New Friends

How long does it take to truly make friends with someone - to properly get to know them?

It's a thought I pose when I'm taking writing courses. As with many good questions, there isn't a single or simple answer - it can range from weeks to decades. And with some people - you may never truly know what goes on inside, and why.

I'm thinking about this now, because I've been working on a new book, one for young adults. Which means I've had to create a whole new cast of characters, all from nothing.

It's not been a... Read more

A killing question

An excellent question was posed of me when I was giving a talk at the Crediton Community Bookshop at the weekend.

It was this - why do crime writers so very often seem to choose murder as the basis of their plots?

I suppose (he says, after some thought) that it's because it's the most heinous of all crimes, at least so the legal profession thinks - murder demands a statutory life sentence, the only question is the minumum term in jail.

Perhaps it's to do with selling yourself as a writer. If you're going to interest a reader... Read more

Real books

There's a big shift going on in the publishing world at the moment - more of a landslide, really - with the advent and growth of ebooks.

You can read pages and pages of agonising from people who think they're armageddon for writers, and just as much from others who believe they're a boon.

My own view is that they're simply another advance, just a new trick of technology, because they don't change, at heart, what writing is all about.

In my humble thoughts, it's down to telling stories. We've been doing it since language evolved, sitting around the camp... Read more

Pride in the Darkness

There's a kind of email of which I get quite a few, but it never makes me feel any less proud.

I received one such last week, and wanted to mention it here.

It's partly, I suppose, because the days are growing ever darker and colder, and it's that combination which can trigger an old and familiar foe.

I'm talking about the swamp, adversary of so many, and often in an unspoken way.

The email was from a chap who had been kind enough to read the tvdetective books. I won't use his name, of course, but he got in... Read more