Writing Thrillers on Trains, Visual Story Ideas, and Kidnapping Plots with Rachel Amphlett

Podcast episode 28Thriller author Rachel Amphlett grew up reading thrillers. She mentions both Dick Francis (perhaps my all-time favorite mystery author) and Enid Blyton in our chat; those were two authors who introduced me to the world of mysteries as a young person as well.

I asked Rachel about writing in a genre that is predominantly occupied by men, but like JF Penn, she doesn’t let that phase or stop her. Her Dan Taylor series concerns a former British soldier struggling with PTSD, as well as an injury received during a run-in with an IED.

You can find out more about Rachel and all her books on her website RachelAmphlett.com. And as with so many of my guests, Rachel has a book – and two book extracts – available for free. You can find that on her website.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcript of Interview with Rachel Amphlett

Alexandra: Hi, mystery readers, I’m Alexandra Amor. This is “It’s a Mystery” podcast and I’m here today with Rachel Amphlett. Hi, Rachel.

Rachel: Hi.

Alexandra: How are you?

Rachel: Good, thanks, and thanks for having me on the show.

Alexandra: Oh, you’re so welcome. It’s great to have you here. Let me introduce you to our listeners.

RachelAmphlettBefore moving to Australia in 2005, Rachel Amphlett lived in the UK and helped run a pub, played guitar in bands, worked as a TV and film extra, dabbled in radio as a presenter and freelance producer for the BBC, and worked in publishing as a subeditor and editorial assistant. Her thrillers appeal to a worldwide audience and have been compared to Robert Ludlum, Michael Crichton, and Clive Cussler.

Thank you so much for being here with me today, Rachel. The thing that I found so intriguing about your books, or one of the things, is that you’re a woman writing in a man’s world. We mentioned J.F. Penn just before we started recording and the conspiracy theory-thriller genre really is dominated by men.

Can you talk a little bit about that? What drew you to this genre?

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New Romantic Mystery from Alexandra Amor

I have been remiss in mentioning this. I got too busy writing the next book in this series and very nearly forgot to let you know about the first book. 😉

Love and Death at the Inn:
A Juliet Island Romantic Mystery

60% Mystery. 40% Romance. 100% escape.

Born and raised on Juliet Island, Maggie Archer’s whole life is dedicated to the rustic inn her parents built. When a guest is found dead, the inn’s already precarious financial situation teeters on the brink. Maggie begins to wonder if the growing number of accidents at the inn are really just that, or if something more sinister is at play.

Elliott Simon’s life has recently gone off the rails. His stop on Juliet Island is meant to be temporary but when he finds a body floating in the ocean his plans are put on hold by the RCMP. Complicating matters is his growing attraction to the owner of the Cormorant Inn, the beautiful and headstrong Maggie Archer.

When a fire strikes at the inn, and it looks as though it could have been deliberately set, Maggie and Elliott are in a race to find the perpetrator before more tragedy strikes.

Love and Death at the Inn is the first in a series of cozy romantic mysteries set on the wild west coast of British Columbia.

If you like character-based stories where friendship and love form the foundation, beautiful locations, and a little bit of romantic entanglement, then you’ll love Alexandra Amor’s heartwarming Juliet Island Romantic Mysteries.

*Note: there are occasional instances of swearing in this book, including the odd F-bomb.

Purchase now in ebook or paperback at the following retailers:

Kobo
Amazon
iTunes
Barnes and Noble

The Swinging Sixties, Dirty Weekends, and Rat-Like Cunning with Peter Bartram

Podcast episode 27As writers, my guests and I make stories up from our imagination, but we also very often pull parts of them from our own lives. As a reader, I love nothing more than when a mystery novel is grounded in real life. It gives such depth and richness to a novel.

Peter Bartram is an author who has worked as a journalist for decades. He has brought that experience, and the experience of living and working in the seaside town in the south of England called Brighton, to his series of mystery novels. Peter’s series involves main character, and cunning journalist, Colin Crampton, his beautiful girlfriend Shirley the Sheila, and a host of other characters who are entirely fictional, but as Peter says, are influenced by his time on the news desk.

I learned some things I didn’t know during this interview, which always pleases me, including a bit about how newspaper type was set before the age of computers.

You can find out more about Peter and his Colin Crampton series on his website ColinCrampton.com. And as with so many of my guests, Peter has a book available for free. It is a prequel to the series and you can find it here.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcript of Interview with Peter Bartram

Alexandra: Hi everyone, this is It’s a Mystery podcast, I’m Alexandra Amor and I’m here with Pete Bartram. Hi Peter.

Peter: Good morning, Alexandra.

Alexandra: How are you today?

Peter: I am very well and how about yourself?

Alexandra: I’m good. Yeah, a little soggy here in Vancouver today, but otherwise doing well.

Let me introduce you to our listeners.

PeterBPeter Bartram brings years of experience as a journalist to his Crampton of the Chronicle Crime Mystery series. Which features crime reporter Colin Crampton in 1960s Brighton, England. Peter’s novels are fast-paced and humorous. The action is matched by the laughs.

Peter began his career as a reporter on the Worthing Herald newspaper in the U.K. before working as a journalist and editor in London and finally becoming freelance. He has done most things in journalism, from door stepping for quotes to writing serious editorials. He’s pursued stories in locations as diverse as 700 feet down a coal mine and the courtier’s chamber at the Buckingham Palace.

Peter has written 21 non-fiction books, including five ghost-written, in areas such as biographies, current affairs and how-to titles before turning to crime and penning “Headline Murder,” the first novel in the Crampton of the Chronicle series.

Welcome Peter.

I want to start back at the beginning and ask you what prompted you to make the switch from non-fiction to fiction after such a long career in non-fiction.

Peter: Well, I’ve always wanted to do it. A basic problem wretched me, I thought, “No money in it.” That may ultimately prove to be wrong, only time will tell.

The fact of the matter is, I’ve worked all my career as a journalist. I was a freelance journalist from 1974 onwards. When you’re a freelance journalist and you’re earning your living from it, you have to keep your nose to the grindstone writing features and stories and commissioned non-fiction books at the time. And it was only in recent years that I have had a chance to do this, which is something that I always wanted to do.

Alexandra: Colin and the stories that are set in Brighton.

You specifically chose to set them in the 1960s. So why is that?

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Spirit Sensing Sleuths, Rockefellers, and Aviation with Matty Dalrymple

Podcast episode 26In this interview with author Matty Dalrymple, she describes a scene that caught my imagination and reminded me why writers write. I loved hearing more about Matty’s amateur sleuth, Ann Kinnear, who, Matty explains, isn’t really even a sleuth in the first two books of this mystery series. Ann is someone with psychic gifts who, by accidents of timing and location, lands in situations that require her to use her gifts to help solve two crimes.

And isn’t that the way most of us would or could get embroiled in a murder investigation? I love that Matty has created a character who is growing into her role as a sleuth, rather than arriving on the scene fully formed. It seems so true-to-life.

When you hear her describe the scene on the battlefield you’ll know what I mean about why writers write. So beautiful! And it all came from her imagination. 😉

You can find out more about Matty and her Ann Kinnear series on her website MattyDalrymple.com. She’s also on Twitter and Facebook. And, for those of you who are interested in writing, Matty shares information and resources about her journey as an independent author at TheIndyAuthor.com.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcript of Interview with Matty Dalrymple

Alexandra: Hi, mystery readers, I’m Alexandra Amor. This is It’s A Mystery Podcast and I’m here today with Matty Dalrymple. Hi, Matty.

Matty: All right. How are you doing?

Alexandra: Very well. How are you?

Matty: Good, thanks.

Alexandra: Good. So, let me introduce you to our listeners.

MattyDalrympleMatty Dalrymple is the author of the Ann Kinnear suspense novels, “The Sense of Death” and “The Sense of Reckoning.” Matty lives with her husband and her two Labrador retrievers in Chester County, Pennsylvania, which is the setting for much of the action in “The Sense of Death.”

In the summers, they enjoy vacationing on Mount Desert Island, Maine, where “The Sense of Reckoning” takes place. Matty is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, International Thriller Writers, and the Brandy Wine Valley Writers Group. So, welcome, Matty. It’s great to have you here today.

Matty: Thank you. This is very exciting.

Alexandra: Oh, well.

Let’s talk about your main character, Ann Kinnear, and she’s a little bit special. So tell us about her.

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Italian Mafia History and Romantic Suspense with Dana Delamar

Podcast episode 25Romantic suspense author Dana Delamar explores themes of family and destiny in her Blood and Honor series of novels. As someone who was trained as a life coach, and who believes firmly that life is all about choice, it was fascinating to me to talk to Dana about the path that those in Italian mafia families must take, whether they like it or not.

Research plays a big part in Dana’s books – she’s been to Italy and looks forward to going back. (I hope she takes me with her!) And as she mentions, all of us authors live in fear of any kind of legal entity ever getting a hold of our browser history. Dana’s will be sure to include searches about money laundering and body disposal. 😉

You can find out more about Dana and her books on her website DanaDelamar.com. She’s also on Twitter and Facebook.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcript of Interview with Dana Delamar

Alexandra: Hello, mystery readers. I’m Alexandra Amor. This is It’s a Mystery podcast, and I’m here today with Dana Delamar. Hi, Dana.

Dana: Hi, how are you doing Alexandra?

Alexandra: Very well, how are you?

Dana: Good.

Alexandra: Let me give our listeners a little bit of an introduction to you.

danaone_0057_crop_9x5qDana Delamar is the author of “The Blood and Honor” mafia romance series which is set in Italy among the Calabrian mafia. Her first book, “Revenge”, received four stars from the RT book reviews, and was a top pick at the romance reviews. And was a double finalist for best first book, and best romantic suspense in the 2013 Bookseller Best awards. Her other books in The Blood and Honor series have been multiple award nominees and winners. Dana is a voracious and an omnivorous reader everything from biographies to Booker prize winners, to mysteries, thrillers, and anything to do with vampires. She says her parents let her watch way too many hammer horror films when she was a kid.

Let’s start by talking about “The Blood and Honor” series.

What drew you to writing about the mafia? I guess that’s my first question.

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Small Town Mysteries and Romantic Suspense with Morgan Wyatt

Podcast episode 24Author Morgan K. Wyatt writes in several different genres, including romantic suspense, paranormal fantasy and mysteries.

Today we’re talking about her Painted Lady Inn mystery series that she co-writes with her husband.

You can find out more about Morgan and her books on her website MorganKWyatt.com. She’s also on Twitter and Facebook.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcript of Interview with Morgan Wyatt

Alexandra: Hi Mystery Readers, I’m Alexandra Amore. And this is It’s a Mystery Podcast. I’m here today with Morgan K. Wyatt. Hi, Morgan.

Morgan: Hi.

Alexandra: How are you today?

Morgan: Oh, I am well. And yourself?

Alexandra: I’m good, thanks. Let me introduce you to our listeners.

MorganWyattMorgan Wyatt started writing in first grade when she was dissatisfied with the mundane endings of the reader stories. She writes romantic suspense under the names of Morgan K. Wyatt and Morgan Kay. Morgan and her husband pen cozy mysteries under the combined name of M. K. Scott.

And that’s one of the books I wanted to talk to you about a bit today.

I’m curious about what it’s like to write with your spouse? Can you tell us a bit about that?

Morgan: Well, first of all, we’re still married.

Alexandra: That’s a good sign.

Morgan: He’s the grammar hammer. And he is often the voice of reason. In one of my books he told me I was having someone think too much as they were falling because they would have hit the ground before they could have…he did the math and he told me they would have hit the ground in 4.5 seconds and they cannot have had those internal conversations.

Alexandra: In that time. I think I saw him describe on your Amazon pages that the physics expert or…

Morgan: Yes.

Alexandra: Yeah. And so how does it work?

Do you do the first draft and then show it to him? Or is there a bit of a back and forth?

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London Detectives, Psychometry and Crime Thrillers with Bestselling Author J.F. Penn

Podcast episode 23What makes us human? I think that’s the essence of so much of JF (Joanna) Penn’s writing.

In this wide-ranging and fascinating interview I talk to this bestselling author about the elements of her crime fiction that explore issues like why we are disturbed by human bodies once the person who inhabited that body is no longer there. Joanna loves research and travel, and has written fiction that spans the globe, including a recent dark fantasy novel, Risen Gods, set against the backdrop of Aotearoa/New Zealand.

Today we primarily discuss her London Detective trilogy, featuring Detective Sergeant Jamie Brooke and reluctant psychic Blake Daniel. I think you’ll really enjoy hearing Joanna share what inspires her fiction, and where her curiosity and fascination with history might lead her next.

You can find out more about J.F. Penn and her books on her website JFPenn.com. She’s also on Twitter and Facebook.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcript of Interview with J.F. Penn

Alexandra: Hello mystery readers, I’m Alexandra Amor and this is It’s a Mystery Podcast. I’m here today with J.F. Penn. Hi, Joanna.

Joanna: Hi, Alexandra. Thanks for having me on this show.

Alexandra: Oh, you’re so welcome. It’s so great to have you here. So for the uninitiated, I’ll just tell them a little bit about you.

jpenngrinJ. F. Penn is the New York Times and USA today bestselling author of thrillers with a supernatural edge
. Oxford educated, British-born J.F. Penn has traveled the world in her study of religion and psychology. She brings these obsessions, as well as a love for thrillers and an interest in the supernatural, to her writing. Her fast-paced ARKANE thrillers weave together historical artifacts, global locations, a kickass, protagonist, and a hint of the supernatural. The London Psychic series, which is what we’re going to talk about today, features British detective Jamie Brooke alongside psychic researcher Blake Daniel as they solve dark crimes around London.

We’re going to talk mostly about the London Psychic series today. I’m a big fan of police procedurals, and so these were the books of yours that I wanted to read the most. I finished “Desecration” a week or so ago.

Tell us a little bit about Jamie Brooke. You know, it was kind of heartbreaking to read Jamie’s story, and I was curious about what drew you to her.

Desecration-Cover-EBOOK-LARGE-360x570Joanna: It’s funny. I wanted to write a straight crime novel. That was what I went into this, because my ARKANE series is kind of action adventure.

I moved to London when I started writing this, I’ve moved from Australia. I was back to London after I think it was 11 years. And I wanted to do something in London, so that was kind of the first thing. I wanted to write a crime novel.

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Comic Noir and Advice from Sue Grafton with Renee Pawlish

Introduction

Podcast episode 22Author Renee Pawlish (and our very special guest Harley the cat) and I have a great chat today about her comic noir detective series, her new mystery series featuring a hard-boiled detective in the WW II era and much more.

Renee is a prolific author and a huge fan of the mystery genre. She’s been reading mysteries her whole life and it shows in the thoughtful way she’s created the detective for her longest running series, the Reed Ferguson Mysteries. Reed is a smart aleck, as Renee describes him, who is different than many other traditional noir detectives; he’s not a recovering alcoholic and he has a loving wife and family. Renee and I discuss Reed’s connection to other noir detectives like Robert B. Parker’s Spenser, Columbo, Jim Rockford and more.

I forgot to ask Renee about the ‘punny’ titles to some of her books. You can see some of those shown below, like The Postman Always Brings Dice and The Maltese Felon. I love an author with a sense of humour!!

Mystery fans will be thrilled to know
that Renee has started a page on her website aimed and offering readers mystery novels each month at a bargain price. Each month she features new mystery novels that are either free or on special for $0.99. You can check out this month’s deals here.

You can find out more about Renee and her books on her website ReneePawlish.com. She’s also on Twitter and Facebook.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcript of Interview with Renee

Alexandra: Hi, mystery readers. I’m Alexandra Amor. This is It’s A Mystery podcast, and I’m here today with Renee Pawlish. Hi, Renee.

Renee: Hi, how are you?

Alexandra: Very well, how are you?

Renee: Doing just great.

Alexandra: Good, and I should say we’re here with Renee and Harley, who’s there in the background.

Renee: That’s right, yeah, yeah.

Alexandra: That’s fantastic. I just want to explain to everybody that I have a bit of a cold, so I have a cold lozenge in my mouth. If I sound a little weird, that’s what’s going on there. Let me introduce our listeners to you.

ReneePawlishRenee Pawlish is the award-winning author of the best-selling “Reed Ferguson Mystery” series and other mysteries and stories. Critics have said that Renee is a promising new voice in the comic murder mystery genre and a powerful storyteller. Her book, and I might mispronounce this, “Nephilim Genesis of Evil”, is that right?

Renee: It’s Nephilim.

Alexandra: Nephilim, “Nephilim Genesis of Evil” has been compared to Stephen King and Frank Peretti. Renee was born in California but has lived most of her life in Colorado. So I’m really excited to have you here today, Renee, to talk about your “Reed Ferguson Mysteries”.

Renee: Yeah.

Alexandra: The thing that really attracted them to me is they’re in that sort of comic noir genre, and I’m a huge Robert B. Parker fan. He’s not with us any longer, of course.

I wondered was there a particular author like Raymond Chandler or somebody who inspired you?

This-Doesnt-Happen-In-The-Movies-new-450x643Renee: Yeah, kind of a lot of the classic authors. I actually wrote the first book in the series, “This Doesn’t Happen In The Movies”, gosh like 14 years ago. I was influenced by Sue Grafton. I’ve met her a number of times back when she was just getting going and another one was a local author here named, John Dunning who wrote the “Booked To Die”, the “Bookman’s Series” I guess they call it. And I was trying to come up with a detective that was a little bit funny, a little bit of a smart ass, and Reed was sort of born out of that.

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African Lions, Jane Austen and a Paranormal Detective with Vered Ehsani

Introduction

Podcast episode 21Today’s podcast episode has all kinds of fascinating connections…with a Michael Douglas / Val Kilmer movie, with turn-of-the-century Victorian England, and with Africa and African mythology. Which, as author Vered Ehsani points out, has much more to it than just the Egyptian mythology we most often associate with Africa.

Vered’s describes her paranormal detective mysteries as a cross between Jane Austen and Lara Croft, which makes for some really fun reading. The books are witty and sharp, and have layers of social commentary, as well as fascinating and mysterious plots. Vered has three novels available for free if you sign up for her newsletter, which is a fantastic way to get to know her detective, Mrs. Knight.

Later in the episode, Vered mentions a photo journal about Nairobi that she’s just released. You can find out more about that here.

You can find out more about Vered and her books on her website VeredEhsani.co.za. She’s also on Twitter and Facebook.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcript of Interview

Alexandra: Hello Mystery Readers, this is Alexandra Amor and this is It’s a Mystery Podcast. I’m here today with Vered Ehsani. Hi Vered.

Vered: Hi, how are you doing dear?

Alexandra: I’m good, how are you?

Vered: Good, I don’t actually have electricity right now, but it’s not a normal state of affairs, we just don’t have electricity whenever it rains, so we’re good.

Alexandra: Well, it’s nice that your WiFi is working anyway.

Vered: For a little while, yeah, we’ll see how long it lasts.

Alexandra: You’re the first author I’ve spoken to in Africa, so this is pretty exciting.

Vered: Cool!

Alexandra: Yeah, I’m looking forward to this very much, so let me introduce you to our listeners.

Vered-BooksVered Ehsani has been a writer since she could hold pen to paper which is a lot longer than she cares to admit. Since mid-2000 she’s lived in Kenya with her family and various other animals. When she isn’t writing she pretends to work as an environmental consultant. Her current book series can best be described as Jane Austen meets Lara Croft in colonial Africa. Although she can’t claim to be a paranormal detective, Vered does share a lot in common with the series main character who refuses to let danger and death inconvenience her.

And this series looks like so much fun and I was so excited to talk to you about it today.

Let’s start with Beatrice Knight, your main character, so she’s a paranormal detective. It’s the late 19th century, like 1890?

Vered: Yeah, 1890..she arrives in Kenya in 1899.

Alexandra: Okay, all right, and she was working as a paranormal detective in London, correct?

Vered: Yeah, yeah.

Alexandra: Okay, so take us on a bit of her journey to find Africa.

Vered: Basically the character is a British woman during the height of colonialism and of course as you know at that time Kenya, which was called East Africa, was under British rule. Because of some sort of problem in the family, they had to leave England and go to Kenya, or East Africa at the time, and she thought that she was retiring from investigating the paranormal but it turns out that Africa is actually full of paranormal and mythological stories and I had a lot of fun investigating and researching that.

We tend to hear a lot about Egypt mythology; that’s quite a common. When people think of Africa it’s usually Egypt mythology but there’s actually a lot of beautiful stories and mythology and fantastic characters when you go south of Egypt, yeah, and it’s also in Africa. That’s where my focus has been and what I’ve been exploring.

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Former Police Detective Writing British Police Procedurals with Darryl Donaghue

Introduction

Podcast episode 20Author Darryl Donaghue is a former British police detective. This means he is uniquely positioned to write British police procedural novels, which are among my very favorite type of mystery novel. (One day I might even work up the guts to write one of my own.)

One of the writing challenges Darryl put to himself for his Sarah Gladstone series is to examine what life is like for a police detective and explore how that career affects someone who is also a wife and mother. Will Sarah be able to continue with her chosen career and how will she handle the pressures from both police work and in her role in her family?

Darryl himself was faced with the choice between his passion for writing, and his detective career. He chose writing, much to readers’ delight. As with so many of the authors on this podcast, Darryl offers his first book for free on all platforms, so that readers can try it at no risk. He also has a Sarah Gladstone short story available for free on his website.

You can find out more about Darryl and his books on his website DarrylDonaghue.com. He’s also on Twitter.

Press play (above) to listen to the show, or read the transcript below. Remember you can also subscribe to the show on iTunes. And listen on Stitcher.

You can also click here to watch the interview on YouTube.

Transcription of Interview with Darryl Donaghue

Alexandra: Hello, mystery readers. I am Alexandra Amor. This is It’s a Mystery podcast, and I’m here today with Darryl Donaghue. Hi, Darryl.

Darryl: Hi. How are you doing?

Alexandra: Very well. How are you?

Darryl: Good, good.

Alexandra: Good, good. I’m very excited to have you on the show today. So let me give our listeners a bit of an introduction to you.

DarrylDonaghueDarryl is a former British detective who now writes crime fiction novels. He quit the police two years ago to concentrate on writing and now, independently publishes the Sarah Gladstone thriller series via Amazon and all the other e-book retailers. The series offers a realistic modern view of policing from the unique perspective of a young police officer starting her career. He is currently working on the third book in the series which will be out soon. So we’ll look forward to that, and we should point out as well, right off the top, why don’t we, that there’s a short story, a Sarah Gladstone short story available on your website.

Darryl: Yes.

Alexandra: So people can check that out if they want to, and the first book in the series is free…

Darryl: That’s right.

Alexandra: …so people can really get a feel for what Sarah is like.

Why don’t you tell us a little bit about her. So she’s a mother and a wife and a young PC, as you say in the U.K., when she starts out.

Darryl: She is 33 years old, and she’s got twin girls, sort of a happy family situation. She’s just started in the police. So in “A Journal of Sin,” the first book, she’s about two years into service of that one, so she’s not a detective yet. And the short story, it gets you inside into her first day out as a uniformed officer. The idea of the series is we’re going to watch her career grow. As each book goes on, she’s going to become more experienced.

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