For most writers, publication day comes once a year. For me it came three times . . .
When Pan Macmillan offered for the first three books in the Kate Daniels series, I was ecstatic. I'd almost completed three books and was able to deliver before the ink was properly dry on the contract. In my innocence, I thought that 2012, 2013 and 2014 was sorted. I could sit back and relax - pen my next novel at a leisurely pace - as I imagined Agatha Christie might have done. Maybe even disappear for a while . . .
But my editor, Wayne Brookes, saw things differently, a chance to 'grow the addiction' in the series, to give readers the opportunity to get to know Kate really well in a relatively short space of time. Releasing the books every six months was a marketing strategy that worked. People have warmed to her in a way I never thought possible, a way I could only dream of when I created her. And with a new deal for two more books in the series, I have high hopes for the future.
Kate is not always easy to live with but she's a great detective. In my mind, she represents so many readers out there who, for whatever reason, feel marginalized, either as an individual or as part of a group. I felt driven to write about her even though it was a professional gamble. In a risk-averse business, there are easier ways to attract a publisher than the way I went about it . . .
Barring an investigation and a dead body, crime novels are vastly different. But all central characters need a unique selling point – such as Morse’s love of music and academia, Sarah Lund’s remoteness and love of patterned sweaters - but Kate Daniels isn't really unique, at least I don't think so. I drew on real life in creating her . . .
You see I have friends who hide their sexuality for fear of going no further in their chosen careers. I did that myself for a while. These are professional women and it breaks my heart that they feel – in this day and age – unable to be themselves, love who they want, live their lives like anyone else.
In drama, it has always annoyed me that gay and lesbian characters are almost always the sidekick, never the star of the show. In creating Kate, I felt I was redressing the balance in a small way. Her story was aching to be told – one that went on to spawn a series - and with a major publishing house.
So, on the eve of my third publication day in twelve months, I want to thank Pan Macmillan for sticking their head above the parapet with me. I may have been published years ago had I chosen the easy route. And to all my readers who see Kate the detective, not the label, thank you all for taking her to your hearts.
The Murder Wall was published in April 2012. Settled Blood followed in November, 2012. Deadly Deceit is published tomorrow. These novels are available in all good bookshops and on Amazon.