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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.


Jessica Daniel series: Pan Macmillan sign for books 10 and 11

IMG_1909Thursday, June 19 2014

I’m delighted to announce that, with the continuing success and interest in the Jessica Daniel books, I have agreed a new deal with my publishers, Pan Macmillan, that will see them release books 10 and 11 in the series.

Book seven, Behind Closed Doors, came out in January 2014 and has done really well. Sales have actually increased through books five, six and now seven, which is really rare. Book eight, Crossing The Line, is out in the UK on 11 September 2014, with books nine and 10 likely in 2015.

Away from Jessica, Pan will also be publishing my standalone crime book, Down Among The Dead Men, in 2015 – plus there are still two more books in the Silver Blackthorn trilogy to be released.

In short, there’s still plenty to come – plus the Jessica series will be relaunching as “series two”.

In addition, following the rather sad demise of AudioGo, Pan will also be creating audios of the Jessica series.

Here’s the top line of the new contract with what are, for now, provisional titles of books 10 and 11.

IMG_2252


Reckoning is out; signing date; Crossing The Line cover and general round-up


Friday, May 23, 2014Tesco

Wonderfully, the first Silver Blackthorn novel, Reckoning, was released in the UK yesterday. It is available from all of the usual places online, plus in-store at Tesco (see right); WH Smith and, from June 5, Asda.

SIGNING DATE

I am gong to be signing copies of Reckoning (and anything Jessica-related if people want) on SATURDAY, JUNE 7 from 11am until 1pm at Waterstones, Altrincham, Cheshire. It is in the Stamford Quarter shopping centre. Come along and say hi.

TescoTHE NEXT JESSICA DANIEL BOOK

Crossing The Line is out on September 11, 2014. The spangly cover is on the right.

Here is the synopsis: 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.

REVIEWS & NEWS ROUND-UP

Reckoning has been very kindly received so far, which is marvellous.

- There’s a lovely set of comments from adults and young people alike on Love Reading 4 Kids
- I wrote a blog post about my favourite fantasy novels for One More Page. There is also a review here.
- I wrote another for Fiction Fascination about exams.
- I did a Q&A for Liz Loves Books, who also reviewed Reckoning on the same page.
- I wrote about the future for My Kinda Book.
- I put together a piece about binge-reading for Tor UK.
- There’s another Q&A on Much Loved Books, as well as a review
- Plus a review on A Bit Behind On Books; another on The Book Nook; and this on The Reading Room.
- There are also many more reviews on Goodreads
- If that’s not enough, Publisher’s Weekly say Reckoning has a “strong voice and an intricate endgame“, plus Kirkus says there’s “true joy“.

Whew.


Silver Blackthorn & Jessica Daniel competition winners


Sunday, April 13, 2014IMG_1909

With barely a month until my next book is released, I’ve been running a competition to give away a bucketload of books. Not that you should keep books in buckets.

One lucky person has won all eight of my paperbacks and I’ve even scrawled my name at the front. That person is…

Kelleigh Bollington from Exmouth in Devon.

She won by being a member of Jessica’s Facebook group.

Five runners-up have each won a signed copy of Reckoning. They are:

  • Amanda Peck from Southampton (who entered via messaging me on Twitter);
  • Aisha Turner (Silver’s Facebook group);
  • Marcus Delph from Ely (Jessica’s Facebook group);
  • Paul Milner from Bradford (my mailing list);
  • and Siobhan Brine from Offerton, Stockport (my mailing list)

RECKONING is out on May 22, and is part one of the Silver Blackthorn trilogy, an adventure-fantasy series set in the near future. You can read the first three chapters HERE.

      In the village of Martindale, hundreds of miles north of the new English capital of Windsor, sixteen-year-old Silver Blackthorn takes the Reckoning. This coming-of-age test not only decides her place in society – Elite, Member, Inter or Trog – but also determines that Silver is to become an Offering for King Victor.
            But these are uncertain times and no-one really knows what happens to the teenagers who disappear into Windsor Castle. Is being an Offering the privilege everyone assumes it to be, or do the walls of the castle have something to hide?
            Trapped in a maze of ancient corridors, Silver finds herself in a warped world of suspicion where it is difficult to know who to trust and who to fear. The one thing Silver does know is that she must find a way out …


Silver Blackthorn & Jessica Daniel competition time


Wednesday, April 2, 2013IMG_1909

It is now exactly 50 days until my next book is released. After seven Jessica Daniel novels, and a one-off urban thriller, Watched, RECKONING is out on May 22, and is my first venture into a new genre. It is part one of the Silver Blackthorn trilogy, an adventure-fantasy series set in the near future.

      In the village of Martindale, hundreds of miles north of the new English capital of Windsor, sixteen-year-old Silver Blackthorn takes the Reckoning. This coming-of-age test not only decides her place in society – Elite, Member, Inter or Trog – but also determines that Silver is to become an Offering for King Victor.
            But these are uncertain times and no-one really knows what happens to the teenagers who disappear into Windsor Castle. Is being an Offering the privilege everyone assumes it to be, or do the walls of the castle have something to hide?
            Trapped in a maze of ancient corridors, Silver finds herself in a warped world of suspicion where it is difficult to know who to trust and who to fear. The one thing Silver does know is that she must find a way out …

I am running a FREE prize draw. The lucky winner will get a FULL SET of all eight of my paperbacks, including a signed copy of RECKONING. Five runners-up will receive a copy of RECKONING.

The winners and runners-up will be chosen at random and you can have up to four entries in the draw. You can enter by any or all of the following methods:

1. JOIN MY MAILING LIST
Your details will not be shared with any other person or organisation. You’ll receive a few emails a year with details of my latest releases, giveaways and appearances. If you’re already on the list, you automatically have one entry into the prize draw. If you’re not, fill in the form below.

2. ‘LIKE’ SILVER’S FACEBOOK PAGE
The Silver Blackthorn series has its own Facebook page here. If you like that page, you get a second entry.

3. COMMENT ON THE JESSICA DANIEL FACEBOOK PAGE
The Jessica page has been running a lot longer than Silver’s and if you like AND leave a comment – any comment – on this thread you’ll get a third entry (you also have to be a member of the page).

4. FOLLOW ME ON TWITTER
I don’t tweet that much about my books, more about ducks that nearly take me out while I’m on my bike, random quotes from The Simpsons, complaints about the rain, or a multitude of other things. Anyway, if you follow me, let me know by sending me a tweet. This will get you a fourth entry.

That’s four ways of entering, so you can quadruple your chance by doing the lot. The closing date is 18:00 BST on Saturday, April 12. I’ll contact the winner and runners-up directly, plus post their names on this site.

Good luck!


Jessica Daniel: Behind Closed Doors – The afterword about not insulting a reader’s intelligence

Friday, January 17, 2014

This morning, Behind Closed Doors became my eighth consecutive book to make the top-20 of the Kindle crime charts, following Jessica 1-6 and Watched. First, then, a thank you to the readers who continue to buy and read my books. It’s incredibly flattering and has genuinely changed my life.

On top of that, the incredible billboard picture below is currently up at Piccadilly Station in Manchester. It’s HUGE and almost surreal. Thanks to Michelle Saunders on Twitter for the photo and, of course, my publishers for their support. Many authors like myself who’ve had initial self-published success have been completely abandoned by the publishers *not mentioning names* but that could not be further from the truth with Pan.

Anyway…very minor Behind Closed Doors spoilers ahead…

If you’ve read Behind Closed Doors, you’ll know that it’s a little different from the other Jessica books. There are plenty of reasons for this. Firstly, I don’t want to keep doing the same thing. It’d be so easy to essentially write the same book over and over, change a few character names, and hope nobody notices. I try not to be lazy. That doesn’t mean everything I attempt will come off – I know that – but I’d rather try and fail, than write the same thing over and over. It’s not only boring, it takes the piss out of readers, believing they’ll buy any old shite because it has my name on it.

I don’t want to do that.

That might mean a reader doesn’t like something like Watched – or Behind Closed Doors – but at least I’m not insulting people’s intelligence.

Behind Closed Doors was an awkward novel to plot. It tells one story that lasts a year, with a second that lasts a week. What it also does – crucially – is allows me to ever so slightly reinvent the character of Jessica. Things ARE different in books eight, nine and beyond because she’s had time away from the job. There are new colleagues, new internal issues where she works. That type of thing is essential in a series to stop everyone from getting bored.

None of that means the events of books 1-7 are forgotten, in fact a few characters from earlier novels return in Crossing The Line, which is coming in the autumn. It’s also not reinventing the wheel. I write about things, places and people that interest me. It does mean – hopefully – that the Jessica books won’t become repetitive. I’d like to think that’s apparent in the subject matter. Broadly, books 1-3 were standard serial killer fare (that’s not completely true but close enough), book 4 was child abduction; 5 was an arsonist; 6 was organised crime; 7 was a cult.

I do try to be different.

Part of that is expanding Jessica’s world. Andrew Hunter, the private investigator from Playing with Fire, has his own series beginning in June. Down Among The Dead Men, out in 2015, is a standalone crime novel in the sense it’s self-contained and needs no knowledge of my other books, but it’s set in Jessica’s world. There are events referenced from the Jessica novels; characters whose names regular readers will recognise; plus people who’ll eventually crossover into the Jessica series.

All of that is possible because of Jessica’s ‘missing year’ that happens through Behind Closed Doors. An awful lot happened in those 12 months and, soon, readers will be able to find out what.

Before all of that, however, it is something COMPLETELY different. My next book is Reckoning, the first in the Silver Blackthorn young adult-fantasy-adventure trilogy. That’s out on May 22. Many more details soon.

BeGa4llIMAAtLJv


Gore, sex and the lazy truth about crime fiction

Saturday, January 11, 2014

We’ve all been there: you’re with someone who you really want to impress. Perhaps a new boyfriend or girlfriend, maybe just someone you like who you want to like you. It’s not going well, conversation is a bit of a struggle. But everyone has an absolute banker of a story: y’know that one that you genuinely don’t tell too many people. Truthfully, most of us will have at least one thing that’s happened in our pasts that will definitely get a reaction. It might not be the worst thing in the world but it means a lot to you personally and is guaranteed to have the person to whom you tell it widening their eyes, leaning in and saying something assuring. Deep down, they might feel sorry for you and their view on you as a person will shift slightly.

Everyone has a story like that because it’s part of being human.

But few people throw those stories out there on something like a first date or a first meeting because it’s completely inappropriate, plus it’s a false reaction. You don’t want someone to like you because they feel sorry for you. you want them to like you because you’re a rounded, real individual.

And those are the reasons why my books are almost entirely gore and sex-free.

I have no moral obligations against either of those things in terms of fiction but, through storytelling, I consider them to be the same type of cheap, slack devices as when you pull out a sob story to make someone feel sorry for you.

Within their own contexts, they’re fine of course. I’ve not read Fifty Shades – but if it’s a book about sex and it has sex scenes, then fair enough. If you’re writing a crime book about crime, then it’s not.

I could easily write something gory or explicit. There’s no skill there, but, in doing so, all I’d be doing is searching for a cheap-as-chips response from my readers and that’s just lazy. I’d be doing that because I’m such an appalling desert of imagination that I can’t get a reaction any other way.

I want readers to have a strong feeling – like or dislike – towards Jessica and, indeed, all of my characters. I want them to think of my creations as rounded, real individuals and come back to read more books in the various series because of that.

There are thousands of crime books published every year. I don’t believe anybody reads my books because they’re desperate to know the identity of the next crime I’ve come up with, nor because there’s a twist at the end. EVERY crime novel/movie/TV episode, etc, has some sort of twist or revelation – that’s the game. You can be as smart as you want but, because it’s expected, most people won’t care. They’ll think, ‘Oh, that’s clever’, or, ‘Oh, that’s surprising’, finish the book/movie/TV show, and move onto the next thing. You’re yesterday’s fish and chip paper, discarded and largely forgotten. What readers and viewers DO care about is people – characters.

I want readers to to speculate about what comes next; to buy the books on the day they come out, or pre-order; to look forward to publication days; to email and contact me in the meantime because they’re interested and concerned about what happens. I want all of that because it makes me successful as a storyteller and means I’ve done what I’m supposed to do.

For the most part, I believe I’ve achieved that. My readers are fantastic and the contact from them between releases is sometimes at the point where I struggle to stay on top of it. I’ve had seven consecutive crime books in Amazon’s top-20. I’ve had ebook pre-orders go to number one above worldwide sensations such as Dan Brown and James Patterson without anything even close to the levels of marketing. I say that not to boast, but because I don’t believe that’s a result I could achieve if my books were full of throwaway shock-and-awe tricks.

Like the best horror movies – Kubrick, Hitchcock – the lingering memories are the ones where things happen away from the screen. It leaves a mark, unlike something in the vein of, say, Hostel or Saw, which is watched, winced at, and forgotten. It’s utterly disposable. It gets a reaction but it’s there and gone.

A connection from author to reader is so much more powerful if you’ve managed to make people care through creating characters to be loved or loathed, rather than throwing out cheap gore or sex scenes. Those thrills might get a basic shock-value reaction but also means many readers will have forgotten who you are a few days after they’ve finished reading.

And so, in the same way that we as people hold onto our most-affecting stories because, for the most part, we’re not after pity, I do the same in my books. I hold back as much as possible. I don’t want people to feel sorry for / despise / love my characters because I’ve described in intricate detail the horrible things that’s happened to them, or happened at their hand. That’s not a real reaction. I want readers to like – or dislike – my characters because of who they are.

Fiction isn’t that different to real life in that respect.


April: A Jessica Daniel Interlude

IMG_1744Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Up until last month, I’d never written a short story. That is particularly odd, seeing as my seventh crime novel is about to be released. I also have a young adult-adventure-fantasy series coming this year, plus Something Wicked, the first in the series of Andrew Hunter books.

I write all the time, pretty much every day. I’ve got so many notes about future projects that I’m never really sure what to do next.

The thing about writing novels, certainly in my case, is that I have all sorts of little ideas knocking around. Characters who just don’t fit into novels; plots that are too short to be incorporated into a wider novel; scenes that would be out of place.

Last month, my publishers asked if I’d be up for writing a short story to work as an exclusive piece of bonus content for one of the shops who will be selling my books. That’s the thing with writing books, you need someone to sell them. Amazon are great, they really are, but not everyone wants to buy online. Tesco have been incredibly supportive, too, plus the Arndale Waterstones and a few other places. Sometimes retailers want a little something in response to their loyalty, which is fair enough. It all works two ways.

So I wrote a little 6,000-word story, of which I’m ridiculously proud, largely because it went from blank page to finished in six hours. Sometimes things take on a life of their own, almost writing themselves and this was definitely one of those.

It has a very simple title:

———————–
APRIL
It’s every parent’s worse nightmare.
   April Willis is walking to school when someone in a white van tries to snatch her from the street.
   It’s the second attack in less than a week, and, with parents and students beginning to panic, it’s down to Detective Sergeant Jessica Daniel to find the culprit.
———————–

From next week (I’m not sure of the exact date), the supermarket Morrisons will be selling a version of the Behind Closed Doors paperback with “April” in the back. Incidentally, that isn’t a sticker in the picture. It’s part of the cover, meaning it is a genuine limited edition. It is only available in stores and, as far as I’m aware, when they’re gone, they’re gone. Certainly within the first week, there should be no distribution problems but after that, I don’t know. I know it’s rare there’s something that’s an actual limited edition. Usually there are millions of the bloody things floating around with “limited” on the cover. They’re as limited as a red-top front page is “exclusive”. It’s marketing nonsense.

With this, that’s not the case, it really is limited. If you want one, get to a Morrisons in the week or so after the release date of 16 January. You never know, if one of you run me over next week (please don’t), it’ll suddenly soar in value.

Now, I know exactly what many people will be thinking: What about the ebook version?

On that, you’ll have to trust me for a little bit. It won’t be out in digital right away but it will come – promise – and we’ve got something pretty neat planned for when it does. Trust me.


Watched: A note about the ending

Watched-smSunday, January 5, 2014

This feels like a strange post to write. Watched is far from the first standalone novel I’ve written away from Jessica, but it is the first to be published.

Sales have been good and the reception as mixed as I expected. It’s far, far darker than the Jessica books and I knew some people wouldn’t like or get it.

But the thing I didn’t expect is that a handful of people haven’t ‘got’ the ending. It was read by a fair few people before it was released and nobody flagged up an issue. I’ve also rechecked the text and all the clues I meant to be there are there. Because there are a few people who haven’t got it, though, I will explain it here.

Needless to say, there are SPOILERS ahead. Please don’t read on if you don’t want to be spoiled.

- SPOILERS – SPOILERS – SPOILERS – SPOILERS – SPOILERS – SPOILERS – SPOILERS – SPOILERS -

The end is meant to be open to interpretation, bearing in mind that you never actually get Charlie’s version of what happened on the night Dougie was attacked. The last thing you get from his point of view is: “…he’d failed her [Esther] and now had to think of a way to redeem himself, without involving the police.”

After that, you only have Esther’s version.

It’s not supposed to be complete in the sense that everything’s put on a plate. With the information you have, you can decide on whichever ending you want. With Charlie’s last thought, is that him thinking that he is going to attack Dougie? Esther has just pulled a bat out from mud and spotted mud on Charlie’s shoes after he denied leaving the house, so that’s what she thinks…

You might think differently. Perhaps Charlie isn’t capable of attacking Dougie and it is all a misunderstanding? It’s for the reader to decide how much they know the characters.

The crash takes the story full circle. What happens to good people when they allow themselves to be dragged down to someone else’s level?

- SPOILERS – SPOILERS – SPOILERS – SPOILERS – SPOILERS – SPOILERS – SPOILERS – SPOILERS -

So… that’s it. I’m not sure what else to add. Perhaps I was trying to be too clever or perhaps the clues were too obscure. I don’t think that line from Charlie could be much clearer – it’s the last line of his final chapter. It isn’t hidden away.

That said, perhaps I just failed in what I was trying to do? I’m not sure…lots of people did get it. The best reviews for Watched, such as this and this, have been stronger than anything I’ve ever had for Jessica. Either way, if you were confused, I hope this has cleared it up for you.


Jessica Daniel: Behind Closed Doors competition winners


Friday, January 3, 2014

As with my previous competition, I had more entries for this than any I’ve run before. Numbers are really building.

Thanks to everyone for entering.

Anyway, the seven winners of an advance copy of Behind Closed Doors are:

  • Maxine Evans from Port Talbot;
  • Kimara Sharpe from Bromsgrove;
  • Vanessa Haley from Golcar, West Yorkshire;
  • Marcus Delph from Ely, Cambridgeshire;
  • Melanie Dann from Plymouth;
  • Charlet Stephenson from Darlington;
  • and Kerry Weaver (good name) from Yaxley, Peterborough

Winners were chosen via a number generated at random.org.

If you didn’t win, the book is available to pre-order in all sorts of places:

  • As an ebook via: UK KindleiBookstoreGoogle Play
  • Paperback: Amazon UKBook DepositoryGuardian BookshopMail BookshopPan MacmillanTelegraph BookshopWaterstones
  • If you want to stay up-to-date with competitions, releases and giveaways, make sure you sign up to my mailing list using the box in the top right. You will never get spam and your details will not be shared. You will get a handful of emails from me every now and then. That’s all.


    Jessica Daniel 7: Behind Closed Doors – win a copy


    Thursday, December 27, 2013

    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    Behind Closed Doors (Jessica Daniel book seven) is out on January 16 and I have seven paperback copies to give away (it is book seven, after all!)

    Entry is completely free and all you need to do is fill in the form below. Your details will NOT be passed to any other parties or companies and you will NOT be spammed.

    The closing date is Friday, January 3, 2014 at 6pm. Seven entries will be selected at random.

    You can’t enter if I know you personally – and only one entry per person (although if there’s more of you living in one house and you have different email addresses, you can have more than one per household).

    I’ll post the winners’ names on the Facebook page and will email them personally.

    7. Behind Closed DoorsJanuary 16, 2014:
    Behind Closed Doors (Jessica Daniel 7)

    Detective Sergeant Jessica Daniel has barely left her house in months, isolated away from friends and colleagues. She may have given up on herself but one man is sure she still has something to offer.

    DCI Jack Cole gives her a chance at redemption: An opportunity to help a neighbouring force by discovering what is going on with a reclusive community living in a stately home in the middle of nowhere.

    People are going missing, turning up dead with only a vague link back to the house. But can Jessica beat her own demons in time to find out exactly what’s going on behind closed doors?


    Jessica Daniel, Andrew Hunter, Silver Blackthorn: What’s to come?

    October 16, 2013

    It’s quite a busy time at the moment, so I thought I’d share my UK release schedule for the next eight months or so.

    6. ThickerThan WaterOctober 24, 2013:
    Thicker Than Water (Jessica Daniel 6)

    When Cameron and Eleanor Sexton arrive home to find their babysitter missing but their child and property otherwise untouched, Detective Sergeant Jessica Daniel is sent on what she thinks is a fool’s errand to find out what happened.

    But Jessica is left confused as the teenager’s body turns up in the bath of a different house seemingly at random – a puzzle which only deepens when a journalist points out that someone placed an obituary for him days before he went missing.

    With one colleague leaving while another returns, plus a local businessman taking an unhealthy interest in her, Jessica turns to home to find the one person she can rely on. But is that trust misplaced?

    Watched-smNovember 14, 2013: (worldwide release date):
    Watched: When Road Rage Follows You Home
    AN AMAZON EXCLUSIVE

    Dougie Jamieson is a pillar of the community. He’s won awards for his work with children, his brother is a chief inspector and he runs the neighbourhood watch scheme.

    But Esther Pooley sees him differently.

    After a road rage incident, she’s convinced he’s the person terrorising her and husband Charlie at their suburban dream home.

    As the stakes begin to rise, they must decide if bricks and mortar are worth more than their relationship, with Charlie left with the toughest of all dilemmas. How far will he go to protect his wife?

    7. Behind Closed DoorsJanuary 16, 2014:
    Behind Closed Doors (Jessica Daniel 7)

    Detective Sergeant Jessica Daniel has barely left her house in months, isolated away from friends and colleagues. She may have given up on herself but one man is sure she still has something to offer.

    DCI Jack Cole gives her a chance at redemption: An opportunity to help a neighbouring force by discovering what is going on with a reclusive community living in a stately home in the middle of nowhere.

    People are going missing, turning up dead with only a vague link back to the house. But can Jessica beat her own demons in time to find out exactly what’s going on behind closed doors?

    May 22, 2014:
    Reckoning (Silver Blackthorn 1)

    In the village of Martindale, hundreds of miles north of the new English capital of Windsor, sixteen-year-old Silver Blackthorn takes the Reckoning. This coming-of-age test not only decides her place in society – Elite, Member, Inter or Trog – but also determines that Silver is to become an Offering for King Victor.

    But these are uncertain times and no-one really knows what happens to the teenagers who disappear into Windsor Castle. Is being an Offering the privilege everyone assumes it to be, or do the walls of the castle have something to hide?

    Trapped in a maze of ancient corridors, Silver finds herself in a warped world of suspicion where it is difficult to know who to trust and who to fear. The one thing Silver does know is that she must find a way out . . .

    SWickedJune 2014:
    Something Wicked (Andrew Hunter 1)

    Spinning out from the pages of Playing With Fire (Jessica Daniel 5)…

    Nicholas Carr disappeared on his 18th birthday and the world has moved on. His girlfriend has gone to university, his friends have got jobs, the police have other things to look into.

    But his father, Richard, is still stuck on the three fingers the police dug up from a sodden Manchester wood. What happened to Nicholas on the night he disappeared and why did he never come home?

    Private investigator Andrew Hunter is Nicholas’s last hope – but Andrew has his own problems. There’s something about his assistant that isn’t quite right. Jenny’s brilliant but reckless and he can’t work out what she gets from their working relationship. By the time he figures out who’s a danger and who’s not, it might all be too late…


    Jessica Daniel: Thicker Than Water competition winners

    October 14, 20136TTW

    I had more entries for this competition than any other I’ve run. Coincidentally, I also had exactly six correct answers, which meant I didn’t have to do any sort of draw. Nice! There are 35 chapters in Thicker Than Water.

    The six winners of an advance copy are:

    • Dahviad Tierney from Co Tyrone;
    • Susan McCracken from Peebles;
    • Keith Owen from Bridgend;
    • Margaret Kippen from Great Yarmouth;
    • Adam Roberts from Northumberland;
    • and Donna Jackson from Scunthorpe

    The book is available to pre-order in all sorts of places:

  • As an ebook via: UK KindleiBookstoreKoboGoogle Play -
  • Paperback: Amazon UKBlackwellsBook DepositoryGuardian BookshopMail BookshopPan MacmillanTelegraph BookshopWaterstonesWH Smith
  • If you want to know anything else, you can e-mail me and I’ll put you on my mailing list. You won’t get spam – only the odd update about releases/pre-orders/competitions, etc.


    Jessica Daniel 6: Thicker Than Water competition – win a copy

    Monday, October 7, 20136TTW

    Thicker Than Water (Jessica Daniel book six) is out on October 24 and I have six paperback copies to give away.

    Entry is completely free and all you need to do is guess the number of chapters in Thicker Than Water.

    As a clue, it is between 30 and 50. Simply e-mail me using the subject “Competition entry” and let me know:

    • Your name
    • Your address
    • Your guess

    The closing date is Monday, October 14 at 6pm.

    After that date, the six closest guesses will win a copy of the book. If more than six people get the answer correct, I will choose six at random from those.

    You can’t enter if I know you personally – and only one entry per person (although if there’s more of you living in one house and you have different email addresses, you can have more than one per household).

    I’ll post the winners’ names on the Facebook page and will email them personally.

    THICKER THAN WATER (JESSICA DANIEL BOOK SIX)

    (Coming: 24 October 2013)
    When Cameron and Eleanor Sexton arrive home to find their babysitter missing but their child and property otherwise untouched, Detective Sergeant Jessica Daniel is sent on what she thinks is a fool’s errand to find out what happened.
    But Jessica is left confused as the teenager’s body turns up in the bath of a different house seemingly at random – a puzzle which only deepens when a journalist points out that someone placed an obituary for him days before he went missing.
    With one colleague leaving while another returns, plus a local businessman taking an unhealthy interest in her, Jessica turns to home to find the one person she can rely on. But is that trust misplaced?


    Pan Macmillan to publish two more of my books

    August 13, 2013

    After extending the Jessica Daniel series through to a minimum of nine books in April, Pan Macmillan will also publish two more crime books written by me.

    This means that I am now contracted to Macmillan for a whopping 14 books, including the Jessica series, the Silver Blackthorn young adult/fantasy trilogy and these two.

    I’m not exactly sure on scheduling yet, though at least one of them will be out in 2014.

    The first is a spin-off from Playing with Fire (Jessica Daniel book five). It involves the private investigator, Andrew Hunter, who slightly got in Jessica’s way. It is completely standalone, with no need to have read anything I’ve written before.

    -o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-

    SOMETHING WICKED (ANDREW HUNTER 1)

    Nicholas Carr disappeared on his 18th birthday and the world has moved on. His girlfriend has gone to university, his friends have got jobs, the police have other things to look into.
       But his father, Richard, is still stuck on the three fingers the police dug up from a sodden Manchester wood. What happened to Nicholas on the night he disappeared and why did he never come home?
       Private investigator Andrew Hunter is Nicholas’s last hope – but Andrew has his own problems too. There’s something about his brilliant assistant, Jenny, that isn’t quite right: her old teacher called it Empathy Deficit Disorder but perhaps it’s not just other people she struggles to feel for?

    -o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-
    The second book is also a standalone crime novel, set in Manchester. As per the Jessica and Silver Blackthorn series, it will be produced as an audio by AudioGo.

    DOWN AMONG THE DEAD MEN

    ‘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.


    Jessica Daniel: How to get your name in Thicker Than Water

    July 15, 2013

    Almost exactly a year ago, I offered readers the chance to ask me a bunch of questions for a reader interview. I answered a fair few of them at the back of Jessica 4: Think of the Children.

    I’m going to do the same for the back of Jessica 6: Thicker Than Water. This is your opportunity to ask me anything you like: About me, about the books, the characters, the plots, influences – anything. Be as creative as you want.

    There is only one rule. When you ask, tell me your name and where you’re from. This can be as vague as you want – Joe Smith, Lancashire is fine, as is Joe Smith, Chorlton if you are happy to be more specific. Your name will be at the back of the book with your question and the answer.

    I might not be able to use everything but I’ll put in what I can. I will only answer one question per person – but, if you prefer, you can ask two or three and I’ll pick my favourite.

    When Thicker Than Water comes out in October, you’ll be able to skip to the back to see if your question has been answered.

    Some of you might want to wait until you’ve finished Playing with Fire, so I’ll accept questions until 6pm BST on 18 August.

    How to ask a question

    If you are happy to ask in public, or if you want to see what others are asking, you can go through Facebook or Twitter – else email me.

    Questions from last time:

    -1- Do you agree with everything your characters say and do or is it just for fictional purposes?
    -2- What is your favourite part of the series?
    -3- Has your style of writing been modelled on anyone else’s?
    -4- When you start writing a book, do you write a synopsis of the plot and characters, or do you just have a sudden brainstorm of an idea and start writing?
    -5- What gave you the idea to create a character like Jessica Daniel? Her manners, her style, her way of thinking . . . she is quite peculiar but she is really close to reality.
    -6- You managed to create a woman who is not just the typical fantasy image. How did you manage to conjure up such a character?
    -7- Do you always know the end of the story when you start a book?
    -8- How do you come up with the different characters in your books? Are they based upon people in your life?
    -9- Who was your favourite or most memorable author growing up and why?
    -10- Are there ever any points in the writing process when you decide on a certain point but then later go back and change it thinking it would fit better?
    -11- Is there anything you wish you could have changed about the characters or storylines before they became so popular?
    -12- Why are your books based in Manchester and why do you choose the specific locations?
    -13- Where do you get the ideas for the stories from for your books?
    -14- Do you create Jessica first and then build up the story and the plot around her and her colleagues?


    Jessica Daniel: Playing with Fire competition winners


    June 22, 2013

    The five winners of the competition to win an advance copy of Playing with Fire are:

    • Laura Harmon from Hamilton;
    • John Jarratt from Welwyn Garden City;
    • James Inman from Cleckheaton;
    • Andrew King from Nairn;
    • Alan Budd from Lincoln

    The word count of Playing with Fire is 90,608. Of the five, Laura was the closest, guessing 90,203.

    You can e-mail me and I’ll put you on my mailing list. You won’t get spam – only the odd update about releases/pre-orders/competitions, etc.


    Jessica Daniel 5: Playing with Fire competition – win a copy

    Thursday, June 13, 2013IMG_0816

    Playing with Fire (Jessica Daniel book five) is out on July 18 and I have five paperback copies to give away to readers.

    Entry is completely free and all you need to do is guess the word count of Playing with Fire.

    As a clue, it is between 85,000 and 105,000 words. For extra guidance, The Woman in Black is 104,644 words and Think of the Children is 89,770.

    Simply e-mail me using the subject “Competition entry” and let me know:

    • Your name
    • Your address
    • Your guess

    The closing date is Saturday, June 22 at 6pm.

    After that date, the five closest guesses will win a copy of the book. Simple as that.

    You can’t enter if I know you personally – and only one entry per person (although if there’s more of you living in one house and you have different email addresses, you can have more than one per household).

    I’ll post the winner’s names on the Facebook page and will email them personally.

    PLAYING WITH FIRE (JESSICA DANIEL BOOK FIVE)

    (Coming: 18 July 2013)
    Seven years ago Martin Chadwick set fire to a Manchester pub, not knowing a teenager was sleeping inside. Chadwick’s release from prison is imminent, with journalists gearing up for a good old-fashioned media lynching.
    With the victim’s father telling the papers he is out for revenge, DS Jessica Daniel is left to keep an eye on Chadwick and his fiery eighteen-year-old son.
    If that’s not enough to keep her occupied, a private investigator is doing a fine job sticking his oar in, it looks like there’s a schoolgirl suicide ring in operation, her car is working a little too well, and the endless rain continues to pound her northern home.
    Jessica’s personal and professional life is in the balance – giving her barely enough time to focus on the person in her midst seemingly intent on burning everything to the ground.


    Jessica Daniel series extends to a minimum of nine books

    April 30, 2013

    This post has been a long time coming – but I thought I’d give everyone an idea of what’s going on with me and my various series.

    In short:
    - Pan Macmillan have bought three more Jessica Daniel books from me, meaning they will publish a minimum of NINE in the series
    - Jessica 5: Playing with Fire is out in the UK in ebook/paperback (Macmillan) /audiobook (published by AudioGo) on 18 July 2013
    - The Jessica series launches in the USA in July 2013
    - Jessica 6: Thicker Than Water should be out in the UK late in 2013
    - Jessica 7: Behind Closed Doors will likely be out in the UK during the first third of 2014
    - Jessica 8 / 9 will follow
    - My young adult/sci-fi/fantasy series – the Silver Blackthorn trilogy – will begin to come out from spring/summer 2014, with the second book likely to be released later that year
    - I am giving up my full-time job as a sports journalist to either, a) Retire; b) Be unemployed; or c) Be a full-time writer, depending on which way you look at it.

    I know I said “in short” but there’s a fair bit there!

    Essentially, I’ve been trying to juggle two full-time jobs for two years now – that’s 16- and 17-hour days, commuting, and many hours looking a computer screens. For the most part, I did that because I really enjoyed my job as a sports journalist and I liked writing books too.

    With my job, I got to work on the London Olympics, which was utterly fabulous. That career was what I wanted to do with myself and I’ve had a great 10 years since I graduated.

    The problem is that I simply cannot fit it all in any longer, so had to make a decision.

    Think of the Children has (I’m told) done very well for the UK publishers, Pan Macmillan. As far as I know, I’m the only UK-born/based person to self-publish through Amazon and then go on to have a paperback in the UK’s top-20 chart (feel free to correct me).

    I’ve also now sold over half-a-million books in the UK…and it’s all gone a bit beyond me sitting on my sofa trying to do two jobs.

    That’s 12 books that Pan Macmillan will be publishing from me, with only four of them out at the moment. That still leaves quite a bit of work for everyone.

    Something had to give – and it’s not the books, or, hopefully, my sanity.

    Lastly, for anyone who enjoyed the Q&A at the back of Think of the Children, I’m doing another one for the back of Jessica 6. There will be a month-long window after the release of Jessica 5 to e-mail me whatever you want, or to post on the Facebook group’s wall.

    Thanks for reading,
    Kerry


    Kindle Touch 3G competition winner

    March 30, 2013

    A quick post to say that the winner of the Kindle competition is (drum roll)… Nicky Wright from Thornton-Cleveleys in Lancashire.

    She took the picture below in Tesco, Blackpool, which shows Think of the Children at number three in their chart.

    Thanks to everyone who entered – I had loads, as ever.

    Jessica Daniel 5: Playing with Fire is out on July 18 and I’ll have some copies of that to give away in due course.

    IMAG0028


    Win a Kindle Touch 3G – free to enter

    February 26, 2013

    OK, so Think of the Children is *this* close to finally being out! In fact, the print version is already in stock on Amazon and in many bookshops.

    To celebrate, I have a brand-new Kindle Touch 3G to give away. Entry is completely free and you don’t even need to do much. Simply e-mail me a picture of any of my books or, if you’re in Greater Manchester, one of the advertising posters. Examples are below.

    Include:

    • Your name;
    • Your address;
    • Where you took the photo, ie shop & place;

    The books should be available in Tesco, Sainsbury’s, WH Smith, Waterstones and a bunch of other places. There are two scrolling banners in the Arndale centre if you live in Manchester, and around 90 train station posters around the north west. Photos of any of those count.

    The closing date is (Good) Friday 29 March at 6pm – so you have loads of time to take your photos. They should be in enough places that you don’t really have to go out of your way.

    Simply e-mail them and you get an entry into the draw. After that date, I’ll pick one entry at random – it’s not to do with quality of photo or anything like that.

    You can’t enter if I know you personally – and only one entry per person (although if there’s more of you living in one house and you have different pictures and email addresses, you can have more than one per household).

    I’ll post the winner’s name on here and on the Facebook group’s wall sometime over that Easter weekend.

    EXAMPLES:

    Think of the Children poster (taken by one of my mates!)

    Think of the Children poster (taken by one of my mates!)

    Think of the Children, Waterstones, Arndale, Manchester

    Think of the Children, Waterstones, Arndale, Manchester

    Locked In - Waterstones, Arndale, Manchester

    Locked In – Waterstones, Arndale, Manchester

    Locked In, Vigilante x2, Woman In Black, Waterstones, Arndale, Manchester

    Locked In, Vigilante x2, Woman In Black, Waterstones, Arndale, Manchester



    Jessica Daniel 4: Think of the Children is Amazon UK’s no.1 ebook pre-order

    Feb2-TOT-pre-order1February 2, 2013

    The title pretty much says it all.

    I’m not sure what to say, really. The publishers haven’t even begun marketing, yet the fourth Jessica Daniel book, Think of the Children, is the no.1 pre-order on Kindle in the UK, a full four weeks before it’s even out.

    This is entirely down to the many, many fabulous readers who have read the first three Jessica books and waited so patiently for its release since The Woman In Black was out in November 2011. I’ve been waiting too … I finished the first draft in the same month, so it’s been 16 months since then. I can barely remember half of what happens in it!

    The good news is the Jessica 5: Playing with Fire is coming in July 2013. It has an amazing blow-you-away cover to look out for.

    So, after a 16-month wait, you’ll have two Jessica books within five months. Whew.

    Guess what? Jessica 6: [Title under wraps for now!] won’t be too far behind either.

    Thanks so much to everyone who has pre-ordered it. Now I just hope you enjoy it.


    Jessica Daniel – Think of the Children: Competition winners


    December 15, 2012

    The five winners of the competition to win an advance copy of Think of the Children are:

    • Craig Pampling from Essex;
    • Mike Evans from Warrington;
    • James Gordon from Argyll & Bute;
    • Andrew King from Nairn;
    • Amy Stokoe from Tyne and Wear;

    They correctly knew that the name of Jessica’s boyfriend in Vigilante was Adam Compton. I accepted “Adam” as well.

    Thanks to all who entered – there were many – and only one incorrect answer among them, which was particularly pleasing considering people had to have read the books to know it.

    If you want to pre-order Think of the Children – out on February 28, 2013 – you can do so here.

    I *might* have a few more copies to give away in the new year, so keep an eye on this website, my Twitter feed, and the Facebook group. You can also e-mail me and I’ll put you on my mailing list. You won’t get spam – only the odd update about releases/pre-orders/competitions, etc.


    Jessica Daniel competition: Win Think of the Children

    December 5, 2012

    It is now less than three months until the release of Think of the Children. It has – literally – been over a year in the making already. I am giving away FIVE copies of the paperback proof edition. This is the copy that goes out to reviewers / bookshops / newspapers, etc, so aren’t the final paperbacks you’ll be able to buy in shops. As such, they are limited edition. I’ve even soiled them with my incomprehensible scrawl.

    If you’d like the opportunity to read Think of the Children a full two and a bit months before anyone else, just answer this question: WHAT IS THE NAME OF JESSICA’S BOYFRIEND IN VIGILANTE?

    If you know the answer, e-mail me:

    • using the subject title “Win Think of the Children”;
    • in the body, include your answer;
    • your name;
    • your address.

    Assuming your answer is correct, you will go into the draw. The closing date is 18:00 BST on 14 December 2012 (Obviously we’ll hope to get the book to you before Christmas).

    I will post the winners’ names here and on the Facebook group’s wall.

    Here is the small print which HAS GOT TO BE HERE for legal reasons and all that:

    Please read these competition rules carefully. If you enter the competition, I will assume that you have read these rules and that you agree to them.
    1. To enter a competition you must be: (a) UK resident; and (b) 18 years old or over at the time of entry.
    2. Competitions are not open to employees (or members of their immediate families) of Macmillan, Macmillan Ltd or any subsidiary of Macmillan Ltd, nor anyone that I know personally.
    3. No purchase necessary.
    4. Only one entry per person.
    5. Enter by sending your answer, name and address by e-mail
    6. Sending an e-mail is not proof that I have received your entry. No responsibility can be accepted for entries that are lost or delayed, or which are not received for any reason.
    7. The winner will be drawn at random from those who answer the question correctly.
    8. The closing date is 18:00 BST on 14 December, 2012
    9. You will be notified by e-mail. The decision will be final, and no correspondence will be entered into.
    10. The winner’s name will be posted on kerrywilkinson.com and facebook.com/JessicaDanielBooks after the closing date.
    11. By entering the competition the winner agrees to participate in such promotional activity and material as Macmillan may require.
    12. The prize will not be transferable to another person.
    13. No part of a prize is exchangeable for cash or any other prize.
    14. Incorrectly completed entries will be disqualified.
    15. This competition is being run by Pan Macmillan Ltd of Brunel Road, Houndmills, Basingstoke, Hampshire (“Macmillan”) in association with Kerry Wilkinson.
    16. Macmillan will endeavour to send prizes within a month of the competition end date but cannot guarantee this delivery time.


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