Thank you to Rachel from Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me to participate in the blog tour for Blood on the Tyne and thank you to Colin Garrow for his guest post today!
About the book:
Blood on the Tyne: Red Snow (book 3 in the Rosie Robson series).
A dead body. A hoard of forged banknotes. A gangster out for blood.
Newcastle, December 1955. Returning home after a weekend away, singer and amateur sleuth Rosie Robson discovers a man lying on a baggage trolley with his throat cut. After the police get involved, an attack on Rosie and her boss prompts Inspector Vic Walton to find a safe house for the pair. But the bad guys seem to be one step ahead of them and Rosie is forced to track down a possible witness to the murder in a bid to learn the truth. Can the canny crooner solve the mystery before a Newcastle gang boss catches up with her?
Set on Tyneside, Blood on the Tyne: Red Snow is book #3 in the Rosie Robson Murder Mysteries series.
Guest post by Colin Garrow
Heroes and Collectives
Most novels have a hero or heroine, or in some cases, a pair of heroes or heroines. In creating what I hoped would be a new thriller series, I realised I’d gone a bit overboard in character-creation mode and for a while, hadn’t a clue what to do about it.
And it wasn’t the first time. Back in 2016, I wrote The Hounds of Hellerby Hall, the first book in my children’s series, The Christie McKinnon Adventures. Although I knew very well that my heroic pair, Christie McKinnon and her slightly less intelligent pal, Donal, were the main characters, as I wrote, lots of other characters seemed to be screaming out for attention, too. The result was that before I’d got even quarter of the way through, I suddenly had way too many characters. For a while I ummd and ahhd about whether to cut some of them out completely or just make them minor characters who only appeared in one scene, but try as I might, they kept popping back into the action. Eventually, I accepted them and got on with the story, recognising that although all these other folk were still minor characters, they were also vitally important to the story.
As it turned out, it wasn’t a big problem and my two heroes remained in charge of the action. However, when I started writing the aforementioned thriller series, it began to happen again.
The Relic Black series currently stands as one book – Terminal Black – with book two – Crucial Black – due out in a month or so. The book began with a completely different title – Ariadne 7 – with a vague plot around the idea of an escort service that catered to a group of villains. Luckily, I recognised that the title made no sense and renamed the book after its central character and completely changed the plot in the process.
Then the trouble started.
By the time I reached the 30,000-word mark, I had so many characters I began to think I’d created a monster that would evade capture for the rest of time. I re-wrote chapters, rearranged everything, wrote new beginnings (several times) and still couldn’t get a handle on how to take it forward.
And then it hit me. I had created a story with an ensemble cast.
Once I realised this simple fact, the rest was easy. All I had to do was make sure the main character kept his head above the rising ensembling waters and everything would be fine.
The problem, of course, was how to keep the plot moving and not make it seem like I’d gone off at a tangent with each new chapter. With that in mind, I avoided traditional chapters and started the book from a point close to what I thought would probably be the end. Then I moved the action to a week earlier and began to introduce the other characters who would all gradually converge towards a similar goal when everything would make sense. At least, I hoped that’s what would happen.
The book took seven years to write and what I ended up with is very different to my original idea. But having created this ensemble cast, the sensible thing would be to continue in this vein, a challenge that excites and horrifies me in equal measures. To misquote a popular song lyric, See that thing coming over the hill? It’s a monster.
True-born Geordie Colin Garrow grew up in a former mining town in Northumberland and has worked in a plethora of professions including taxi driver, antiques dealer, drama facilitator, theatre director and fish processor. He has also occasionally masqueraded as a pirate. Colin’s published books include the Watson Letters series, the Terry Bell Mysteries and the Rosie Robson Murder Mysteries. His short stories have appeared in several literary mags, including: SN Review, Flash Fiction Magazine, The Grind, A3 Review, Inkapture and Scribble Magazine. These days he lives in a humble cottage in Northeast Scotland.
Thank you to Colin Garrow for his post!
If you would like to know what other bloggers thought of Blood on the Tyne: Red Snow or would like to read excerpts and other guest posts by Colin, here is the full blog tour schedule: