Happy New Year everyone!

For my first blog about my novels of 2018…. I’m gonna have to wind the clock back a whole month. And yes, I will have to mention the C-word – unavoidably! 🙂

In early December, I returned to my old home of Chester for a week. It is of course the very city in which my crime novels are based, and the stomping ground of my lead character Detective Constable Dominic Strider of Chester CID.

I was there to see family and celebrate my birthday (I turned 36 once again!!!). The weather was dry and crisp: perfect for taking long leisurely walks around the historic shopping streets and ancient City Walls.

My wife and I also dropped into the gorgeous medieval Chester Cathedral to see the annual Christmas Tree Festival (told you I had to use the C-word – Christmas!!)

I’m halfway through writing my fourth novel – Till The Fat Lady Sings. It’s set in and around the Cathedral, and focuses on an evil opera singer who’s holding a concert there, and who brings a wake of death, destruction and thievery with her. And if you think I’m giving the game away here, just consider this book as a Columbo-esque mystery. It’s not so much WHODUNNIT but HOW they’re caught!

This seemed an ideal opportunity to visit some of the locations I use in the book, to walk down the cold flagstones in the quadrangle that Strider will walk down, to check out all the little characterful nooks, crannies and hidden rooms, and gaze in awe at the architectural majesty of the building’s inner sanctum.

It truly is a superb building and totally worth a visit. It confirmed in my mind that I’d chosen the perfect location to focus this fourth story on (the Cathedral received mere passing mentions in my previous books).

And it proves once again the importance of always visiting real-life locations you’re writing about, if you can. It gives your writing the pervading air of authenticity and – hopefully – has the power to transport readers there.

If I can evoke the feeling that you’re actually there inside the Cathedral – seeing what Strider sees, hearing what he hears and feeling what he feels – then I’ll have done my job and done it well! 🙂


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