A starting point

Where do you start with writing a book?

I haven't answered a reader's question for quite a while - apologies - but just that inquiry came in a couple of weeks ago, and it chimes with me at the moment, so let's give it a go.

The problem is that there's no easy answer.  I suppose the way I think of it is that it all starts with the idea.  And that can be anything; a place (as with Evil Valley), a character (as with Dan for the whole of the tvdetective series), or a plot (as with The Judgement... Read more

Technology, manners and a most enjoyable rant

Adam is very dear to me in the tvdetective books.  He's often frustrating, with his uptight, moralist ways, but there's one of his views - a bugbear in fact - with which I very much agree.

It's the issue of manners, and particularly regarding new (ish) technology. 

I mention it because I was on an outside broadcast last night, and was sitting in a bar, having a coffee (yes, I do mean coffee, I don't drink when I'm working - my brain is slow enough these days without the extra addling input of alcohol) and writing what I was... Read more

Theatrical goings on

Oh, what a wonderous week of theatrical events.

Wednesday was the headline act, the first get together of the cast of An Unnecessary Murder, for the first read through of the play. 

I found myself abuzz and agog with excitement all day.  Despite the passing of more than a few years since childhood times, I remain a big kid at heart.  The only way I can describe it was like being a child on Xmas morning.

I still can't quite come to terms with - (1) that I've actually written a play, (2) that people who know about these... Read more

An Englishman Abroad

Finally I find a spare moment to cuddle, and when we've finished our sweet and rare embrace, to reflect upon my trip to Geneva.

What a fine time!  Lovely people who made me so very welcome - many thanks to all in the Writers' Group - and a wonderfully beautiful place.  There's something that swirls the soul to being surrounded by ice-dusted mountains in a perfect blue sky. 

The contrasts are both stark and amusing / frustrating. From the English transport system - train to Reading late, bus to Heathrow late, plane to Geneva late, no one apparently surprised... Read more


One of the many great things about writing is how much you can learn about yourself.

Traits, ideas, principles, beliefs, themes that you may have been vaguely aware of, knew were about somewhere in your character, can be sharply focused when you come to set them down in words.  I never knew how truly sceptical I was about the British justice system, for example, before I wrote about it, and out came...

Well, I won't spoil it for those of you who haven't read the tvdetective books (first aside here - what are you waiting for?! Chop chop!),... Read more

A new world

Auditions for the play - an Unnecessary Murder - start tomorrow, and I'm going along, to help choose the cast.

This is a curious sensation, to say the least.  How much help I'll be is very debatable.  I still think my knowledge of the way plays work, how actors do their bit, and all the nuances of the stage world is approximately sufficient to fill an egg cup, and one which still contains the egg.

But what it certainly is - for me at least - is jolly exciting.  I suppose part of the reason I became a hack is... Read more

Little people, big feelings

I haven't answered a reader's question for a while, so I thought it'd be a good way to start this year's blogs.  I hope no one is even for a second imagining I can't think of anything else to prattle about?!

That wouldn't be so, in fairness.  There's lots going on - the play, the trip to Geneva, ideas for a new tvdetective book - but it was such a penetrating question, which made me reflect hard, I thought it deserved a reply.

It was this - why does Dan never mention, nor even think about children?  And further, given... Read more