I came home from the RototuaNoir crime writing festival in January fired with enthusiasm for working on my next novel. The story is inspired to some degree by my own life experience, involving some old family secrets, and set in the North Kent marshes close to where I was brought up. Writing from my home in New Zealand I have rely on the internet to refresh my memories of these isolated wetlands beside the Thames estuary, a haven for birds and wildlife littered with relics of light industry. The video in this blog post by Carol Donaldson conveys the area’s strange appeal.
The crime element of my new plot, which is purely fictional, is essential to the story but occupies a relatively small part of the text. This is in keeping with the trend, noted at the festival, for the term “crime fiction” to include much more than the traditional who-dun-its and police procedurals. “Crossover” books which combine crime with, say, the historical or romance genres or qualify as literary fiction are increasingly popular.
The characters in my new novel are also fictional, with the exception of rescue kitten Magic who plays a small part as herself. Despite its feline content, I don’t think the book will belong in the BISAC category of Fiction/Mystery & Detective/Cozy/Cats & Dogs, as it touches on some serious themes. I would prefer to see it coded as Fiction/Family Life or simply Fiction/Crime.
I hope the new novel will be published later this year. Meanwhile some of my earlier books are being discounted in the Smashwords sale from March 3 to March 9, so please have a look at this link and consider downloading one or more of them for less than the cost of a cup of coffee! They include the three 1980s medical crime-cum-black comedy novels I presented at the RotoruaNoir festival; the more recent Three Novellas set between England and New Zealand; and non-fiction books mostly on health-related topics.
Lastly, if you found this post through the “North Kent” tag, you may be interested in the new book Sunday’s Child by Jean Hendy-Harris describing some vividly detailed memories of what life in the area was like in the post-war years.