My official reaction to Ian Brady’s death

I have been asked to give my reaction to Ian Brady’s death and I would just like to say that after all the research into his disgusting crimes I thought I would be glad, but now all I feel is more sorrow for the families of his victims, especially those who will never know the truth. My heart goes out to them tonight and always.

 

Alan Garner, books and me: growing up in other worlds

I never could have imagined how opening books as a child would have an effect on the rest of my life. Long before I heard of Tolkien’s Hobbit, I went hand in hand with Alan Garner’s Colin and Susan to Alderley Edge in the pages of The Weirdstone of Brisinghamen.

I would have been about seven when I first read that book. I was a solitary child, so Colin and Susan became my first imaginary friends. I couldn’t have known then that I was accessing retold folklore and how this would affect my own journey.

The Weirdstone of Brisinghamen, like so many other children’s fantasy stories and books, is a quest narrative. In this case, Susan and Colin carry a tear shaped gem to safety. Inspired by an ancient story local to Alderley Edge, The Wizard of the Edge, they are helped by the Wizard Cadellin to overcome many obstacles.

I devoured Garner’s books and begged my parents to take me to Alderley Edge, where I was sure that I would find Cadellin and the Owls. I never went there as a child, but as an adult I visited and re-imagined the Weirdstone story locations. When, in 2012, Garner released the final book in the triolgy, Boneland, I was delighted and reviewed it here. It closed an episode for me, and helped me to understand how these stories had influence my interests in life.

Between my first reading of the Weirdstone and reading Boneland I read Lewis and Tolkien, Pratchett and Gaiman, Atwood and Thomas. In the background of my reading were ancient tales, picked up and rehashed in modern terms, telling me about good and evil, morals and ethics.

In particular, the Weirdstone talked to me about wizards, witches, dwarves and elves and normalised these for me. Impossible, according to reason, my parents and my Sunday school teacher, but, at the edges of my imagination, where reality frays into fiction, the truths were already blurred, making me question the overarching narratives of my early teenage years.

I know now that this opened my eyes to the world and helped me to have a wider viewpoint. Garner’s stories helped me to imagine and to develop what would later become an understanding of stories and what they do by telling and retelling over the centuries. To grow up in other worlds, which made this world more interesting. To understand the past and how other people had imagined it.

My adult imagination connected Garner’s imaginings, with local folklore at its root, with the legend of King Arthur, and Merlin as the Wizard of the Edge, as many have in the past.

I’ve never met Alan Garner, but every time I pass The Merlin pub on my way to Chelford I remember the Weirdstone and Susan’s bracelet and how a little girl sat on her bedroom window sill in Oldham and imagined the world.

The Road to Publication: My Book Deal Moment…

It’s Christmas 2016 and I’m making list and checking it twice – a list of literary agents. It’s taken me two years to write my latest novel Perfect Ten and now, after much polishing and reading, it’s time to send it out to try to get a book deal.

I’m no stranger to submitting novels to agents. This would be the seventh time I had sent a novel out. I’d honed my list of agents to those who had encouraged my work but I was still undecided about sending out another novel. I’d successfully completed a Kindle Scout campaign in 2016 and had two crime novels published by them which were doing fine, so why bother?

My publishing rationale has always been to explore all avenues. I’d enjoyed being published by the lovely people at Elsewhen Press and by Amazon imprint Kindle Press, but this novel didn’t fit either of those publishers. It’s a psychological thriller/women’s fiction crossover so I thought I would try for a suitable home.

I sent Perfect Ten out on 3rd January 2017 and sat back for the usual two to three-month wait while agents scrutinised their slush pile. But I started to get responses from agents the same afternoon asking for full manuscripts, which I sent. I’d taken an extra day off work and when I returned to my desk on the 5th January my phone rang and it was Judith Murray from Green and Heaton Literary agents. She loved the novel and was eager to meet up the following Monday.

Judith is a super-agent with an impressive track record of working with authors such as Sarah Waters and Lucy Atkins and I was only too pleased to travel to London to meet her. We had a wonderful lunch and I just knew that she as the right person to represent me. She was passionate about the novel and we talked for hours about it and the plans she had.

Over the next weeks I worked on Judith’s notes. I had offers to meet other agents but I had to refuse. Judith and I were on the same page and as we went forward with the novel we agreed that she would represent me and send the novel out to editors.

It was very exciting – even more exciting than I had dreamed about all those years. The novel went out and there was interest and we accepted an offer from Sara O’Keefe at Corvus Atlantic Books. I went to meet Sara and her team at their offices in Bloomsbury and they are absolutely wonderful. We talked about plans for Perfect Ten and about a second book and I knew that this was absolutely the right home for my writing.

I have a two-book deal! There was champagne,  apricot souffle and tears of joy. I cannot explain what this means to me. After ten years of submitting manuscripts and some near misses it all happened so quickly. It’s been a long road and even though I am compelled to write it’s been difficult at times. I can’t thank Judith Murray, who has become a lovely friend as well as my agent, enough for her hard work and dedication in finding Perfect Ten the perfect home. And thank you to Corvus Books for believing in it.

Perfect Ten will be published in Spring 2018 by Corvus Books.

 

New Cover for Random Acts of Unkindness

It’s Kindle Press’ 2nd anniversary, and the 1st anniversary of the publication of Random Acts of Unkindness, so Kindle Press have kindly revamped the cover.

I love it! What do you think?

The past year since Random Acts of Unkindness was published has been extraordinary. The book itself has caused lots of discussion and this week I’m going to address some of the questions that have been asked about it.

I the meantime, thank you to Kindle Press and thank you to everyone who bought Random Acts of Unkindness and Playlist for a Paper Angel so far.

Random Acts of Unkindness (DS Jan Pearce Crime Fiction Series)

I’m delighted to announce…

…that I am now represented by Judith Murray at Greene & Heaton Literary Agency.

It’s been a wonderful start to the year with a warm response so far for my next novel. I sent it out at the beginning of January and met Judith. Later that week she agreed to represent me.

This is a very exciting time and I will post updates as I have them.

 

Happy New Year!

It’s the start of a new year and I woke up on the 1st of January to find out that Random Acts of Unkindness was in the Australian Amazon top 10! I also got the news that it will also be included in the US Amazon Prime Reading Program for three months from January, so with Playlist for a Paper Angel released on 27th December and making its mark I can reveal my writing plans for 2017.

My big news is that the prequel to the DS Jan Pearce series will be released at the end of March. It’s called Paper Dolls and tells the story of how Jan came to work in Manchester. If you would like to know more about this and receive updates about the DS Jan Pearce series please sign up to my mailing list on the right panel of this page.

I am contributing to two anthologies in the first quarter of the year. One of them has a theme of new beginnings and will be released in the spring, and the other one is a sci-fi anthology.

As well as all this, plans are in the pipeline for a psychological thriller that is newly finished – more about this in future posts.

For now, thank you for all your support in 2016, particularly with my Kindle Scout campaign that changed my life. All the best to you and your in 2017.

 

Publication Day for Playlist for a Paper Angel!

It’s finally here! Playlist for a Paper Angel is published today!

The sequel to DS Jan Pearce novel Random Acts of Unkindness, Playlist for a Paper Angel finds Jan still searching for her son, Aiden, when a small child is found alone in the street.

 

‘One child found, one child missing – what’s the connection?

DS Jan Pearce is still searching for her missing son. When she finds a little girl, Elise, alone in a pram in a busy town centre, she must unravel a mystery that takes her to the edge of her emotions. Then another child, Dara Price, goes missing.

Lisa Connelly, Elise’s mother, has been forced into a life of prostitution and has been leaving her little girl alone. Her gangland boss is holding her prisoner but she wants her little girl back.

Jan finds herself balancing her search for her son with finding Dara. Her right hand man, Mike Waring, is on another case so she and her temporary partner, profiler Damien Booth, must solve the puzzle and find Lisa before time runs out for Dara.

Playlist for a Paper Angel is set in Ashton-under-Lyne, Oldham and Saddleworth. Featuring the moors as a backdrop, Jan is joined by Dr Damien Booth, a profiler on a secondment from London, to help her solve a missing person case.’

The ebook version is published today – if you haven’t read Book 1 Random Acts of Unkindness yet it’s on sale at 99p at the moment so snap up both books for under £5.

Look out for the prequel to the series which will be published in March 2017 and Book 3 later in the year.

 

 

Countdown week – meet the Connellys

The Connellys are inspired by the criminal families that often rule over housing estates and communities. They don’t commit crime in person, but have a legion of hangers-on who are their proxy.

Sean Connelly is the ringleader and the successor to his father, Frank Connelly’s criminal Empire. Mr Connelly Snr was the founder of The Gables and the terrible things that happened there in Random Acts of Unkindness. He was the kind of man who found life’s flaws and exploited them to make them even worse.

Sean Connelly has expanded his cruel empire to kidnap and abuse and in Playlist for a Paper Angel we meet one of his employees, Brian Jameson and the true extent of the Connelly wrongdoings is revealed. 

Lisa Connelly, the narrator of one strand of Playlist for a Paper Angel, was married to Sean Connelly’s nephew Declan and has an in-depth insight into the family business, which is why she is hiding.

 

In the third DS Jan Pearce novel, to be released later in 2017, we meet Moira Connelly, Sean’s wife, and find out how she has managed to live her life with the full knowledge of what was happening to the children of Northlands.

 

 

Countdown week – meet Lorraine Pascoe

Lorraine is the family liaison officer for Jan’s department. She’ makes sure that everyone is looked after and that everyone is in the right place at the right time.

She’s understanding but not a soft touch. She and Jan have worked together from the beginning and they know each other well. They used to go out socially, but since Lorraine has met her partner Diana they don’t see as much of each other.

Lorraine plays a big part in Playlist for a paper Angel. She knows Jan is shaken from Operation prophesy and she advises and defends her.

Lorraine is a soul girl through and through, but she loves anthems as well. She loves Beyonce, Gladys and Aretha but is at home with Robbie Williams and Billy Joel.

Lorraine Pascoe’s playlist

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Countdown week – meet Mike Waring

Mike Waring is Jan Pearce’s partner in (solving) crime. They’ve been partners for years and have the kind of synchronicity that only two people who work constantly together can have.

Mike’s got a soft spot for Jan but he loves Della and their kids. Della’s jealous of his and Jan’s relationship and she lets everyone know. Mike doesn’t mind, but he tells it like it is.

He’s a decent man an believes that his mission in this world is to shut down criminals – he’s worked hard on difficult cases to get where he is today.

Mike is born and bred Manchester and he’s never left. He goes to the football and the Arndale and loves Madchester music. In his younger days he frequented the Manchester clubbing scene but these days he’s happier at home.

Mike features in both Random Acts of Unkindness and Playlist for a Paper Angel.

Mike’s playlist:

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