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The Evolution and Coincidences of a Book

August 8, 2011

I am at the finishing stages of Death Sentence, a Val Bosanquet crime thriller. I did not set out to write a follow up to An Evil Shadow, which launched my detective Val Bosanquet on the reading world, but often a story takes a different path than the one imagined. I rarely plan a book in advance, preferring to allow the book to take  its own organic form.  Saves on research! Yet, the evolution and coincidences of a story never fails to amaze. My original plan was to write a British crime story based in the Fenlands of Lincolnshire, England. As a student, I spent some time in Long Sutton on working holidays and the people and landscape had a deep effect on me and I have long wanted to set a story there.

However, as the story started to evolve, the sales of An Evil Shadow took off and I was being asked constantly about a second book in the series. So I made the switch, abandoning my English detective and resuming the story of Val Bosanquet. It was remarkably easy to do, both landscapes being similar in many ways and my detectives sharing many qualities.

Coincidences frequently arise. Or, more likely, it’s just the writer paying greater attention to outside influences. In Death Sentence I have an investigative journalist who’s written a book Long Gone. Then my Facebook friend, Alafair Burke, announces her new novel of the same name. I quickly changed my journalist’s book to Last Seen. The coincidences increase when both Alafair and I use the same music track for book trailers.

In Death Sentence, a subplot is the investigation of a Chinook crash in Afghanistan which claimed the life of Val’s cousin and the rest of the special forces personnel on the chopper. The crash takes place in the Wardak province. Then this weekend, comes the tragic news of a Chinook being shot down in the Tangi valley with the loss of over thirty soldiers.

Death Sentence, a Val Bosanquet crime thriller, will be published in the fall. Val stumbles across a young teacher abducted and held prisoner for ten years. One of four women to have disappeared a decade earlier, can Diane Laing help Val locate the other women, or was her abduction part of an even more horrifying scenario? Has her nightmare ended, or has it just begun?

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