Like most stories, it started with a conversation. I was discussing phobias with a friend, recalling how, as a child, I became afraid of dustbin men, only to find out decades later from my mother that the police had visited our house and searched our dustbins and cellars for victims of the Moors Murders.
I researched this terrible crime and realised that most of the reporting around it was almost obsessively concerned with the lives of the murderers with little focus on the families of the children who were murdered.
Random Acts of Unkindness explores the ripples of despair that crimes such as this cause for everyone involved. In one strand of the novel we meet Bessie, whose son Thomas is missing in the 1960’s. Bessie’s life is taken over by the search for her son in the era of the Moors Murders.
The location for the novel is in the area where I grew up so I was able to work with real locations such as Ashton-Under-Lyne, Oldham, Manchester and Saddleworth Moor. I was also able to create the fictional world of Northlands Estate. Whilst researching around the real location and talking to people about the Moors Murders, I detected a sense of reluctance to talk about them, something so terrible that it couldn’t be spoken about, and I hope I have conveyed this through Bessie’s character.
Another strand of the story features DS Jan Pearce. Jan is a hard working, single mother juggling her police work with raising a child. Jan polices on hard facts and instinct. She sees patterns everywhere and pieces together puzzles. Her unique policing skills come into their own when her own son is missing.
Jan and Bessie are opposites in many ways, but they have one thing in common – their unwavering devotion to finding their missing children.
In the run up to publication I’ll be posting photographs from the locations and part of my research in to the Moors Murders. I’ll also be posting about how I pieced the story together and the motifs I used.
I’ll also be organising a blog tour – please get in touch if you would like me to talk about Kindle Scout or publication on your blog, or if you would like to review Random Acts of Unkindness.