Blog -


A mix...

Lots to talk about, and no one dominant theme, so -

First of all a whinge at the elements and the irony of fate.  How come the weather's been great for most of the week, then it gets to the Bank Holiday and it's raining?  How unfair is that?

Still, it's made me resolve to get some writing done.  I'm just going through the plot, characters and outline for the book for next year, and it's shaping up nicely.  This is one of my favourite phases of writing, playing with ideas. 

The Balance of Guilt is still on course to come out in September.  The publishers are currently going through it, to suggest any amendments, check for inconsistencies, and all the usual grammatical errors I tend to litter first drafts with.  Regarding the consistency issue, it can be very important - did I mention I once killed a character twice?!

Several more questions have come in by email, some in response to my last post about which of the tvdetective books is my favourite.  It seems to have amused you!  I'll get round to answering them over the next few weeks when I post more blogs.  Don't forget, if you have a question, you can get in touch via the contact page of the site -

Finally, it's the Charles Causley festival in Launceston next week, and I'll be there.  Do come along if you fancy it, it should be fun.  There are more details on the events page -

In the meantime, wishing you a fine Bank Hols weekend.  I'm off to see The Wurzels on Sunday and can't wait.   They're great, pure westcountry entertainment!

Read more

My books

You lot do ask some great questions.  Here's one of the best I've had -

Which of your books is your favourite?

Like most fine questions, it's a tough one to answer.  So I'll say this.

After much thought, I've come to the conclusion that telling you which of the tvdetective series is my fave would be akin to a parent revealing which of their kids they liked the most.  It just can't be done, it wouldn't be fair, all that kind of thing.

I know my books are supposed to be inanimate and lacking in consciousness, but I just can't stop myself worrying about how the others would feel if they thought I didn't love them as much.

Does that make sense, and is it a passable answer, or is it more Hall nonsense?!  As we're talking questions, I'll leave you for now with that one...

Read more

Charles Causley festival

I love being invited to give talks at events, but some are a particular honour.  The Charles Causley festival is one such.

I've always been a huge fan.  At risk of boring you, it goes back to my schooldays and O level English.  We were given Causley to study. 

Now, as a 14 year old, in full teenager cool/strop mode, I suspect you can imagine what I thought of that. But I tried reading some of the poems and was immediately hooked.  I love his way with words, his gentless and delight in the countryside, but also his reflections on his life in the navy, with all that could mean.

To this day, Causley remains one of my favourite poets.   I suspect his influence may also have helped attract me to Devon and Cornwall, so I have much to thank him for.

Anyway, I shall be doing a talk at the festival in a couple of weeks time (June 5th), and it will be a great honour.  There are details on the News page -

There's a whole programme of events for the festival - I'd thoroughly recommend trying one and getting a sense of what a wonderful poet - and man - Causley was.

Read more


I'm off to the Devon County Show tomorrow. 

I love the show for so many reasons.  At its heart, it's a great tribute to the south west's wonderful farmers, a stoic bunch whose important work isn't always appreciated.  All our fine food and drink producers are there too, and so many other companies and organisations - it's a showcase of all that's best about Devon.  And there's lots of it.

It's also a great place to pick up ideas for new characters, plots and quirks for the TV Detective books.  I've got some thoughts about future stories having countryside elements, so if you see me wandering around, looking thoughtful, that might be the reason.

Or it might just be sampling too much of the fine fare on offer!

Here's hoping for the blessing of good weather, and a great 2010 show.

Read more


Thanks to everyone who came along to pick up a copy of the TV Detective series in Taunton yesterday.  It was good to meet you and have a chat.

It was also heartening to hear how many people had already tried one of the books and enjoyed them.

Another amusement was the number of chaps I met, walking fast around the store with one eye on their watches, trying to get the shopping done in time to get home for the FA cup final! What predictable creatures we men can be.

One more thing to mention here - I've just checked my diary and been reminded that national Crime Fiction Week is in a month's time.  I'm doing a few events, details are on the News and Events page -

Do come along to one, if I'm at a venue near you.  It'd be a pleasure to see you.

Read more


A note for your diary, if you'd like a signed copy of one of the tvdetective books.

I'll be in Waterstone's in Taunton on Saturday (15th May) at 12.30 talking about the series, and scribbling my often illegible scrawl on any that you'd like autographed.

It's the first time I've done a signing at the store, so I'm looking forward to it.  Hope to see you there. 

There are more details on the News and Events page -

Read more

First lines

A question has arrived, and it's a very good one.

How do I write the first line of a book?

It's one of those lovely questions which sounds simple, but is in fact very tricky. 

I'm a sucker for first lines.  They're so important and can be so memorable.  Whether it's the best of times or the worst of times, bright cold days on which the clocks strike thirteen, or just an invitation to call me Ishmael, they can stick in the mind always and lure you into a book.

So, to answer the question - I spend lots of time on first lines, but don't get bogged down by them.  I write one which feels appropriate, but then move on and try to write the rest of the book.  However, as I'm going along, and particularly when I review how the novel is going, I'll often think about the first line and whether it can be improved.  It almost always can.

I'll commonly think about it at other times too, like when I'm having a run or driving.  At a rough estimate, I'd say my first lines usually change around ten times in the course of drafting a book. 

If you've got a question, you're very welcome to ask and I'll try to answer it - you can get in touch via the contacts page of the site -

Read more

Bank holiday

I like Sundays - they're a fine time for relaxing and plotting a bit of murder (fiction only!) - and even more so when they're accompanied by the prospect of Monday off as well.  Yeah!

The ideas for the next book are still shaping up well, so I shall do some more work on them today.  This is one of my favourite times in the writing process, just letting the imagination run and seeing what it comes up with. 

I estimate probably about three quarters of the ideas I have end up being discarded as not working, or being too limited, or perhaps just plain daft to make a book, or even a part of it.  But I enjoy working through them anyway.

And quite often in the comfort of a good pub - purely for research purposes, naturally.  Being able to look around and pick bits of character from people...

One more thing to mention here, and it's a big thank you - to all the people who've read The TV Detective, got in touch with their comments and posted reviews.  I appreciate the feedback and am glad that almost all of you seem to have been reasonably entertained by my latest scribblings.

If you want to see some of the comments, you can do so via the books page -

Wishing you a fine and enjoyable bank holiday...

Read more

Blog archive