Cold Sacrifice is the first in a new series featuring my detective Ian Peterson. Already out as an eBook, it comes out in print this month. Ian Peterson accompanied Geraldine Steel in the first three titles in her series, Cut Short (2009), Road Closed (2010) and Dead End (2011). When Geraldine moved to London for Death Bed (2012), and Stop Dead (2013), she left her sergeant behind. Following the success of the Geraldine Steel series, my publisher asked me if I would like to write an accompanying spin off series for Ian Peterson. Of course I said yes! So now I am delivering two manuscripts for publication every year.
Can you give us some insight into the next instalment?
At the end of Cold Sacrifice, Ian Peterson hears that he has been promoted to the rank of Inspector. The next book in the series, which will be out in 2014, sees him and his wife moving to York. She is not keen on the move, which adds to his problems. Of course, he is soon involved in hunting for a serial killer.
Do you ever get squeamish when writing about murders?
No. I don't like reading about true crime. It is too upsetting. But somehow in fiction crime undergoes a transformation and becomes entertaining and intriguing. A lot of people say to me 'I love a good murder', and I know exactly what they mean. Crime fiction is exciting, exploring the conflict between good and evil.
What is the hardest part of the book to write?
The last chapter is always the hardest part to write. This might not be the final chapter the reader sees in the book, as I occasionally write chapters out of sequence, and often write the last chapter of the book before writing some of the earlier ones. But actually putting down the last word and thinking, 'that's it, finished,' is very hard. It's a kind of letting go, and that can be hard after months of hard working on a manuscript.
To what extent has your English degree helped you writing?
To the extent that wide reading helps to influence and inform what you write, I suspect it has been hugely important. It's the quantity and variety of books read, rather than the studying, that has been significant. Spending four years at university studying English gave me time to do a lot of reading.
You are a secondary school teacher in English, so at what point will you choose to just write novels?
I am about to give up the 'day job' as the writing has really taken over. Fortunately, with the two series, I am now able to earn a living from writing, which is a dream come true. It's also wonderful to be able to use my teaching experience to encourage others who aspire to write fiction, and I plan to continue teaching creative writing to adults.
You are married with two daughters, so how do you find the time to juggle all of your commitments?
My daughters are grown up so they take care of themselves. My life is certainly very busy, but I like that.
What is your family's reaction to your new fame?
They have been really supportive and happy for me, because my books have been so successful.
You have been travelling a lot lately, so where is the best place you have been to?
We have just returned from a week's writing course I was invited to run on the beautiful Greek island of Skyros. It was a wonderful experience, not only because it is an idyllic location, but also because the participants on the course were a lovely group of people. We all had a fabulous time, and I hope to return to Skyros next year to teach at The Writers Lab again.
What is next for you?
I have just finished my final read through of the next Geraldine Steel novel, Fatal Act, and next I'll working on finishing the second Ian Peterson novel which will be out next year. I am contracted to write these series until 2017 at least. Geraldine Steel will probably have about twenty books, and Ian Peterson who started five books behind, will run to fifteen titles. That's my plan, but who knows what the future holds?