Today I welcome my friend Juliet B. Madison onto my blog for Writer Wednesday!
Over to you Juliet!
Hi. I’m Juliet B Madison & I’m the author of the DI Frank Lyle Mystery series. It’s a British based police procedural thriller series set in the imaginary town of Ashbeck, which is loosely based on my hometown.
I read a lot of British crime fiction. My favourite British crime authors include Agatha Christie, Peter Robinson, Peter James, P D James, Ruth Rendell, Peter Lovesey, Ian Rankin, Stuart MacBride and Colin Dexter. I’m not so keen on American crime fiction because I have no real idea how American police work but I like Jonathan Kellerman, Tess Gerritsen and Michael Connelly.
I have joined a few FB crime writer groups and made a few new friends. I love Indie crime books especially by my good friends, John Holt, Alfie Robins and Babs Morton.
I am single with no kids and have a mind-numbing crap paid office cleaning job. While I’m at work I always think about my books and attempt to resolve plot problems as anything is more interesting than cleaning, apart from cricket which always sends me to sleep.
I hope that you will like my hero Detective Inspector Frank Lyle as he is thorough, dedicated, humane and compassionate, not to mention being gorgeous to look at.
Please tell us more about yourself, anything you like- interests, background
I have loved reading and writing stories since I was very young.. My family used to force me to play board games, which I hated, because they got sick of seeing me with my nose stuck in a book but you don’t get good GCSEs from playing pointless mind-numbingly boring. boardgames. But I guess it was advance training for the crap cleaning job I have now. Watching paint dry would provide more mental stimulation
Please tell us more about the book or books you would like to feature today.
Today I want to talk about Heir to Misfortune which is the second title in the DI Frank Lyle mystery series. (The first in the series, Second Chances, was published by my own banner Dragonfly Press earlier this year.) Heir to Misfortune is set in the cold December of 1990 just before Christmas and features murder, corruption among local dignitaries, Blackmail, treachery and indecent acts against minors. This is a very tough case for Frank. Can he get his man? I won’t discuss the methods of murder here but this is a whydunnit, rather than a whodunnit, so the killer’s identity becomes clear early on but DI Lyle and his team still need to uncover his motives.
What gave you the idea to write in this genre?
I have read virtually nothing but crime fiction since my early twenties so I thought I would have a go to see if I could pull it off myself. I also watch a lot of crime drama on TV. It is one of the most popular fiction genre so I wanted to see if I could crack it’s surface.
Is there a theme or message in your work that you would like readers to connect with?
That crime does not pay and that nobody should ever be above suspicion or above the law.
What’s the funniest/weirdest thing you’ve done when doing research for your book?
I don’t think I have done anything weird or funny while researching the DI Frank Lyle series.
Do you ever base your characters on people you know?
I base them on people I admire but not necessarily people I know in real-life, although a very good writer friend makes a brief cameo appearance in Heir to Misfortune as a solicitor. DI Frank Lyle is loosely based on my favourite actor Robert Bathurst and he contains elements of characters Bathurst has played as well as having certain physical characteristics, such as Bathurst’s height and blue eyes.
Note from Lily: is it possible you saw Robert Bathurst in a very popular period drama set in the 1920s that we both watch? *winks*
Do you make a plan for your novels, or do you just start writing and see where it goes?
I have found that plans often change. I start with a crime scene and I know where I want the book to end but the journey from A to B often ends up going ways I had never expected. Heir to Misfortune has been a prime example of that. In 2013 DI Frank Lyle would be 70 and retired from the police so I see my role as recounting his most challenging case histories, a bit like Dr Watson was to Sherlock Holmes although unfortunately I am not as well known. DI Lyle certainly has no long or short term memory issues.
Which of your own books/ characters is your favourite and why?
DI Frank Lyle is my favourite because I have made him the kind of cop I would like to help me if any of my loved ones were murdered. He doesn’t have a maverick streak so gets results without breaking the rules and upsetting his superiors, with whom he actually has a good working relationship. They are a lot of maverick cop books out there so I decided to be different. Frank is also very humane and he cares about the victims of crime as well as those left behind. It is this human touch which makes people want to talk to him.
What has been the most helpful piece of advice you’ve received as a writer?
Five years ago I had a skeleton idea for Second Chances kicking around in my head. I went to a talk by crime author Peter Lovesey. There was a Q&A session at the end and I asked him how do you get past technical problems or things you don’t know about and he said to just write it and sort all that out later.
What books or other projects do you have coming up in future?
I will be starting Unholy Alliance, the third DI Frank Lyle mystery in November as my project for Nanowrimo. I also plan to publish my DI Frank Lyle books on Draft2Digital so that they will be available in other ebook reader formats but I have to wait until 24th September when Second Chances finishes its current KDP Select term. Heir to Misfortune will be at low introductory price but I will not enter it into KDP Select.
Have you had to do much research for the series so far?
It’s amazing how much I have already learnt, without realising it, from crime novels and TV crime dramas. I have had to research inquests and coroner’s verdicts and I have a good reference book about post-mortems and forensic medicine which I use to guide me through the autopsy scenes. I never copy directly from this book, just apply what it says to the situation in my own book. In Second Chances I had a Hindu detective so I asked Malika Gandhi lots of questions about the Hindu faith. I also ask Paul Trembling any crime scene questions I have. Any aspects related to Diabetes come from nearly 34 years of personal experience of living with the condition.
Is there anything you’d like to say to your readers?
DI Frank Lyle is a detective with a difference, he gets there without breaking the rules but don’t think that makes him boring, he’s anything but. The ladies seem to quite like him already. I think the books strike a good balance between his home and personal life, through which we find out what matters to him as both a man and a copper.
You can follow me on Twitter @JulietBMadison
You can find the DI Frank Lyle Mystery series on Facebook
You can buy Second Chances
You can get your DI Frank Lyle book Authorgraphed.