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How long does it take to write a crime novel?

When I was first published some nineteen years ago it used to take me a year to write a novel. As I gained more experience and confidence that year became nine months and then six months. I thought this would give me more breathing space until my then publisher decided to publish two a year. This eventually got cut back to two crime novels every nine months. The main reason being not that it was too quick for readers but too quick for book reviewers who wanted greater breathing space between reviewing the novels.

Inspector Ryga Mysteries by Pauline RowsonThis then resulted in publishing a DI Andy Horton crime novel and then nine months later an Art Marvik mystery thriller. I then introduced a new character and a new series, my 1950s set Inspector Ryga mysteries, of which there are currently three in the series:DEATH IN THE COVE (1); DEATH IN THE HARBOUR (2); DEATH IN THE NETS (3) and DEATH IN THE DUNES (4) scheduled for publication in Autumn 2022. I am currently working on plot lines and ideas for number five in the series.

Art Marvik Mystery Thrillers by Pauline RowsonBy the time I started writing about Inspector Ryga, Marvik had solved four cases including the mystery of what happened to his parents killed in an underwater explosion while diving off the Straits of Malacca. The Marvik mystery thrillers are: SILENT RUNNING (1); DANGEROUS CARGO (2); LOST VOYAGE (3) and DEAD SEA (4).

With the DI Andy Horton series, I have written sixteen of which fifteen have been published.These however are now being re-published by Joffe Books, giving DI Andy Horton a whole new lease of life, with exciting new covers and new titles introducing my intuitive, fit, flawed, hunky detective who lives on a yacht and rides a Harley-Davidson to many more readers across the globe. Horton solves multi-layered, gripping crimes in and around the Portsmouth area, the Solent and the Isle of Wight. Number sixteen in the DI Andy Horton series is to be published early 2023.

Writing two books a year can create considerable pressure, this can be fine if the joy of writing and the motivation is still fresh. I'm delighted to say that it is with me.

I usually go through about eight drafts/revisions of a novel before I am happy with it and sometimes (often) it is a good idea to put some distance between revisions. Therefore once I have got to revision three/four, or maybe even five, I will set aside that novel and start researching the next one. Once I have the idea for the next novel, have researched the locality, the historical aspects it if is an Inspector Ryga book, the main character (the victim) and other key characters it is time to set that aside and continue the revisions with the other novel.

There is also useful time to be spent away from the keyboard.

In my case this is filled with many creative pastimes as well as walking, which is not only great exercise but also helps me with ideas for crime novels and thinking through my plots. Knitting and crochet, another of my hobbies, not only produces some nice cardigans and but also stimulates the little grey cells as Poirot says. I can merrily while away the time in my character's heads, thinking out their motivations while sewing, painting, knitting, walking and crocheting though not all at the same time! And of course reading is a great escape.

To sum up I'd say comfortably it takes me nine months to write a novel. I could do it in six if I had a deadline to meet, or if I wanted to relax a little more I could set myself a goal of one novel a year. The main thing is that I still very much enjoy writing my crime novels and I sincerely hope that my readers continue to enjoy reading them.

FEBRUARY 10TH, 2022 @ 5:33:53 GMT

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