The most common question I am asked as an author is: where do you get your ideas from? The Deadly Glimpses Trilogy had such an unusual birth, I thought I’d like to share it with you. At the time, I was very much ‘head down, bum up’ (an Australian saying) into the editing rounds of Thirty-Three Days, and the last thing on my mind was where was the next book coming from. So, I was driving to work (I manage a large Kia Dealership) when out of the blue I had the most unusual thought: ‘I was five years old when I first saw someone bleed out.’
Now, thankfully, I’ve never seen anyone bleed out at any age, let alone at five years old, but that random thought haunted me. Where did it come from, why did I think it, and what did it mean? In the Book, Glimpse, Memoir of a Serial Killer, Paul Rankin asks the question: Who knows where random thoughts of inspiration come from? For me to explore an idea, I must write it, and see where it leads. And so, the backstory of my Serial Killer who kept a journal because he wants to be the most famous murderer of all time, developed, starting at age five. He describes a horrific childhood, which was the catalyst for what was to come; a narcissistic, sociopathic killer who was destined to taunt the police because he craved the limelight.
My favorite part of writing is creating characters who the reader can invest in, and for the investigations I wanted to describe the relationship between four people. A cop who has seen it all, and is trying to rebuild his marriage after having an affair. His wife takes him back, but does she do it for the right reasons? And then, he is paired with a wealthy glamorous criminal psychologist who yearns to be at the coalface of a major criminal investigation. She is married to a controlling surgeon, who does not want her working with the cops. There is friction in both marriages as the two protagonists try to catch each murderer before they strike again.
There are three Deadly Glimpses, of three separate killers in this series, as our two central characters hunt them down all the while fighting their attraction for each other, and try to keep their marriages intact. Will they succumb to their desires for each other?
Wow! Those are some amazing ideas, Stephen! And having already read your other book, Thirty-Three Days, I am interested to see how these Glimpse novels play out.
Okay now for some lighter chit-chat…
What do you write?
Traveling through time in Thirty-Three Days. Can Jenny choose between saving the man she loves or saving the future?
I don’t know why, but all my books are around 100,000 words. To me that ‘feels’ about the right length to tell the story I need to tell. Sometimes though, it’s like when I finish a first draft, I have some creative ‘juices’ left in the tank, and I sometimes write a short story, just for fun. I often give these away to readers via Goodreads, or on my website, or to anyone who posts a review. Some of these have been short listed in competitions, but never published. One day I will have enough to put them all together in one book, an anthology, though there is no central them to them, they are more a rag tag, assorted bunch of stories I wrote for fun.
When did your writing journey begin?
I wrote my first book, Forever Night, after being inspired by a song by Leonard Cohen, called Nevermind. The song is one of those ones you wrack your brain to wonder what it’s about, but to me it was about a serial killer. The book is the story of a highly trained SAS soldier that survived a sadistic father, and a clingy over protective mother. He finds the one true love of his life, but, after being wounded in battle, becomes psychotically jealous, causing her to run away. Physically and psychologically scarred, he hunts for her, but mistakes women who resemble her, and so begins a hunt to catch a man more highly trained than the police.
Do you find inspiration in your own life for your writing?
Thankfully, my life is nothing like what I write about, and that’s a very good thing.
In 1999 Perth, Australia, Sergeant Rick McCoy investigates the murder of a woman found packed inside a suitcase.
The Killer abducts another victim and threatens to dismember her slowly until he is caught. His life is further complicated by a marriage in tatters. Frustrated at every turn, he is paired with glamorous Criminal Psychologist and profiler, Patricia Holmes.
While trying to rebuild his marriage, he finds himself in a desperate race against time to free the victim and fight his desire for his new partner.
Let’s talk about the publishing process.
My journey before joining The Wild Rose Press, was nothing short of a nightmare. I was contracted to a UK publisher that was bought out by a big company that immediately shut down the imprint I was signed to. So, began a long battle which forced me to self-publish three books until I could get contractually free of them. I LOVE being with the wonderful people at TWRP – they are awesome.
Any new projects on the horizon?
Once Book 3 is finished I am torn between writing a sequel to Thirty-Three Days, called Thirty-Three Years, or following a dream I have had for more years than I care to remember: to write a series of comedy stories around life in a large metropolitan car sales dealership.
Words of advice for fellow writers in the trenches:
No matter what, just keep writing, and don’t let rejections stop you; they are stepping stones to becoming published.
What was the hardest part of the story to write/research?
The psychology. My daughter studies it and I have a good friend who is a psychologist. I have the utmost respect for the profession, and sufferers of mental illness. If I’m going to write about it, I want to get it accurate.