My latest Sherlock Holmes short story Miss Violet Dixon (deceased)

My latest Sherlock Holmes short story Miss Violet Dixon (deceased)
The front cover created with Gimp with help from Aubrey Watt on You Tube.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

It seems like I always start off my blog with a mention of the's wall to wall battleship grey and very wet at the moment!

I would like to talk a little more about my writing and I would like anyone who reads my blog to send me a comment about novels being at least partly factual. What I mean is, in my genre of 'Thriller / Mystery" the action may be set in real places that exist/ed. In my Sherlock Holmes novels there is a lot of hokum to generate a story line but places, events and in some cases people really existed at that time.

In the new novel that I am writing which is set in 1889 London, an antique Chinese bell on loan from the Chinese emperor is stolen from the Victoria & Albert Museum. Clearly this location exists but the story of the loan of the bell does not! I try to make the story fit the dates, the name of the Chinese ambassador is real as is the time frame for the emperor and the details of the bell and how it was made is also true. It takes me weeks to research things like dates, places, people, correct stations for journeys, railway companies etc. etc.

At the end of the day, does it really matter? Will the average reader care if the year isn't right or the train for Exeter didn't run from Paddington Station or the London Great Exhibition wasn't in 1861?

To me as a writer, I think it does matter. I enjoy the research and it is a bit like a giant jigsaw where I pull pieces of information together to develop the plot. Indeed, sometimes I have to rewrite the plot to fit the history! It would really niggle me if it wasn't right. Maybe it is me being a bit OCD and a Virgo to boot! My dining table here is littered with sheets of A4 that have print-outs from historical sources which I have annotated. Thankfully, we have few dinner parties here in rural Brittany and this pile of paper and my laptop can remain on the table for much of the time.

This morning I had a surprise when I looked on Amazon to see where my anthology was in the rankings. I was amazed to see that in the Historical Thriller section it was at No. 5 in the 'Hot New Releases' list and at No.26 in the Top 100 'Best Sellers'. Wow! A big thank you to all the folk who have bought my books at Amazon and Smashwords. If you haven't bought a copy of Sherlock Holmes Fireside Collection, trot along to Amazon and search either for me or for the title and treat yourself!

Have a great week,

Dick xx

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