With a brand New Year having arrived all too quickly, I’ve been thinking about what might be happening in 2022 with regard to my books. I’ve now written twelve Mac Maguire mysteries and the thirteenth is about a third of the way there. This one will be set at Christmas and a Mac Maguire book set during the festive season is something that I’ve been trying to achieve for quite a while. In order to ensure that I succeed this time, I will continue writing this book during the early part of the year and will hopefully have it completed by June or July. If my plan works out then I should have no problem in publishing it in the run-up to next Christmas.
Does that mean that I will only be publishing only one book this year then? No.
Mac Maguire’s twelfth outing – The Blood Moon Murders – is a little different to the others. You might get a clue what this difference is through the dedication – ‘For Halloween, ghost stories and things that go bump in the night.’
I have long been an admirer of M. R. James and his ability to put ghostly goings-on right into the workaday world. I’d guess that it was the title that first gave me the idea that this might be my chance to incorporate a supernatural thread into a murder mystery. That and the fact that the book should be ready to be published around Halloween.
As you can guess from the title the murders take place during an eclipse of the Moon by the Earth. I witnessed a really good one some years ago and the effect of the moon darkening and then glowing red with the light that had made it through the Earth’s atmosphere is a really eerie experience. It was easy to see why ancient peoples saw this as a harbinger of change and even doom.
Looking through all my posts, I realised that I’d never written anything about something that looms large in my life every single day and also in that of my fictional alter-ego, Mac Maguire. It can, by itself, decide whether a day is going to be good or bad.
So, what brought this up in the first place? I was having an email conversation with one of my readers, who also has pain issues, when I was reminded of a review that someone left for one of my books a few years back. I’m paraphrasing here but it went something like – ‘It’s a good story and we know that the lead character suffers from pain but I don’t know why the author needs to keep mentioning it.’
To explain, Mac Maguire is the main character in my crime series of books. He’s a former police officer and murder specialist who was forced to retire from the force due to damage to his lower spine. This damage led to him having ongoing pain issues, in fact, pain issues very similar to mine! So, why did I saddle poor Mac Maguire with this in the first place? I was working at the BBC when I finally had to admit that I had a disability and it was only then that I began to notice the absolute lack of disabled people on TV and radio. This was also true for books and movies. So, when I began writing (ironically to take my mind off my pain) I wanted to ensure that I did my bit to make disabled characters more visible and that is why Mac Maguire inherited my pain issues.
The eleventh book in the Mac Maguire detective series has just been published. Here’s the official blurb –
‘Mac is just back from holiday and is once again getting bored when he is asked to help out by the local police. It turns out to be one of the strangest thefts that Mac has ever come across – a whole house has gone missing! Evidence is hard to find but, with some creative thinking and the help of his partner, Mac finds himself on the track of a suspected murderer. Despite his best efforts, tragedy strikes, and he is left to wonder if the murderer will ever be brought to justice and whether this might be a case that he will never recover from.’
This book has been a long time coming. Since I retired and started writing full-time, I’ve been averaging two books a year. It’s taken well over a year just to produce this one. I hope that it’s been worth waiting for!
2020 was a horrible year. I know that Covid was a major issue for many people but, surprisingly perhaps, it rated fairly low when it came to my family’s other health issues during that year. One of these issues, and not the greatest, was my Prostate Cancer. I had been diagnosed just the year before when, by luck more than anything, my problems urinating became apparent. I didn’t go to my doctor though as, like most men, I just tried to ignore it. However, I was asked by my neurologist during a routine examination about this and she insisted on reporting it, just in case. While the problem could have been caused by the damage to the nerves in my lower spine (which is also the cause of my chronic pain), my neurologist wanted to rule out Prostate Cancer first. This proved to be a very wise decision and one for which I’m very thankful. Continue reading
I’m confining my thoughts about the new year ahead to what I’m hoping will be happening with regard to my books. Although I have some thoughts about what I would like to see happen in 2021, I think that I’ll keep them to myself for now. I recently read an article that listed a bunch of people making their predictions at the start of 2020 and, of course, they were all way off the mark. Continue reading
Book sales have increased during this pandemic and, for some, it seems that crime fiction has boomed. This caused me to look at my own sales figures. As I’m a self-published author on Amazon, my sales figures are very easy to find. It looks as if my book sales have more or less doubled compared to last year. It is, of course, a situation that I’m very happy with, however, it did start me thinking.
I have been advertising a little more and I’ve finally got up to ten books in my crime series but I’m not sure that’s the whole story behind the increased sales. Continue reading
I attended a local reader’s group a few weeks back. It was one that specialised in crime and murder mysteries. I was interested in what they did and it turned out that they were interested in what I did too. The first question, as always, was ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’
I couldn’t give a definitive answer as I honestly don’t know. I don’t want to investigate how my ideas are created too deeply in case it’s akin to analysing a joke. It’s never funny afterwards. For me the strangest aspect of being a writer is having to keep an open mind. I don’t mean this in the usual sense as in being intellectually open to new ideas or concepts. An analogy for that is like being in a house and looking out of the window at all the new ideas parading by and then inviting the ones you like or find interesting inside. For me as a writer an open mind is more like having your front door wide open and whatever decides to walk in, walks in. Continue reading
In the tenth Mac Maguire mystery Mac goes to Cyprus. It’s been a hard winter and Mac’s back has been playing him up so his daughter Bridget has little problem in persuading him that he should go somewhere warm on holiday. Of course as soon as he arrives on the island something happens and the story kicks off!
I was in Larnaka, Cyprus for three weeks last year and spent over half the vacation wandering the streets looking for locations and trying to generate some ideas for a plot. I returned with the outline of a story in my head as well as a good visualisation for, at least, some of the settings. However, one evening towards the end of our stay, we were sitting outside a restaurant when it started raining. Of course we all rushed indoors and sat down next to a couple who were speaking Greek. She turned to us, smiled and made a comment about the English and rain in perfect English. Of course, the reason she spoke perfect English was because she was English, being born and brought up in the East Midlands. Continue reading
The ninth Mac Maguire detective mystery The Tiger’s Back is now available in Amazon Books. Here’s the blurb –
‘It’s January and winter is biting hard. Mac has been asked to investigate the brutal murder of a homeless man in London by his grieving daughter. Meanwhile two of Mac’s police colleagues are looking into the suspicious death of a Cambridge history professor. Their paths cross and they realise that both deaths are somehow linked.
During the investigation Mac meets someone from his past, someone he’d hope that he’d never see again. The Tiger, the most fearsome and violent criminal that Mac had ever dealt with, is once again loose on the streets.’ Continue reading