Fighting Monsters is the third book in the DI Hannah Robbins series and was published in ebook on 15 February. Rebecca has been a guest on the blog before with a couple of guest posts and I’m delighted to welcome her back on her blog tour, this time with a Q&A.
It’s a pleasure to welcome you to the blog Rebecca, would you please introduce yourself and tell us a little about your background?
Thanks for having me, Karen. I’m an ex-police detective with 15 years’ service. The first seven years were in uniform and the final years were in a specialist CID department.
Just before I left the police I started writing and now I write crime novels full time. Though leaving the police wasn’t a decision I made by choice. I had to medically retire due to my health. I feel fortunate though that I have found something else I love doing as much.
Without giving away too much information, can you please tell us a little about your latest novel, Fighting Monsters
24 hours after he walked away from court a free man, cop killer and gang leader Simon Talbot is found murdered. In his possession; the name of a protected witness from his trial.
For DI Hannah Robbins, it’s a race against time to find Talbot’s killer, and locate the bystander before it’s too late.
But as Hannah delves deeper into the past, she begins to question the integrity of the whole operation.
Where do you turn when you can’t trust the police?
We also meet some new characters who I hope readers will connect with and love. It’s a difficult case for Hannah as you really don’t know who you can trust, who has reason for the actions of the events that have unfolded. And at the heart of it are people’s lives.
Fighting Monsters is the third book in the DI Hannah Robbins series. Do you feel any pressure in continuing a series rather than writing a standalone?
I love writing the series because I am attached to the characters. They are alive and well inside of my head. I know what is going to happen in the next couple of books at least. But, saying that, I don’t intend to make it run and run. I think there needs to be a natural stopping point. When you’ve done all you can with the characters. I’d rather stop than see readers get bored.
I do also have ideas for standalones. So expect to see some of those in the future as well. I like to keep things fresh.
How did you plan/research your books? Do you plot in detail or just see where the story takes you?
My writing process has evolved from writing the first in the series, Shallow Waters, to this one, Fighting Monsters. With Shallow Waters, I was what you call a pantser. I had no idea what was going to happen, other than I knew the ending. I simply sat down and typed.
Now I write a longer version of a synopsis. I try to have an outline of what is going to happen. But in places it can be vague, giving me room to manoeuvre. If I get stumped while I’m writing, I will go back to my plan and work on it some more. Then go back to the writing. It’s a more layered approach now.
As for researching, I think it depends on what it is you need to research. There was one book that I needed to research a subject up front before I could start writing (it’s not one that has been published yet.) And for that I located professionals in their field and talked to them in person. It was important to me to get it right. But, generally, if I can get away with it, I will write around the subject and fill in the correct details afterwards. Getting the story down is the important part. If I think I can research a topic quickly without it stopping my work flow, then I will do it while I’m drafting. I’m a fluid writer. So, do what I feel works.
What is the best writing advice that you have received? Is there anything about the writing/publishing process that you wished you had done differently?
The best advice I have received is to write every day and it’s advice I would pass on. It keeps the story in your head and flowing. You can sit and work without wondering what was happening last time you were at your computer. Even if you can only manage 15 minutes one day, do that. It counts. Everything you do on your manuscript counts. I find it so much easier to write if I’m doing it every day.
Is there any part of the writing process which you enjoy (or find the most difficult) – i.e. researching, writing, editing?
I am not a fan of the first draft. The blank page terrifies me. I have to find the words, the emotions, the people, to fill that page. I would much rather redraft, and edit, because the scaffolding is already there. I can work with what I have. Even if it’s rubbish, I can read it, assess it as rubbish and know what needs to change. But the blank page. You don’t know anything because you haven’t done anything.
Are there any authors whose books have made an impact on you? What type of book do you enjoy reading for pleasure, and what are you reading now?
David Jackson’s books. His writing is just brilliant. He writes crime but he does it in such a way you are completely drawn in and emotionally invested. More people should read him.
I love to read crime, but I also enjoy reading other genres. I read YA, Sci-Fi (not hard sci-fi) and Non-fiction.
Do you read your own reviews?
I read them for the first couple of weeks, just to get a feel for how the book is being received and then I stop. The book is out there, it’s no longer yours. Some people will enjoy it. Some people won’t. It’s the same with books I read. I don’t enjoy every book I read but it doesn’t mean it wasn’t a well written book. Or that the author can’t write. It just means the story didn’t resonate with me. Books are subjective and I don’t need to continually read people’s reviews once I have let go of the book.
Is there anything that you wouldn’t write about?
I think there definitely are topics I wouldn’t write about. I don’t feel that it’s necessarily my “job” to shine a spotlight on any particular topic. If I’m not comfortable and don’t feel that I could do it justice, then I wouldn’t cover it.
When you’re not working or writing, what do you do to relax?
I read a lot. I have my two dogs who I love to spend time with. And my family. Also, I’ve recently found Netflix and kind of wish I hadn’t. It takes far too much time up!
If you could only keep 3 books on your bookshelf, which ones would it be and why
That is a really difficult question! 3 books?!
Okay, Stephen King, On Writing – Because it’s a book you can read again and again and is perfect if you are in need of a writing pick-me-up.
The Year of Living Danishly by Helen Russell – Because it’s a book about upping sticks and moving to another country. Learning about a whole new culture and trying to fit into that world. I think we are very comfortable where we are and I loved learning about Denmark (apparently the happiest country) and what it’s like to uproot your life for a place that is so completely different to the UK. (It is heavily snowed in a good portion of the year.) It made me want to do similar when I read it and I think I need to be reminded of that feeling occasionally.
Don’t Make a Sound by David Jackson – Because it’s brilliant crime writing and maybe I can learn to write so well by osmosis?
Thanks again for having me. It’s been interesting answering these questions!
Thank you Rebecca, and I’m sorry for being mean and only allowing you 3 books!
| About the Author |
Rebecca Bradley is a retired police detective and lives in the UK with her family and her two cockapoo’s Alfie and Lola, who keep her company while she writes. Rebecca needs to drink copious amounts of tea to function throughout the day and if she could she would survive on a diet of tea and cake.
Sign up to her readers’ club for a FREE novella, the prequel to Shallow Waters, the start of the series. Find it on the blog at rebeccabradleycrime.com You’ll also be provided exclusive content and giveaways.