I’m not like most writers. I never scribbled stories down by torchlight under my duvet as a child. I don’t have drawers – or indeed hard drives – full of half-finished novels or tales of dragons and demons which even under torture I’d not reveal. I didn’t read the great literary classics or break-neck thrillers when I should have been revising for O levels.
My only dream, from as far back as I can remember, was to join the police. With some family history and a rose-tinted-spectacled view of a policeman’s lot, there was no plan B. When I joined Sussex Police at eighteen and a half, I could never have dreamt it would turn me into a crime writer three decades later.
As a career detective, and then the police commander for Brighton and Hove, I’ve seen and done things I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy. However, no experiences in life are wasted so having published two true crime books in 2016 and 2020, it seemed a natural progression to shift genre to fiction and write, what I’m delighted is Goldsboro’s Book of the Month for May, Bad for Good.
In my later years in the police, I experienced first-hand how policing and politics collide. That got me thinking what would happen if police cuts became so savage that state-sponsored vigilantism took over? And what if that was against the background of the murder of a senior officer’s son, power grabs, corruption and blackmail?
Once I imagined how bad could it get, this high-octane thriller simply burned inside me. Chief Superintendent Jo Howe’s world is one few know and immersing her in the extremes of when good people go bad, with the colossal human cost of that, was an immense privilege. Even if I did feel guilty over the life-or-death battles I plunged her in!