Writing this today is really one of those ‘pinch me’ moments. Have I really just had my eighth book published? Me? How is that even possible?
The Death of Justice is the fifth book in my DI Bliss series. It’s a series that continues to enjoy a loyal readership and, if recent comments and reviews are anything to go by, one gaining new readers all the time. This latest book has garnered some of my best ever reviews, and many people who have read all five books consider it to be the best...so far.
For several different reasons I have a soft spot for my other three novels, but it’s definitely DI Jimmy Bliss and DS Penny Chandler who appear to have struck a chord with readers. I do enjoy the challenge of having a series. There’s a nice comfortable feeling when I’m picking up the characters again, but the task then is to not only develop them but to also create fresh storylines to keep readers interested and entertained.
I don’t pretend to address social issues in my work. Occasionally that happens, because if you try to write authentically then it’s inevitable that real-life situations will arise as the stories unfold. But I don’t include a specific character trait in order to make a social point, I don’t write about situations because I think it will score points for taking on social injustices. I have nothing whatsoever against authors who do – I just choose not to. If it happens it happens, but I won't force anything.
What I do endeavour to achieve is reader recognition. By that I mean I get a great kick out of reviews or comments from readers who say they have become emotionally involved with characters, or that they could ‘see’ or ‘feel’ scenes and situations when reading my work. They recognise what they are reading because it feels real to them, even when events occur which they themselves could not possibly have ever been involved in. When a reader tells me they felt as if they could have been part of certain scenes, or that specific events brought them to tears or, conversely, made them laugh, then I feel I’ve done my job.
Having recently completed the first draft of DI Bliss #6, I now know that a seventh – at the very least – will follow at some point. I have no idea how much steam my Bliss books have in them, but sales will not dictate when I choose to end the series. I hope I will know when the time is right, that I will recognise the point at which it becomes stale. The response to The Death of Justice and my own feelings about it and the next one tell me that time has not yet come.