Earlier this year, when Bad to the Bone was published, I was fortunate to have a guest post from Tony J Forder on Linda’s Book Bag all about becoming a writer. You can read that post here. Recently I was thrilled to attend the launch of Tony’s novel Degrees of Darkness and when I realised what a smashing bloke he is, I had to invite him back onto the blog to celebrate his latest book, Scream Blue Murder. Luckily he agreed to come! Today Tony is telling us all about his writing comfort zone.
Tony’s launch (with fellow author Eva Jordan and me).
Scream Blue Murder was published by Bloodhound on 8th November 2017 and is available for purchase here.
Scream Blue Murder
Mike Lynch is going through hard times. But things get much worse when he witnesses a murder in a lay-by. Snatching the victim’s car in order to get away, Mike soon makes a shocking discovery – the victim’s young daughter and her nanny are hiding in the rear footwell. This is when the real trouble begins.
Mike wants to go to the police, but the nanny, Melissa, wants to delay until the daughter, Charlie, is somewhere safe. Mike agrees to this request before finding out the seriousness of the situation, and just how much danger they are really in.
Who exactly was the man he saw murdered? And who is the man he saw pulling the trigger?
In a situation where nothing is what it seems, Mike will have to fight for his life to protect a woman and a child he doesn’t know. And when the death count rises, he will discover what kind of man he really is.
When you can’t identify the victim, how can you find the killer?
Degrees of Darkness is published by Bloodhound and is available for purchase in e-book and paperback here.
Degrees of Darkness
Pre-teen girls are being abducted from their homes and their families murdered. When
Frank Rogers, once a DI with the Met and now running his own debt collection agency, is told that his own daughter is missing, his son murdered, he naturally wants to become involved with the case.
Soon Frank’s face is all over the news. In an unexpected turn of events, the killer contacts the police and says he is willing to talk, but only to Frank.
When the body of the first abducted girl is discovered, Frank realises it is a race against time to save his daughter.
In order to solve the case, Frank must work out how the killer is picking his victims.
But how do you catch a murderer who is hiding in plain sight? And can Frank unravel the mystery, when he has so much to lose?
Am I Sitting Comfortably?
A Guest Post by Tony J Forder
I think the one thing I cannot be accused of is remaining within my comfort zone when writing. My first and fourth books are police procedural crime thrillers, featuring the same characters working out of my home city of Peterborough. Writing that second book of the series (as well as the third which I am currently eight chapters into) was like stepping into a warm and comfy pair of slippers. I knew the characters inside out – their strengths and weaknesses, likes and dislikes, knew what made them tick and drove them forward. In so many ways it was nice to be able to pick them up again and work with them in order to create another book which I hope will be as well-received as the first.
Sandwiched between books one and four, however, are two very different pieces of work. Degrees of Darkness, released in September this year (following April’s release of Bad to the Bone) is a very dark, psychological serial-killer book that is a study of the human psyche from mainly three very different perspectives – an abducted child, the father who will do anything to save her, and the killer who intends inflicting both emotional and physical harm. They each experience varying degrees of a very different level of darkness throughout the journey, and none are left unbroken by it. It is an uneasy read at times, perhaps, but I hope a rewarding one.
When I came to book three, not only was the story going to be different – a fast-paced, action-packed thriller – but I became convinced that I had to tell it differently as well. The first third of Scream Blue Murder was written from my usual third-person perspective, but as it unfolded I realised that it would be better served if told from the first-person POV. I re-wrote that first third, and moved on. About two-thirds of the way through I felt that I was not doing justice to the story, so I went back to third-person and re-wrote it again. But by the time I came to figuring out where the story was going to end, I had once again come to the conclusion that I really did need to step out of my comfort zone and tell the story as it was meant to be told – back in the first-person once more. It seemed to me that I had to move away from the familiar, that the nature of the book demanded the immediate perspective from the narrator’s viewpoint.
It was the first time I had attempted such a book, and the first time I had written anything other than a short story from the first-person POV. You will know how different these viewpoints are from reading books, but you may not be aware of the entirely different approach the author has to take when writing them. It requires a completely fresh mind-set, both in describing the story for your reader and in the way you portray the lead character and those around them. As my own worst critic, I am not best placed to judge how well I did. But with Matt Hilton, author of the Joe Hunter thrillers saying “Forder didn’t spare the horses when writing Scream Blue Murder. This book rockets along, a breathless action-packed ride. Perfect reading for fans of Simon Kernick and Jeff Abbott.” and Mason Cross, author of the Carter Blake series of thrillers offering “An action packed, twisty thriller. Great stuff.” I could not be more thrilled with how it was received by writers whose work I respect and have followed for many years. Moreover, when writing Scream Blue Murder I was completely captivated by the process, loved every second of it, and I have to say it was by far the most pleasurable experience I have had when writing. It was a release, of sorts, enabling me to express myself in a wholly different way.
Scream Blue Murder, released on 8 November, was intended as a stand-alone book. However, long before the end I knew that I would be revisiting the main character again at some point in the future, that there was a series here if I wanted to go down that road. To that end, I have a storyline and half a dozen chapters already written, and they are proving to be extremely satisfying to write.
I don’t know what my own future holds, let alone the future of my characters. I think I have other stories inside me that I want to purge myself of, but having created these characters now, with readers enjoying them so much, I also want to keep bringing them back for further adventures. There are, of course, only a certain amount of hours in the day, and I cannot write everything at the same time. I need to knuckle down and prioritise, but not from the perspective of what I think might sell best – never that. As most writers do, I write for myself first and foremost. I have to continue doing that. So I enjoy my Peterborough series, I enjoy what I hope will be my second ‘series’ when following up on Scream Blue Murder, and even Frank Rogers from Degrees of Darkness may yet return. But if something else comes along, something that insists it be written, then I will slip out of that comfort zone once again and write it.
After all, I started writing because I have stories to tell. And that really is the reason why the next book will get written.
(Sounds like very exciting times ahead Tony. Good luck with all your books.)
About Tony J Forder
Tony is the author of the critically acclaimed crime thriller Bad to the Bone, the first in a series featuring DI Jimmy Bliss and DC Penny Chandler. The second book in the series, The Scent of Guilt, will be released in March 2018, with a third currently in progress.
On 19 September 2017, Tony’s dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, was also published by Bloodhound Books. This was intended to be a stand-alone novel, but Tony is now considering the possibility of a follow-up.
Some years ago, Tony won a short story competition judged by an editor from Pan Books. The story, Gino’s Bar and Grille, went on to be published in Dark Voices 2, part of the celebrated Pan Book of Horror series. Three further short story sales followed: Book End, published in Dark Voices 4, Character Role, in FEAR magazine, and finally A Grim Story, which featured in A Rattler’s Tale. It was the start of Tony’s publishing journey.
Between April 2017 and March 2018, Tony will have had four novels published by Bloodhound Books, but believes there is much more to come.