see the person.
And that's the whole picture - from hair to lips, midriff, hands, pants and shoes, even the way they walk.
Happily, I've developed a simple trick for making sure I have a comprehensive vision of one of my imaginary friends.
I always base their appearance on someone I know.
Now, I know the way we see people can vary wildly -
This caricature that was drawn for an article, for example; I'm not at all convinced it captures my classical good looks (hmmmm) etc..
However, back to my way of seeing characters, and they just have to be a person you've had a chance to study, even if - and this is the fun part - they have no idea of that.
The policeman in my tvdetective books is based on a real life cop. He's tall, lean, very smart, clean shaven and a little tempramental and I still regularly see him to this day.
The bully in my new book is based on a girl I knew (and avoided) at school. She had horrible, pitted beetroot skin, stank of fags, wore a permanent snarl, talked with her fists, and radiated darkness.
My favourite piece of character theft of the moment is a security guard in my seventh novel, The Dark Horizon. He's a squat bulldog of a man, eyes too close together, an utterly unwarranted swagger, and a general sneer for life.
He's based on a chap at my gym, which always makes me smile every time I see him (and that only seems to make him sneer all the more, oddly enough.)
On a professional level, these visions help me to build living characters. But I must confess... sadly...
That on a personal level, I really enjoy the petty revenge.
There's just one more thing to mention for this ramble, and it's a warning from the writer's omerta -
If you should choose to use my characterisation trick, then never, ever let on who you're thinking about.
It could mean a law suit, or, if you're writing about one of the nasties, something far worse!
Simon is delighted to have been asked to return to the Appledore Book Festival in North Devon at the end of September and start of October.
He'll be giving a talk about the tvdetective...Read more
Simon is delighted to have been asked to take a day's course in how to write a book - Novel Writing from Planning to Preparation - as part of the celebrations of the opening of the new Exeter Libra...Read more
Simon is delighted to have been asked to return to three Writers' Summer Schools in 2014 to teach the art of writing a novel.
He'll be at the Winchester Writers' Festival in June, the Writ...Read more