Thursday, 25 April 2019

Inspiration for Devils Pursuits

After I had finished writing Devil May Care it wasn't long until lightning struck twice and I was inspired to continue the saga, taking some characters forward into a new life. It was obvious to me which characters I wanted to continue writing about but I also wanted to stretch them, give them new challenges and to do this I took a darker turn.

Littleborough Car Wash
Inspiration for Devils Pursuits first death
I was travelling through the local car wash in Littleborough, watching the rollers come towards me, when I thought of how weird it was to be sat in one box, inside another larger box and feel so detached from the world so briefly. Anything could happen. I then saw vividly how a mysterious death was the way forward with my next novel.
Hare Hill Park, Littleborough






Hare Hill House, Littleborough 
The following day I took a shortcut through my local park on the way to the shops when I spotted an unusually small grave in the middle of a small patch of grass. I hadn't noticed it before despite the numerous times I had passed this way before. At first I was appalled, thinking it had to be a child's but then I read the inscription and was intrigued.

When I returned home, I looked online for info. Mephisto had been a pet monkey of the owners of Hare Hill House in the late 1800's. One night he escaped and climbed to the rooftops before falling to his death. Somehow, I knew I had to use this in my novel and it wasn't long before another outing provided further inspiration.
Skipton Castle Central Courtyard, South Yorkshire

The following week me and my family went to Skipton in South Yorkshire for the day where we spent a memorable afternoon in the castle there. I remember sitting beneath the tree in the courtyard and looking up at the huge tree overhead. The courtyard is beautiful but also strangely atmospheric. My thoughts were drawn immediately to how I could place my characters in a similar setting and then the scandalous events to bind them together. I couldn't wait to get started.

Chaucer & Cheese, Devils Pursuits

Of course my courtyard couldn't be in a castle so I knew that one of the characters I wanted to take forward from Devil May Care was Tommy the chef. My courtyard became part of an old vicarage and Tommy was following his dream of owning his own bistro-cum-bookshop...Chaucer & Cheese.

Devils Pursuits, Caprice 

I had the bones in place and now I needed the flesh. I also needed a temptress and so Caprice was born. The fiery red-head who thinks only of herself and how to get what she wants. Red devils are not always what they appear to be. Caprice had to have depths to explore and her connection to another new character, Mr. Phestoz (Mephisto for short) had to be a mystery for all my characters, new and old, to get to grips with. Each of their lives would be impacted by these two new characters and their strange game.
The photo opposite was one of my own concoction. I'm behind the mask. My temptress was created by the author, me.

I now had a setting, characters and a basic story direction. I spent quite some time exploring who my new characters are and I placed them in the same rooms to see what they would say to each other and how they would react before I began writing my novel. Using material I had prepared and was happy with I found that the real magic began once I had introduced a supporting cast. Their dialogues and reactions to the events unfolding around them almost wrote themselves. It was an absolute pleasure to be the fly on the wall.

Littleborough Canal,Winter
Littleborough Train Station
Devil Pursuits ended the only way it could and Littleborough train station provided a key. It was a cold winter morning when I took the journey that Caprice makes. After I had returned home and finished writing my final chapter I knew that it would be extremely difficult to let Caprice go. She was beyond complex and I knew she had a story that still hadn't been told. Little did I realise then how it would take me a few years to realise what that story would be. Crushing Curiosity is Caprice's tale but it is also the tale of an even greater evil to be encountered. I then evolved into a thriller writer.

LINK TO MY BOOKS

Amazon Review of Devils Pursuits

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Pretty Hot Books

I was interviewed by Pretty Hot Books and am pleased to see it is now live as well as a feature on my latest thriller Crushing Curiosity.
Denise Greenwood

LINK TO MY AUTHOR INTERVIEW


Thursday, 28 March 2019

Inspiration for Devil May Care

Hall of Mirrors, Southport
The idea for Devil May Care, my first novel, came about unexpectedly. I was in Southport, a seaside town in Northern England, when I decided to walk into a small Hall of Mirrors. I hadn't been in one since I was a child and for the couple of minutes it took to walk around the tiny hall I was transported back to my childhood memories then, something odd happened. Although my physical image was altered grotesquely I had a distinct feeling that the person inside I was looking at was an alternative self, the self I may have been if my life had turned in a different direction. It was an unsettling yet exhilarating feeling and I wanted to explore it so I made some initial notes about it.

Littleborough, Lancashire
When I returned to my home at Littleborough I passed this sign and remembered the first few months after moving here and how it used to be, an old mill town situated at the western slopes of the UK South Pennines. It had a population of 3,400, most of whom had been born and raised within the sound of church bells. Now? add another 10k to the population and it will grow considerably over the coming few years. New housing estates are sprawled across land that was once lush and green. Roads are jammed with cars. The hills and moors still surround the town centre but for how much longer?


St. Barnabas church, Littleborough, as seen through the cyclists gate

The Littleborough I know became a rich source of inspiration and a walk to my local church, St. Barnabas provided the final push for the ideas that were consuming me. While listening to the vicar struggle with a concept he was trying out on his elderly congregation I was reminded of the priests I grew up with and their often contradictory behaviours. My first character was born, the Reverend Jacob Alecks. I began to assemble my experiences and knowledge of the people I grew up with and project how they would cope today. What if one of them was overwhelmed, too young to cope and about to explode?
The gravel path to St. Barnabas, a scene for Chapter 1 of Devil May Care.
Before the birth of a new character I had to create the death of another and I used experience to help me. This is the gravel path where another of my characters, Cory Farris, a young boy, witnessed his father's death. He would become the thorn in the Reverend Aleck's side. I now had two strong characters I could form a story around and all the time I would have that Hall of Mirrors in mind.
Devil May Care, saint or sinner?





The devil may care. It is an interesting notion and one I explored as I wrote. Far from being a horned beast, my devil is the ordinary man or woman. Will he/she be a saint or a sinner? I took the following photos myself. A few tricks of the eye can bring about a surprising result much like that Hall of Mirrors.


A public breakdown - Devil May Care
I had to push my Reverend Alecks and all the characters around him to their limits in order for them to experience their own Hall of Mirrors. I won't go into all their individual trials and tribulations here, you will have to read Devil May Care but my Reverend Alecks had the raw end of the deal. He had to experience a public breakdown in order to face his devil and do battle. My experience of comedy clubs in the eighties came into its own. I knew what it was like when the person on the stage loses it and how the audience reacts. There were greater themes on Reverend Alecks' mind than a knock-knock joke or topical witticism about sex or politics.
A choice to make or be made? Devil May Care

He then had a choice to make or, was it made for him? That would become apparent in my next novel, Devils Pursuits which delved deeper and then entered a word of death, manipulation and sordid scandal.

Paperback and eBook

Devil May Care is a book from the heart and soul. It is the first step to a much darker world and my characters walk a thin line. My experience in Littleborough provided me with enough material to create a further novel and then....another but by then I had decided to fully enter a world of evil, explore and see what came out. Crushing Curiosity, my third novel did. It isn't light reading although there is dark humour throughout.

What's next - wait and see!

LINK TO MY BOOKS


Friday, 25 January 2019

The Beaten Track - January 2019

January has flown by with a mixed bag of weather, as expected for Northern England at this time of year. It is a month for reflection, planning ahead then several false starts at getting back into the swing of things. I'm currently balanced on that see-saw of bursts of high activity versus daily routines. It may be time to step off and find another way of finding equilibrium.
The daily news is disturbing. Social media is disturbing. People are becoming more disturbed. As a writer of disturbing stories there is plenty out there to inspire a dark tale but sometimes it is wiser to ignore the playground of screaming kids and find that one area where silence leads me to an even darker truth.
Misty view from my garden Jan 2019

Living in such a picturesque place helps. Living high up helps. The petty cares of petty individuals, the daily news, melts away.

Fog gathers around my garden Jan2019











January appealed to my dark side but I'm now looking ahead with a vengeance. We had snow this week. It lasted for one day and was quite beautiful to look at as it nestled on the tops of the surrounding moors but I soon tired of it. Looking at it through a window then walking in it are two different experiences, particularly when it is just a spattering and ices over. My garden however, is an oasis. Sheltered enough for a micro-climate. I had this to look at while the snow was still clinging to the hills around me.
First crocus of the year
My pink helebores flower Jan til Sept


My white helebores flower from Dec

They remind me that Spring is next, my favourite time of the year. No matter what the daily news tells us, no matter how mad people get about the slightest thing, no matter how society de-evolves, I only have to look out my window or take a walk down the road and look around me to see the things that endure. Will you remember today's news in a months time? Will you care what latest celebrity puts their foot in it because they dare to have an opinion? No. Will you remember that walk you took in icy snow and descending fog? Yes. You will remember the sound your shoes made when they made contact with the ice. You will remember the uncertainty of placing your feet firmly. You will recall the dampness of the fog and how it muffles reality around you. Strange shapes disguise the familiar.

On a lighter note....I have a new family companion. Meet Woody who is just seven months old. He has only been with us for a few weeks but it seems that he has been here forever.
Woody the Wonder Dog

Woody likes his walks and so do I. We pass houses where dogs sit on window ledges or on blankets covering the tops of settees and look out but never get a walk. Woody experienced snow for the first time this week. He couldn't understand why his paws were making holes in the snow so he stared into one for a long time before attacking it. Speed-boating around the garden forced snow up onto the tip of his nose and when he became cross-eyed he fell over. I'm sure there's a lesson in there somewhere.

Todmorden Park last Sunday


Todmorden Park


Last Sunday, before the snow, we visited Todmorden. Not only does it have a good flea-market and book stall, it also has a wonderful park and Woody loved it. Even in Winter it looks good.

All the recent walking, the extremes of weather then coming home to a warm house and frothy coffee have made my January a memorable month. My plans for the year ahead are now set. I've dusted off my laptop, opened a new notebook, made lists of all the ideas to come to me during the month and my new novel awaits completion. New ideas will take it into a new direction. I hope your January has been as eye-opening as mine.





Thursday, 3 January 2019

Another Happy Reader

Review from Amazon US

It's always great to end the year on a good note so thank you to the US reader who took the time to post a great review of my thriller Crushing Curiosity on Amazon and Goodreads.

I wish all my readers (old and new) a very Happy New Year! 😊🙌

Friday, 28 December 2018

Paperback / Kindle only £1.22. US Kindle $1.54

Are you fed-up with TV over the festive/New Year period? Then dare you live the day of a killer and his next victim?

Paperback / Kindle ONLY £1.22. US Kindle $1.54

In this extraordinary thriller a man with an unnatural obsession yearns for a perfect victim but a chance encounter then challenges his patience, perspective and strict lifestyle. Misunderstandings transform a deadly relationship between two unique characters while they both face danger neither suspect.
This disconcerting story will provoke your emotions as the killer's personality is revealed and his victim's true plight is uncovered.
AMAZON PAPERBACK/KINDLE - THRILLER/CHILLER
LINK TO AMAZON UK