It was so disappointing that Newcastle Noir was cancelled for the beginning of May, so I was delighted to be asked to take part in the Newcastle Noir Blog Tour. I kicked off the tour on Friday, April 24 at By The Letter Book Reviews, hosted by the lovely Sarah Hardy.

Sarah sent me some great questions about appearing in public, my latest books, where my characters come from, and who is my inspiration:

Newcastle Noir is a literary festival celebrating the best in contemporary crime writing. The festival, rooted in the North East of England, brings together writers from the North East, across Britain, as well as from further afield.

Based at Newcastle’s City Library, the festival is hosted in an amazing venue, with plenty of time between events to meet authors, buy books and have a break!

This annual gathering of crime fiction authors and readers offers events geared to a wide audience including panel discussions, readings, talks and crime writing workshops.

So for my stop, I am delighted to have Zoë Sharp join me. Zoë was due to appear on one of the many panels at the event. Very happy that Zoë agreed to me interviewing her instead.

From an author’s perspective, what’s it like appearing at a book festival/event?

I think any kind of public appearance is always going to be nerve-wracking to a certain degree. Writing is such a solitary existence, normally, that getting out from behind our keyboard and mixing with readers, other authors, bloggers and reviewers is just such a lovely experience. With very few exceptions, they’re a wonderful crowd. People have been asking how I’ve been coping with the current UK lockdown. I say that life more or less goes on exactly as usual. With the possible exception that I seem to be using more bleach…

For the rest of the Q&A session, please visit By The Letter Book Reviews here.

Today is Day 6 of the Blog Tour, and I’m over at By The Letter Book Reviews, the guest of the marvellous Sarah Hardy. I’m talking about changes that have taken place through the series.

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I’ve always said that when you write a continuing protagonist in a long-running series, you have to make a choice right from the beginning how much you’re going to allow them to change.

Keeping them static does have its distinct advantages, I must admit. For one thing, it doesn’t matter which book a new reader picks up first, as they’re not going to encounter any big spoilers for earlier stories. It’s also a lot easier for the character not to age significantly, although I think most readers accept that book-time works at a far slower rate than real time.

When I began writing the Charlie Fox series, I knew right from the outset that Charlie herself was going to develop and grow from book to book. Part of the fascination with the character for me is being able to set her personal as well as professional challenges in each story. I like to take her on a personal journey—one that she will learn from and grow in some way—quite apart from the dramatic events of the book.

At the beginning of the series, in KILLER INSTINCT, Charlie was not yet working as the close-protection specialist she later becomes. She was still very much an amateur when it came to her involvement with crime. By that I mean that she didn’t work for any kind of agency, private or government, who were paid to investigate. She gets caught up in events and has to deal with them as best she can to find a way out, protect the people she cares for, and to survive. It turns out to be very good training for what comes later.

Charlie is a little more raw at that point in her life, she’s still looking for direction and purpose after being kicked off the Special Forces training course she’d fought her way onto, and then being thrown out of the army altogether. At the start of that story she’s on the way back up from her lowest ebb, and I included a nod to her then-job working nightclub security in the latest outing, BAD TURN.

Read the rest of this article over on By The Letter Book Reviews.