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Pauline Rowson on what makes a crime fiction writer

It’s often said that you should write about what you know, but I don't agree. I’ve never committed a murder, or been a police officer, and neither am I married to one. I’ve had no previous experience or knowledge of the law, except what I’ve read in crime novels, and I’ve never been to an autopsy, yet after many trials and tribulations I finally got the job as a crime writer. It’s my belief then that you should write what you are enthusiastic about, but you also need some additional qualities.

Persistence and patience are essential in order to be able to ferret out the information you require. This can be desk research via the Internet, the library and/or by speaking to individuals.

When I first created the flawed and rugged DI Andy Horton I approached Hampshire Police (the county in which my novels are set) and asked if I could talk to some police officers in the relevant departments. They let me visit them even before I was published. Now, having several crime novels under my belt, I have many police officers to call on for assistance.

Websites are also very informative, including those of the police and government organisations. By trawling through them I get a great deal of information or a contact name and email address.

It's also worth following people on Twitter. I follow the police both on  their official feeds as well as individual police officers who provide the unauthorised version of what is really happening on the ground.

For contacts I find the professional social media website Linked In extremely helpful. Here I have connected with many professionals who have been happy to help and pass on their knowledge and information.

Patience is also essential in order to be able to track down, read and analyse the reams of information you gather, a tenth of which might be useful and only a tenth of that which might finally appear in your novel. So you’ll also need to be selective.

You must have a keen interest in humanity, the ability to ask probing questions and listen to the answers. You should also have absolutely no desire to speak about yourself and your novel.

Keen observation skills and a good ear can both be utilised when travelling by public transport, an absolute must for an author. Observe body language, and develop a good ear for conversation. Listen to mobile phone conversations, they can provide a wealth of information on family and marital rifts.

All authors should have an open enquiring mind. Once you open your mind to ideas they can come thick and fast and they can come from anywhere – that overheard train or mobile phone conversation, that snippet of research you’ve just unearthed, a place you have visited or something you’ve seen.

So there you have it, no previous knowledge or experience required just the desire to create, write, observe and enjoy.

There are now eleven in the DI Andy Horton series with the twelfth FATAL CATCH due for publication in the UK in September 2015 and in the USA in January 2016.

Shroud of Evil - DI Andy Horton 11The eleventh in the popular marine mystery series of British Police Procedural Crime Novels featuring the flawed and rugged, DI Andy Horton

How far would you go to protect a secret?

For DI Andy Horton there is no choice, withholding information in a murder investigation could cost him his job.



The explosive new marine crime novel featuring former commando Art Marvik


Silent Running - an Art Marvik marine crime novel by Pauline RowsonTough, fearless and fit, Marvik is not bound by the rules of the law

"Fans of Rowson’s DI Andy Horton books will be delighted with her new series featuring former marine commando Art Marvik. A tense, terrifying thrill ride that twists and turns with dizzying speed, combined with a likable, smart, tough, but all too human hero, make this a cracking-good new series—action fans need Marvik on their radar." Booklist

 



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POSTED BY: PAULINE ROWSON
JUNE 14TH, 2015 @ 7:00:41 UTC
 
 


Comments

RE: Pauline Rowson on what makes a crime fiction writer


Thanks for the article and your honesty in the steps used to establish a believable novel.
God speed, maryb

COMMENT BY MARY, MARCH 4TH, 2015 @ 23:33:14 UTC
 

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