As promised here is a guest post from Malcolm for your stop on the blog tour. Any problems just give me a shout.
Guest Post Malcolm Hollingdrake
How did you start the DCI Cyril Bennett Harrogate Crime Series?
I was born in Bradford so I was no stranger to the Yorkshire Dales, a regular, weekend picnic venue. However, it wasn’t until I arrived at Ripon College of Education to spend three years of what was said to be study, did I truly appreciate the area! Harrogate was always a favourite destination. It’s a special place, in total contrast to the industrial city of Bradford I knew in the 50s.
After writing my first, self-published novel, ‘Engulfed’, I read that Harrogate was considered to be the ‘Happiest place to live in the UK’; that got me thinking and so DCI Cyril Bennett was born. ‘Keen as Mustard’ (Now entitled, ‘Only the Dead’) was self-published as an eBook but sat almost unnoticed on Amazon’s shelves! (I think it had fallen down the back!)
Like all things, ideas are born in the strangest of places and the inspiration for the second book in the series came with a chance conversation whilst on holiday. I discovered that running beneath Harrogate was a disused railway tunnel – that gem of knowledge was the catalyst for my next novel, again a self-published eBook, ‘Just Above Hades’ (Now entitled, ‘Hell’s Gate’).
As a writer I had always hoped to win a publishing contract. Rejection letters become a way of life but you persevere in the hope that someone will see the value of your work. I’ve been incredibly lucky to be offered a book deal with Bloodhound Books for the Harrogate series.
The third novel entitled, ‘Flesh Evidence’, is due out alongside the first two before Christmas; three books in two months! Exciting! The fourth is finished apart from the editing.
The biggest thrill for me will be to see my work in book form. To hold it and flick the pages will be an emotional moment. I see writing as comparable to climbing a mountain. I’m lucky to have someone who has always believed in me and encouraged me, I have readers who have shown their support; their reviews steady the rope and take the strain to make climbing a little easier. I feel as though I have the skill to reach the summit but often, through no fault of my own, I fall. It’s about starting that climb over and over again in the hope that one day, one day, with the team’s help, Iwill stand on the top and be in a position to wave the Bloodhound Banner!
Where do you write?
I write wherever I can, providing that place is stationary! Trains, planes, boats and cars are out of bounds. Don’t get me wrong, I’d love to but I suffer from acute travel sickness so that’s out. I’ll write anywhere at home but a favourite spot is with my back to a south-facing window at the end of the dining table. Unfortunately, my detritus, research really, tends to be spread alongside me too. In an ideal world, I’d like a room where I can leave everything and just close the door. One day!
Ideas come at the most inopportune times. I now use my phone to jot down notes and ideas or make a voice memo. On so many occasions in the past something has come to mind and I have arrogantly said to myself that it’s so important I’ll not forget and then…gone! It was ever thus. Now, next to the bed, I keep a notepad and pencil for when, on rare occasions, I have an awakening Eureka moment.
I have always been a people watcher and this is a wonderful writer’s trait. Noting the way people move, the way they interact and speak can only help create and develop real characters. Sometimes, a chance conversation, a saying or colloquialism will often spark an idea that can be used or developed. The other week, my wife was on the phone and she was put on hold during which time music was played, you know the type, as if it’s played on a Jew’s harp; it was Handel’s Water Music. She turned and said, “This music is making me want to pee!” I nearly wet myself and so it was used in the latest book.