Guess who’s in the hot seat this time?

In a change from the regular schedule (you know the one where I do all the talking!), today I have the privilege of sitting in the guest’s seat over at Gone Writing, an awesome blog run by friend, author and fellow Mysterian, Phyllis Entis.

Pop on over if you get the chance, it would be so good to see you there 🙂

The Gone Writing spotlight went dark for a couple of months, but it’s shining once again. And the writer standing center stage is Lynne Fellows, one of the charter members of Mystery Authors International. Fate determined the path for Lynne who, despite proud roots, bade Britain a fond farewell to follow her heart to Iberia, […]

via Presenting Lynne Fellows — Gone Writing


There’s a first time for everything

Some weeks back, I recall saying to a fellow author that I always had the title in mind before I began to write a story. I added – rather smugly, I fear – that I’d always stuck with that initial title.
Until now …
So, here I sit, confessing that I’ve changed my mind – or rather, I’ve found a better title 🙂

Courting Danger is no more.

In its place, we have


The reason for this is manifold.

The story has been revised and now sits better in the (mixed) category of women’s fiction / courtroom drama / mystery.

It focuses more on what the main characters want and how they deal with getting it, so their interaction becomes more vital to the overall theme while the trial runs alongside everything.

On top of that, the cover has had a facelift and will be revealed nearer launch time.

So, I’m eating humble pie at my earlier smugness – but, hopefully for all the right reasons.


W is for … Who, What, Where, When & Why?

The 5 Ws of storytelling – as applied to my  next release Courting Danger 

  • Who

Who’s involved? From the character profiles already posted, this should come as no surprise that the story revolves around the four lives of Fern, Raven, Nessa and Stefan.

  • What

What’s it all about? Principally a court case, following on from Stefan’s attempt to kill Fern last summer. The story aims to look at both sides of the case and deliver the reasons behind each character’s actions and motivations.

  • Where

Where is it set? Primarily in Portugal for the trial, but then it’s back to England and the fictional town of Framleigh.

  • When

When does it take place? It picks up eight months after the girls’ summer holiday. Since that time, Stefan has been in the remand centre awaiting trial, and plotting for his freedom. Fern & Raven returned to Framleigh after the attempted drowning and now make their way back to Portugal for the trial. Nessa had also returned to England, but kept away from the others and soon found herself back in the Algarve, renting a villa near to the remand centre to be close to Stefan.

  • Why

Why am I telling this story? The summer holiday tale was originally planned as a short story for an anthology, and is told in The Fifth Wheel. But I soon realised I couldn’t leave it unresolved. The pursuit of justice meant there had to be a follow-up story. Then, the characters took over and wanted more attention. So much so that there is another story (or three) to follow – Heirlooms & Heiresses being the first one that sees the girls start up a new venture as Private Investigators in their very own business: The Blackleaf Agency.

R is for … Raven Hegarty

Character profile.

Name: Raven Hegarty

Age: 25

Description: Black-haired, 5’9, brown eyes, olive skin, very attractive. No fuss girl, no make-up, or jewellery.

Lives in Framleigh (a fictional village in Warks), with her mum, Rachel. Boyfriend is Finn Delaney (PC at local station, was a trainee with her and they re-met when she began her Tae Kwon Do classes – he is a part-time instructor at the community centre)
She was training to be a PC when her mum was diagnosed with MS. Gave up her career to care for her mum and worked in a supermarket to make ends meets, but resigned out of boredom – and after a masked gang raided the store during one of hers shifts.)
When her mum’s condition deteriorates, Raven is forced to accept help from the community. As she realises that she cannot be the carer her mum needs, she decides (encouraged completely by her mum) to retrain. Upset at missing out on her chosen police career, she is keen to work in a similar field, and retrains as a PI so she can work from home. She yearns for fulfilment, to feel that she is making a difference. She detests injustice of any sort and has attended many protests and demos to have her voice heard.
When a former very close friend (Nessa) chose a new man over her (and Fern) during a recent and much-needed holiday, Raven was incensed. The fact that the man was using Nessa and tried to drown Fern resulted in them attending his trial in Portugal and Nessa still stood by him. Raven disowned Nessa and became best friends with Fern, the victim.

Her mum, Rachel, is also dark-haired, but greying at the temples. Slim build. Pale skin, often in pain but puts on a smile.

Finn is tall, strawberry-blond-verging-on-ginger, wavy hair, broad-shouldered, big hands, grey eyes. Quite serious. Fascinated by forensics, wants to branch off to CID. Allergic to animal hair.

She is a sociable woman, loves pubs and dancing, gets on well with old folk since she admires their values and stories of past adventures. She has no time for misbehaved kids, jobsworths, call centres, salesmen in general (Smarmy smooth talkers)
Enjoys going to the rifle range with Finn. Takes mum to various support centres at hospital. She is determined and focused. Raven is a fighter. Impulsive, hot-headed, loud, abrasive and opinionated She doesn’t suffer fools. Acts first, thinks later. Too quick to get involved. Meddlesome. She has been stuck in a rut for the last two years and yearns for excitement and something to focus her intelligent mind on. Assuming that her loved ones are safe, she will jump into any adventure feet first and trust her instincts for a successful outcome.
But she is a very faithful friend – unless betrayed.
She is scared of getting MS like her mum yet avoids doctors in case something is found.
Feels betrayed by Nessa, but misses her friendship. Feels let down by officialdom and has a deep loathing for bureaucracy and paperwork of all sorts..

Raven is the glue in the story and holds much of the cast together. Her reactions are always pivotal and wide-reaching.

M is for … Multiple Viewpoints

Writing a novel from multiple viewpoints (or POVs) is not for the faint-hearted.

Some readers hate it and there are many writers who hate the idea of it also.

However, plenty of famous authors have nailed the technique. Such as Jodi Picoult’s My Sister’s Keeper, Amy Tan’s The Joy Luck Club and even the renowned George R. R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series.

Even so, there’s the very real risk that you’ll have readers throwing the book up in despair, dizzy from juggling the different personalities and motivations.

Courting Danger is told from the viewpoint of 4 characters, and therefore much will hang on the way I present the change from one person to another. I’ve read a lot about how to do it – and I’ll admit, I didn’t follow all the advice either. Not because I think I know better, but simply because some of the tips that I’ve listed below didn’t suit my story.

That aside, if you fancy the challenge, here’s some of the most common advice I found:

1 – Does your story make sense from multiple points of view? The danger here is that without a single main character to root for, the reader may become disinterested because of a more global awareness of all of the characters, and their needs and wants. You risk losing that special relationship of the reader with a character he can relate to if you spread him too thinly.

2 . You cannot now – at any point – become the all-knowing narrator. You can’t know what another character is feeling or thinking while you’re in the head of someone else. It’s not called limited POV for nothing.

3. Each of your viewpoint characters needs a unique place in your novel. They must be distinct characters that have a purpose for being in the story and are used to narrate the story. Keep their purpose clear throughout so as not to confuse the reader.

4. Each character whom you’ve given a point of view must have his or her own arc. This means the character should have a conflict, whether external, internal or both, and a resolution.

5 . Instead of breaking point of view mid chapter and confusing your reader, consider devoting one chapter to each point of view. This is where I took a different path, as Courting Danger sometimes tells the same scene from a different character’s perspective and I’ve chosen to make the scene the chapter. (Oh dear – am I doomed?)

6. Don’t tell the same scene from each character’s point of view. (Yep, I’m doomed) It is suggested that this slows down your story and doesn’t move it forward.

7. Create an individual voice for each character. Each character should have a different outlook on his or her circumstances, and a different way of self-expression.

8. And, finally – it’s not an easy style to write, and definitely not always well received, but it can be a clever and satisfying method of storytelling.

Well, I’m really glad I decided to write on this topic, because I’m now convinced it’s all been a huge waste of time.

Time will tell, but for now I’m going to go and hide in the corner and debate with myself why I ever thought I could do this.

Thanks for reading 🙂

K is for … A golden KEY

Is it true what they say, that a golden key can open any door? Is this the secret to success?

Stefan, my antagonist in Courting Danger, certainly hopes so. He is pinning his hopes – and his freedom – on his father being able to ‘incentivise’ the judge so that he can walk free.

But, can money buy your way out of any problem? This is the essence of one of life’s great ironies: Success leads to money. Money rarely leads to success.

Sorry, Stefan, it seems you might just have to tell the truth and be damned!


I is for … A question of Innocence

In my novel, Courting Danger, the question of ‘innocent until proved guilty’ is the basis of Stefan’s defence.

And while it may seem a cut-and-dried case, his spin of the actual events does give rise to reasonable doubt. Even in a court of law, innocence can be a subjective topic. Determining the charges against a criminal – from murder to manslaughter, from arson to negligence, from assault to self-defence – calls for a judgement on both culpability and intent. It’s never as easy as it seems (apart from being caught red-handed or trapped by your DNA) Whenever it’s case of one person’s word against another’s, then there will be doubt, and an opportunity to spin the facts, as only a politician knows how – well, and a convincing liar!

I found this quote recently and it made me reconsider Stefan’s actions – maybe just for a while anyway 🙂

As soon as a person – or creature – is hurt, whether it be emotionally or physically, then an element of self-defence enters the reckoning. It is how we then react that determines the extent of our guilt – or indeed, our innocence.

Applying this statement to his background, even Stefan has been hurt. Badly so. In fact, it is this hurt that drives him to seek revenge. Had he not been damaged in this way, would he have followed the same path?

Then again, can we excuse our misconduct on our pasts, on how we’ve been treated by others?

Of course not. But, it makes you think.

Still, as my mom would say  “if ifs and ands were pots and pans, there’d be no work for tinkers’ hands.” 🙂