Characters

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There’s a big difference between central characters and minor characters. Here’s what I mean: 1. Getting punched in the face Minor character collapses unconscious in a heap, never bothers anyone ever again. Major character rides the savage blow, comes back for more. And more. No matter how often he’s hit, he keeps on going even though he’s obviously going to be battered to death. Then, just when you think he’s finished, he swings a hay maker of his own and his assailant collapses unconscious in a heap and never bothers anyone ever again. 2. Getting shot Minor character dies without fuss from a single wound. Major character staggers slightly, looks down at the blood seeping from his shirt then carries on regardless. May take several more bullets with similar minor effect. By the next scene all traces of injury have gone and he’s restored to full fitness. 3. Dialogue Minor …

opencirclebooksCharacters

Success

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The good news is that my first published novel, Due Diligence is doing rather well. Much better than I could have reasonably hoped, in fact. Better news is that the second Jenny Parker novel, Proceeds of Crime, is also selling well because people like Due Diligence so much they’re buying the sequel. Even better news is that the third book, Limited Liability, is almost ready to publish. So how did I arrive at this happy situation? First of all, I write. And write and write. Anything, everything. Every day. I find it essential to have a daily writing habit. Waiting to free up hours of quiet undisturbed writing time doesn’t work for me. It never happens. I find that if I write an hour a day I can complete a novel in a year. Secondly, I write with a great deal of freedom. I don’t revise or edit. I don’t …

opencirclebooksSuccess

How true can crime fiction be?

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Steve Mosby writes about how real events often inspire writers, but incorporating real-life trauma into entertainment requires very delicate handling. See the full article at the guardian books blog (Photograph: Alamy)

opencirclebooksHow true can crime fiction be?

Out of Action

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I’ve been a bit quiet lately. Not only on the blogging front but also in various other regards. I’ve not been well. I won’t go into details but it’s a condition that has been very uncomfortable and energy sapping. Now, I’m two weeks onto recovery from an operation to make me better. The surgeon promised me four weeks of agony. Those were his exact words. I paid an extra consultancy fee to have him repeat them and he did. Nevertheless, I proceeded with the surgery even though I felt a great deal of apprehension. So far, his words ring true. After two weeks I’m getting out of the agony stage and into the severe discomfort zone.   His four week promise makes me feel like I’m ahead of the game. Not much writing gets done when I’m in pain. The new Jenny Parker novel, Limited Liability, was put to bed beforehand and the fourth novel, Critical …

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Getting Involved

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  Is this your reaction to injustice?   If you’re anything like me you’re constantly hearing about situations that make you mad. The news is full of injustices and bad behaviour. The kind of things that make you want to do something about them. If you’re anything like me, you spend a few minutes being indignant then fail to follow through with anything concrete. Oh, now and again I might sign a petition but only if it’s emailed to me and all I have to do is click on the link. Actually doing something would involve time and money and might also include personal risk. Most of us don’t feel that we’re in a position to commit to that extent, we have other priorities that take precedence. We’ve got work to do, families to feed, a living to earn, children to play with, television to watch, books to read. Don’t …

djharrison99Getting Involved

Who’s Jenny Parker?

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 People often ask me where I get my characters from. One rather cynical soul accused me of ripping off people I know by putting them in books, making money from them and not paying them a penny! Well, that’s not the way I work. Really. There are a few people that think they recognise themselves in Due Diligence. One of them is right. All the rest are mistaken. Sorry. My main character, Jenny Parker, is certainly not based on any individual. She’s a product of my imagination, created by my desire to write about an ordinary person who gets caught up in serious crime. I wanted to explore the predicament of someone struggling without any safety net. I made her an accountant for two reasons. First, unlike someone who works for the law enforcement agencies, there’s no obvious support system for accountants who get into trouble. Putting her fate in the …

opencirclebooksWho’s Jenny Parker?

Just Because It’s Fiction Doesn’t Mean It’s Not True

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They say that truth is stranger than fiction. Someone (probably Mark Twain) said that the difference between fiction and non-fiction is that fiction has to make sense. Some of you will have read a previous post http://djharrison99.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/money-laundering-regulations.html where Jenny Parker tried to pay cash into a bank account and got herself into difficulties. A good friend of mine, and someone who has certainly read Due Diligence, fell into the same trap very recently. My friend is about to embark on an exciting business venture and is setting up a new company. One of the investors gave him a few thousand pounds in cash because he didn’t have the bank account details. On attempting to pay this into his account, my friend was taken aside, put in an interrogation room, visited and questioned by various people then told that the bank wouldn’t accept the money. He asked them if they would take a …

djharrison99Just Because It’s Fiction Doesn’t Mean It’s Not True

Ukraine

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As I write, all hell is about to break loose in Ukraine. Part of the second Jenny Parker novel, Proceeds of Crime, is set in Ukraine and I have a lot of sympathy for the plight of the Ukrainian people. In the book, Jenny befriends a Ukrainian girl who has found a husband in the UK through a ‘Romance Tour’ or ‘find a bride service’. Her twin sister hasn’t been so lucky, though. She’s gone missing after a similar attempt to get to the prosperous West. The situation highlights the disparity in wealth between the Ukraine and the UK. The Ukrainians are often so desperately poor that they will do anything to get to the UK. And I mean anything. The recent events, the protests in Kiev, the shootings and the ousting of the Russian-friendly president are all a result of the Ukrainians being desperate to improve their economic situation. …

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National Crime Agency

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The NCA became operational in October 2013. This may not mean much to you but I’m a crime writer and I’m getting pretty excited about this new organisation. It appears to be the UK equivalent of the American FBI which has provided a rich source of stories and characters for us writers. Remember Clarice Starling in Silence of the Lambs? Since the mid 1930’s and J Edgar Hoover, the FBI has been at the forefront of novels, film and television.  The arrival of an UK equivalent is a momentous event in crime fiction history. As a novelist writing stories set in the present, I can’t ignore current events and still retain credibility. If the local police force turn up to investigate and the reader knows full well it ought to be the NCA it’s not helpful to the plot. As both Due Diligence and Proceeds of Crime involve organised crime, …

djharrison99National Crime Agency

Money Laundering Regulations

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Here is another extract from Due Diligence. Have you ever had a similar experience to Jenny? ___________________________________________ As I queue in line at the bank, an officious lady with hair slightly too blonde and lipstick definitely too pink accosts me. She is carrying a clip board and wearing a navy blue uniform with the bank logo on its breast. ‘Can I help you?’ she demands busily. Her manner is brusque and unhelpful, in direct contrast to her words. ‘Oh.’ I am taken aback at first, deep in my own guilty thoughts. Having grabbed the bundle of cash this morning I decide to open a bank account with it during my lunch break, a sole account, one that Tim is unaware of, my account just for me and my future. It seems a safer place to keep the twenty grand and as I stand here excitedly I wish I’d brought it …

djharrison99Money Laundering Regulations