I’m all for a challenge and I genuinely enjoy acquiring new skills. It’s probably for this reason that I am au fait with the basics of building a dry stone wall, what to do on a Formula 2 sidecar outfit, how to use an electric arc welder, or the etiquette of engaging in a sword fight. You never know when such knowledge will come in handy.


Yup, that’s me clinging on for grim death around Mallory Park race circuit!

I confess, though, it wasn’t entirely with research in mind that I ventured out onto the waters of the River Derwent this week to try my hand at rowing. This past winter, I’ve been plagued by increasingly painful back problems and have been advised by my physio that I need to do some physical exercise beyond giving my brain a workout behind a computer keyboard, or undertaking general DIY.

Neither of which count, apparently.

So, considering the Captain of the Derwent Rowing Club, Lewis Hancock, is not only a friend but also the very fine narrator of two of my audiobooks, what better place to start?

Lewis Hancock

Lewis Hancock, at the audiobook recording of DANCING ON THE GRAVE

To read the rest of this blog and find out how I got on, click over to MurderIsEverywhere.


One of the best pieces of advice I ever received about writing fiction was to read the words aloud. Reading your own work really helps you to pinpoint those clunky bits of narrative or dialogue, or those descriptive scenes that go on for just a bit too long.

Better yet, I’ve found, is to get somebody else to read your work back to you. After all, you as the author know how the rhythm of the story should run and where the emphasis should go for maximum dramatic effect.

audiobook narration

But, if those clues are not present in the way the words are presented on the page, then your reader is never going to be able to reproduce that same rhythm in their head. I’ve always believed that more than the subject matter, the characters or the plot, it’s the individual voice of the writer that turns casual readers into continuing fans.

When you pick up a book by an author unknown to you, before you’ve finished the first paragraph—often even the opening sentence—you just know if you like the sound of that writer’s voice. I had this with the first Robert B Parker novel I picked up, the first Ken Bruen and the first Lee Child. More recently, I happened across the Wyatt Storme series by WL Ripley. They all have such a distinctive style that flicks a switch inside my head. Something in the back of my mind goes, “Yes!” and I have to read on.

If you would like to read on, go to MurderIsEverywhere.