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Extracts of ‘Murder Now and Then’ and the dangers of writing in the ‘soon-to-be’ future

3Dcover MNATShould I update my opening scene? What do you think in the light of Brexit and Inderef.

I began my murder mystery ‘Murder Now and Then’ with a prologue to set the scene:

“The Prologue

May 9th 2019

‘I wouldn’t kill my husband. How could you think such a thing?’

Joanna sat on the grey plastic bench, her hands in her lap, absentmindedly tearing tiny pieces from a ball of spent tissue and watching them drift down on to the brown tiles; droplets of tears joining the snow-flaked floor.

Even though Joanna was alone, she could feel the glare of DI Norton boring into her, willing her to confess. How easy it would have been to halt his incessant questioning and say ‘Yes, I did it,’ just to silence him? His voice still lingered in her head.

Numb with the enormity of her situation she closed her eyes and sat in a sleepless trance, her hands now motionless and her mind free–falling in a bottomless void.”

So far so good. The novel brought Joanna’s plight immediately to the attention of the reader. Even though it was set in 2019 the passage was fairly timeless.

Next I set the scene of the murder in 1919 ~ notice the change in style for the historical content:

“May 9th 1919

“Sergeant Major Alfred Donald Keith Regmund appeared before the Bedford Division Bench on Wednesday morning. Crowds waited outside Shire Hall to see the prisoner arrive and depart, which he did in a closed cab. Three or four rows of public gallery were filled, as also was the grand jury gallery.

Mr P D Holmer presided, the other Magistrate being Mr A C Greenachre. Superintendant Patterson went into the witness box and gave evidence as follows.

‘On Tuesday May 13th I arrested the prisoner at Haynes Park. He was conveyed to Bedford. On arrival I charged him on suspicion of murdering a girl, Lucille Vardon at Wilshamstead on 9th May. I cautioned him and he said,

‘I understand my unfortunate position, and your justification for arresting me, but I am innocent, and I shall be able to prove my innocence.’

The prisoner was then remanded until 11.15 am on Tuesday next.” 1

 1Bedfordshire Times and Independent May 30th 1919 (names have been changed)

This was a true unsolved murder. The newspaper cuttings were detailed and explicit. Fascinating!

Then I launch into the novel with the up to date murder, but backtracked to July 2017. Confused? When I wrote this in 2013 it seemed a long time into the future, but I realise now that I fell into a trap of making predictions where history has caught up with me:

“July 2017         Joanna and Bob Thomas at Pear Tree Farm

Joanna, a farmer’s wife of forty two years of age, whose youthful make-up-free complexion was more like that of a woman in her early thirties, looked out of the yellowing UPVC faux Georgian windows of their old farmhouse. She smiled at the sight of the small herd of prize Jersey cattle her husband had purchased when Britain had won back independence from the EU. The cows, she felt, were a symbol of that independence since the little island of Jersey had enjoyed self government for centuries.

Britain and the farmers especially, were enjoying the freedom which some couples experience after the break-up of an unhealthy marriage – that of mutually beneficial friendship, without binding ties. Of course all the countries involved had undergone the pain and bitterness of a difficult and lengthy divorce, with complicated legal proceedings stretching both lawyers and politicians to the limits, but now all of that was behind them. In fact, some said that many nations still in the EU, held a silent respect for the British spirit that was willing to believe that it would be best to go it alone.

Still maintaining brotherly and sisterly links within the former British Isles; England, Scotland, Wales and even Cornwall and the South West now enjoyed their own governing body. For England that had been a great victory and each country had celebrated the occasion in style with street parties, the likes of which had not been witnessed since the dear Queen Elizabeth’s Diamond Jubilee back in 2012. Ireland too now held three councils, one in the north, one in the south and a further umbrella council. This worked much like the Parliament in London had done in the past; a matriarch overseeing the British Isles as a whole.”

Well there you have it. I now have  dilemma. Mind you, parts of the predictions were almost true. The timing was awry though.

What shall I do about it? What do you think? Should I update my kindle version or not. I’d love to hear your opinion on the matter.

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Filed under Historical Fiction, Murder, Murder Now and Then, My books, Writing a novel

Crime author Laura Read’s review of ‘Murder Now and Then’

Laura Read and I have been following each other’s blogs for some time and so agreed to review each other’s novels with honest reviews. It is always refreshing as an author to read reviews like this and to learn from them.

ISBN 9780957252080

Murder, now and then available on Amazon Click on the cover link

Here is an extract:

‘The novel reminds me of the TV series Midsomer Murders, with strong themes of family, time and place featuring throughout. Diana describes all of the various suspects in detail, and frequently changes perspective to tell her story and reveal more clues. Her descriptions of the locations in Bedfordshire and Jersey, as well as how she brings her characters to life, are what make the story.’

Author Laura Read’s Blog

I take her points about technology and politics. Having written the story in 2013 the world was changing but I tried to predict short term future ~ a dangerous game when the novel is only launched in 2015 and the novel begins in 2016 and it is still circulating in 2017. I will have a more detailed blog post about this shortly.

Laura’s crime writing is much darker than mine. She refers to ‘Murder Now and Then’ as cosy in comparison, which is probably why it has been read in libraries. I am happy with that description since it focuses on the mystery and intrigue rather than the gritty nature of the murders.

I am in the middle of reading ‘Deadly Sins’ at the moment and I’ll review it due course, but I wish her all the luck in the world in her writing career.

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Filed under Blogs, Book reading, Book reviews, Murder, Murder Now and Then

UK Indie Literary Festival 2016 Schedule

ukiNDIElITFESTHere’s the line up for the action packed Indie Literacy Festival on 23rd July

at St James Hall, Bradford:

9:15-9:30 Michael Wombat (Reading)
9:40-10:10 Rachel Cotterill (Workshop) Putting Words in their Mouths: Realistic vs Believable Dialogue
10:15-10:30 Victoria Howard
10:40 – 11:10  Claire Colley Finding Inspiration
11:20 – 11:35 Joshua Sutton (Reading)
11:45 – 12:15 C S Woolley
(Workshop) The Joss Whedon Effect – How to write believable strong female characters
12:30 – 12:45  Alex Brightsmith (Reading)
12:50 – 12:10 Fliss Snowden (Reading)
12:15 12:45 Vicki Kinnaird (Workshop)
1:00 – 1:30 Diana Jackson (Research ~ Curious Coincidences and Poignant Parallels)
1:40 – 2:10 Irene Lofthouse
2:20 – 3:20 D M Singh & Joe Kipling Panel

but there will also be skype links:

C J Rutherford                             12:00—1:00

Kendare Blake                             2:00 — 3:00

Roger Gordon                               3:00 – 3:30

Bridget Allyson                             3:30—4:00

Kendare Blake                              4:00—5:00

Free tickets for this event can be found on the official website:

http://ukindielitfest2016.wix.com/indiefest

 

 

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