The idea for this one came to me a few years ago. I even wrote the first dozen chapters or so. I then got side-tracked and set it aside until I could focus on it properly and take it in the direction I thought the idea warranted. I had a great deal of faith in both the plot and the characters, but piecing it together required more attention than I could spare at the time. It was an intricate storyline with an equally
complex timeline. I really liked the idea, but the truth was I did not think I could do it justice at that point in my life.
Ultimately it became a real test for me as a writer, and a bit of a risk as well. I had never attempted what is essentially a fast-paced action thriller, and in eventually settling on writing it mostly from the first-person POV of the main character, I had moved way out of my comfort zone. I have to say, however, that once I settled down to completing it, Scream Blue Murder pretty much wrote itself. The words flew out of my head and I couldn’t wrestle my fingers away from the keyboard. I felt energised by the process, and enjoyed writing this book more than any of the others. There was just a sense of gung-ho freedom in taking on a risk and testing myself. During that period, every morning when I woke up I could barely wait to gulp down a cup of tea before joining my characters again. It was a hugely pleasurable experience.
Some people don’t understand what I mean when I say the characters often take on a life of their own. Either that or they think I am exaggerating. After all, I’m the author, those characters are my creations, so I must dictate everything they do. Except that, there are times when it simply doesn’t go that way. There were so many occasions when I was happily typing away, certain that I knew where I was taking things, when suddenly I’d find myself writing something I had not planned, the characters in those specific scenes seeming to drive the story on rather than me. It’s hard to explain, but certainly that was how it felt to me at times – especially with this book.
As a lover of the genre, I decided to contact two authors whose works I admire and felt would ‘get’ my work more than others might. Not only did both agree to read it, but to my huge pleasure and gratitude, both were also willing to provide a really positive quote to use for publicising its release. Their generosity was overwhelming, and is something I will never forget. I knew going in that the market for these type of books was not quite as hot as that of, say, psychological thrillers, and that my sales might not match those of my previous two books. But it was a book I needed to get out my system, and I was thrilled when Bloodhound agreed to publish. I got some great reviews for Scream Blue Murder, and it also featured in a number of ‘book of the year’ lists from bloggers. I felt vindicated by that, and am so glad I took on the challenge.
I began this book thinking of it purely as a stand-alone, but long before the end I already knew I was going to write a sequel and possibly more. Why? Well, you have to enjoy writing in order to put yourself out there. You also have to enjoy the process if you’re going to spend hour after hour, day after day filling those blank pages. And I knew I would enjoy bringing some of the characters from Scream Blue Murder back for further adventures. Whether or not I’d receive the same level of support from readers, I don’t know. But the one thing I am certain of is that Mike Lynch and Terry Cochran from this book will appear again.