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Jessica Daniel release dates and world building

Monday, February 16, 2015

Between February 2013 and January 2015, six Jessica Daniel novels were released. That’s a book every four months!

I’ve long thought crime books in particular could be easy to churn out for a lazy writer. The structure could be retained, change a few names and settings, chuck in a couple of new jokes and, hallelujah, a new book has been created.

Whenever I start plotting a new Jessica book, I go out of my way to try to come up with something new. For instance, some readers tell me Behind Closed Doors is their favourite Jessica story because of the emotional element and the structural change; others don’t like it because Jessica is moved away from the support cast of Izzy/Dave, etc, and readers miss that. Both viewpoints are, of course, fine – but I’d rather try something a little different and give readers something new as opposed to stealing your money – and a living – by rehashing the same old stuff.

With a Jessica book every four months for the past two years, something has to give – and, in this instance, it is the release schedule. What has gone before is not sustainable for many reasons. I want Jessica to have a long literary life, to be writing about her years into the future, but that won’t happen with a new story every 120 days. She’ll burn herself out and I’ll run out of stories I can tell about a person while retaining the merest degree of realism.

Writing police procedurals is limiting in the sense that, broadly speaking, Jessica has to operate within the confines of being a police officer. Of course I take certain artistic licences but there are many stories I can’t tell from her perspective.

With that, I started the Andrew Hunter series with Something Wicked. He’s a private investigator and doesn’t have to work within the same limitations. In addition, he doesn’t have the power to arrest or interview witnesses, so has to find other ways to do things.

Andrew and Jessica exist in the same world – and I want to tell other stories around them that don’t necessarily include them.

This autumn, DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN, a standalone crime book, will be released as a hardback and ebook.

The events that occur in that novel not only happen directly because of the outcome of THICKER THAN WATER but then influence future Jessica books.

There’s more, too. For those who have read my short story, JANUARY, you’ll know it contains a character named Chris Green. Chris’s brother, Jason, is the main protagonist (or antagonist!) in DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN.

You don’t have to read everything as each story stands by itself but, if you do read the lot, you’ll hopefully find a richer tapestry around Jessica’s world that doesn’t necessarily include her directly.

Unaffected by all of this crime talk is my young adult/fantasy Silver Blackthorn trilogy – which has a regular one-a-year release schedule.

This all means that the way Jessica books are released with such regularity will change. The below is provisional but this is broadly what to expect from me through the UK and Commonwealth in the coming months:

- 7 May 2015: Renegade | paperback & ebook (Silver Blackthorn 2) link
- 16 July 2015: Something Wicked | paperback (Andrew Hunter 1) link
- Sept/Oct 2015: Down Among The Dead Men | hardback & ebook (standalone)
- Jan/Feb 2016: For Richer, For Poorer | paperback & ebook (Jessica Daniel 2:3 / 10)
- May 2016: Resurgence | paperback & ebook (Silver Blackthorn 3)
- 2016: Down Among The Dead Men | paperback re-release
- 2016: Something Hidden | paperback & ebook (Andrew Hunter 2)
- 2016: No Place Like Home | paperback & ebook (standalone)
- Future: Jessica Daniel 11, 12, 13
- Future: Something Borrowed | (Andrew Hunter 3)

So, there’s no storytelling let-up … it’s just that not everything I release is going to be a Jessica book. That doesn’t mean she won’t show up in the odd unexpected place…

DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN
September 2015 (hardback & ebook):

‘I’m going to do you a favour: I’m going to tell you my name and then I’m going to give you thirty seconds to turn and run. If any of you are still here after those thirty seconds, then we’re going to have a problem.’

Jason Green’s life is changed for good after he is saved from a mugging by crime boss Harry Irwell. From there, he is drawn into Manchester’s underworld, where stomping into a newsagents and smashing the place up is as normal as making a cup of tea.

But Jason isn’t a casual thug: he has a plan that doesn’t involve blowing his money on the usual trappings. That is until a woman walks into his life offering one thing that money can’t buy – salvation.


Kindle Touch 3G competition winner

KindleTuesday, December 2, 2014

I’ve been running a competition to win a Kindle Touch 3G, plus a signed copy of one of my books.

The phrase to unlock was: “Manchester children do not like watching television they go to the pub” – which is, if anyone is in any doubt, an obvious joke.

The winner is Danielle Leckie from Argyll. Thanks to everyone who entered.


Kindle Touch 3G competition

KindleSunday, November 16, 2014

With Christmas coming up, I figured I’d give something away to one of my lovely, loyal readers. I have a Kindle Touch 3G up for grabs – plus I’ll sign a book of your choice. Both prizes are yours to keep, yours to give away as a Christmas gift, or yours to flog on eBay for a quick profit. You choose!

To enter, you have to find the sentence hidden in the books below. I’ve given you the first word.

So, in Crossing The Line, word 10 of chapter 27 is ‘Manchester’. Find the other 11 words and fill in the form at the bottom with the complete sentence. That’s it.

The closing date is 21:00 GMT on Sunday, November 30, 2014. The winner will be chosen at random from all correct entries after that date and I will email him or her to ask for their address.

One entry per household and please don’t share the correct answer with anyone else (though you’d only be diminishing your own chances anyway…). Good luck!

FIND THE HIDDEN SENTENCE
Crossing The Line. Ch27, word 10: Manchester
Crossing The Line. Ch32, word 8:
Playing With Fire. Ch5, word 12:
Behind Closed Doors. Ch3, word 3:
Playing With Fire. Ch17, word 8:
Thicker Than Water. Ch25, word 14:
Behind Closed Doors. Ch1, word 9:
Thicker Than Water. Ch4, word 10:
Think of the Children. Ch34, word 16:
Playing With Fire. Ch2, word 10:
Thicker Than Water. Ch1, word 6:
Behind Closed Doors. Ch2, word 8:


Top-five tips: How to finish a novel

Thursday, September 18, 2014

My publisher asked me to write something for their September newsletter, so I did them a top-five things needed to complete a novel. I thought I’d share:

1. Hot water
– No book in the history of time has ever been written without a plentiful supply of hot water. First, there’s a morning coffee or five. At some point overnight human beings forget how to string a sentence together, resulting in the type of warblings more usually associated with someone attempting to learn a new language. Coffee is the only known cure.

After about ten in the morning, the need for tea kicks in. Twinings is a personal favourite but any tea will do. Proper tea, though. There’s a box of something called “Redbush and Vanilla tea” in our house thanks to Mrs W, which is an utter abomination. A crime against humanity.

I’ll give an honourable mention to hot chocolate, too. It’s the lesser-known of the three – flashy and a bit smug. It knows it’s got ‘chocolate’ in the title so thinks it doesn’t have to work as hard for your attention. That said, it’s a good early evening kick up the arse when you’ve wasted the day looking at YouTube videos of tortoises chasing cats.

2. BiscuitsIMG_2650
– Of these two scenarios, which is the best:
a) Sitting on your own, cradling a laptop on your knee WITH a Fox’s chocolate viennese on the side;
b) Sitting on your own cradling a laptop on your knee WITHOUT a Fox’s chocolate viennese on the side.

Unless you’re diabetic or a bit, well, weird, there’s only one answer to that question. In addition, although they’re technically not a biscuit (don’t get me started on that), Jaffa Cakes are an absolute must if you’re even going to think about writing a novel. And don’t go giving me any of this own-brand/Cadbury’s jaffa cake nonsense. McVities are the jaffa cake kings, and long may that be the case.

3. Rain
– Want to know why so much great music has come out of Manchester and Liverpool? Some might argue that it’s the strong working-class roots that creates an environment in which creative talent is nurtured. Those people are wrong. It’s the rain. When it pees down as often as it does in the north west of England, you’ve got to do something to amuse yourself.

As for me, if it didn’t rain, I’d get nothing done. As soon as the sun comes out, I’m lured out of the house like a dog to a lamppost. Luckily (or unluckily), living in the north of England means there are plenty of wet days where I can grumble about the weather while actually getting some work done.

4. A tolerance for technology companies
– Everybody had one of those kids in school. The physics teacher would ask something like, ‘Where are chromosomes found in a cell?’ You’d be looking blank and thinking, ‘I dunno…the middle bit?’

He’d be there, hand up, desperate for attention, straining over the top of everyone and you’d be rolling your eyes, thinking, ‘Look, mate. Just because we’re busy rolling up bits of paper and trying to throw them into some girl’s hair, it doesn’t mean you have to show us up.’ Anyway, he’d always get the right answer to the point that even the teachers were sick of him.

Where was I? Yes, Microsoft. Every time you turn on one of their machines there are pop-ups all over the shop wanting you to update Windows for no reason other than it’s got a ‘wah, wah, wah, look at me’-complex. Toddlers who drop their favourite teddies are less needy.

5. A broken Internet connection
– I’ve never had a day of work quite like the one when Virgin Media conked out. No Internet, no TV. At first I was horrified at the thought of not being able to constantly refresh the BBC Sport website but then I discovered that, miraculously, the world does continue to turn when the Internet’s broken. I wrote an absolute shed-load that day. Then the Internet started to work again and I was back to Buzzfeed looking at a list of Jason Statham’s top-10 movie moments. Lock Stock is number one if you’re wondering – as it should be.


Jessica Daniel: Crossing The Line competition winners

CTLproof
Sunday, August 24, 2014

With just 18 days until the release of Crossing The Line, I’ve been running a competition to give away some proof paperbacks. There are a whopping 25 winners, each of whom win two books – one for the entrant, one for a pal.

I had an enormous amount of entries – more than for any other contest I’ve run.

Here are the winners:
– Anthony Darbyshire from Beverley, East Yorkshire
– Catherine Ainscough from Bamber Bridge, Lancashire
– Claire Bridgen from Failsworth, Manchester
– David Anderson from Southsea, Hampshire
– Grant Donald from Westhill, Inverness
– Jackie Coulter from Bangor, N Ireland
– Jennifer Berry from Selby, Yorkshire
– Julie Rugg from Huntingdon, Cambs
– Kat Duncan from Govan, Glasgow
– Lauren Pike from Sidcup, Kent
– Lorna Cowle from Hook, Hampshire
– Megan Pugh from Rugeley, Staffordshire
– Mike Broughton from Wells, Somerset
– Milly Gibbs from Dorking, Surrey
– Pamela Fudge from Poole, Dorset
– Peter Royle from Newton-le-Willows, Merseyside
– Peter Trebilcock from Salisbury, Wiltshire
– Rhiannon Wates from Knutsford, Cheshire
– Robert Phipps from Gillingham, Kent
– Rob Scott from Pontefract
– Rosemary Knight from Swinton, Manchester
– Saira Kazmi from Cricklewood, London
– Tony Selwyn from Enfield
– Vanessa Rivington from Dollingstown, Co Armagh
– Wendy Salter from Pontypridd

If you didn’t win, you don’t have too long to wait until the book is out:

CROSSING THE LINE (Jessica Daniel Season 2, Book 1)
September 11, 2014:

Long before Jessica Daniel became a police officer, Manchester was once a ghost city after dark. Fear ruled as people were afraid to be out by themselves, the notorious Stretford Slasher terrorising its inhabitants.

Twenty-five years on and the media are feeling nostalgic over the milestone but Jessica has a new panic to worry about. Apparent strangers are being targeted in daylight, the attacker unworried about being caught. If only she and her team could find him…

It’s the coldest spring in memory and Jessica has old friends to look out for, plus secrets – so many secrets – that should have long been buried.

Following the events of Behind Closed Doors, Crossing The Line marks a new beginning with Season Two of the Jessica Daniel series.


Jessica Daniel: Crossing The Line giveaway

CTLproof
Wednesday, August 5, 2014

It’s that time again…

Crossing The Line is out in five short weeks on 11 September – and I am running a FREE prize draw that’ll enable you to get your hands on a copy of the paperback proof a short while before the release date. Look how shiny it is in the photo!

Twenty-five winners will be chosen at random, with each person receiving TWO copies of the book. That’s one for you, one for a friend – hopefully someone yet to try a Jessica novel.

To enter, simply fill in the form below:

The closing date for entries is 18:00 BST on Friday, 22 August 2014.

That’s it. In case you’ve forgotten, here are the details of Crossing The Line.

CROSSING THE LINE (Jessica Daniel Season 2, Book 1)
September 11, 2014:

Long before Jessica Daniel became a police officer, Manchester was once a ghost city after dark. Fear ruled as people were afraid to be out by themselves, the notorious Stretford Slasher terrorising its inhabitants.

Twenty-five years on and the media are feeling nostalgic over the milestone but Jessica has a new panic to worry about. Apparent strangers are being targeted in daylight, the attacker unworried about being caught. If only she and her team could find him…

It’s the coldest spring in memory and Jessica has old friends to look out for, plus secrets – so many secrets – that should have long been buried.

Following the events of Behind Closed Doors, Crossing The Line marks a new beginning with Season Two of the Jessica Daniel series.


Jessica Daniel season 2 launches in September

TescoFriday, June 20 2014

Now that the ebook pre-orders are beginning to go live, it’s probably a good time to give an update on the next Jessica Daniel book, Crossing The Line.

It is the eighth novel in the series but, after the events of Behind Closed Doors, it starts a new chapter in Jessica’s life. I won’t spoil what happened in that book for those of you yet to read it but most readers will already know.

Because of that, I pitched the idea of re-branding the books as ‘season two’, in much the same way that television shows finish off one large set of storylines, disappear for the summer, and then come back again.

Crossing The Line sees a promotion for Jessica, plus a few new characters, as well as many of the old ones. Having her in an elevated position provides a challenge of telling stories in a slightly different way but, rest assured, her old foibles and character traits still remain. The book provides a starting point for new readers who might have been put off by thinking they have to read the previous seven books to get it. There are, of course, allusions to previous plotlines but if a reader is looking for somewhere to begin investing in a character, this provides as good a place as any.

This also feeds from yesterday’s announcement that my publishers, Pan Macmillan, will also be publishing two more Jessica novels. Here is the schedule as it stands:

– 11 September 2014: Crossing The Line (season 2, book 1)
– 2015: Scarred For Life (season 2, book 2)
– For Richer, For Poorer (season 2, book 3)
– Father’s Day (season 2, book 4)

Anyway, here’s the blurb:

CROSSING THE LINE (Jessica Daniel Season 2, Book 1)
September 11, 2014:

Long before Jessica Daniel became a police officer, Manchester was once a ghost city after dark. Fear ruled as people were afraid to be out by themselves, the notorious Stretford Slasher terrorising its inhabitants.

Twenty-five years on and the media are feeling nostalgic over the milestone but Jessica has a new panic to worry about. Apparent strangers are being targeted in daylight, the attacker unworried about being caught. If only she and her team could find him…

It’s the coldest spring in memory and Jessica has old friends to look out for, plus secrets – so many secrets – that should have long been buried.


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