Writing plans can take a long time to put together, but are so easy to break. Life has a habit of catching up with you and dictating the flow of your work, so whilst I do have plans for my writing I know I have to keep them fluid because you never know when the next idea is going to pop into your head and demand to be written. I had no plans beyond the first two books I wrote – Degrees of Darkness and Bad to the Bone. My first publishing contract changed that. Bloodhound Books wanted to publish Bad to the Bone, but they also wanted a sequel. By this time I had already started Scream Blue Murder and was determined to finish that, but because Bloodhound don’t give you a deadline they were perfectly happy for me to get my work in progress out of the way before moving onto my contracted second book. That ended up being The Scent of Guilt, which came out in February 2018. In between the first and second books in the DI Bliss series, I was fortune enough to have both Degrees of Darkness and Scream Blue Murder published as well. You would be forgiven for assuming I had become better at planning and sticking to those plans after a year of experience, but if anything I’m worse at it than I was before. The thing is, when I wrote Scream Blue Murder I only ever thought of it as a stand-alone, but by the time I finished it I knew I had to continue with some of the characters I had created in that book. So against all expectations, and having not featured at all in my planned projects, I have now completed the first draft of that sequel, called Cold Winter Sun. I think people will understand that it was a book I simply had to write. My publishers certainly never saw Scream Blue Murder as anything other than a stand-alone, so I have no idea if they will even be interested in publishing the new one. I couldn’t let that prevent me from writing it, though. The fact is, whilst I enjoy writing all kinds of things, I had the most fun with Scream Blue Murder and now Cold Winter Sun. They are action-adventure novels, written mainly from first person POV, and as such represent an escape for me from all the intense plotting and scheming that come with the strict crime novels. Cold Winter Sun sees the two lead characters, Mike Lynch and Terry Cochran, running into all kinds of trouble in New Mexico. Mike agrees to do a favour for his ex-wife Donna – actually, for her new husband – and Terry tags along for the ride. Mike enjoys spending some time with his daughter, but very soon the relatively simple hunt for a missing person becomes so much more, with all kinds of people hunting for that same person, and getting in the way. Across four days, the two become embroiled in battles in which they are both outnumbered and outgunned. This piece of work is currently being edited and I hope to show it to my publishers later in the year. For around six months now I have had two ideas for thrillers burning a hole inside my head. One is a crime/thriller/action/adventure book, the other a psychological thriller with potentially a supernatural element (at the time of writing I have not fully made up my mind about that aspect). Those were my planned books after The Scent of Guilt. Instead, in addition to Cold Winter Sun I have also written this new DI Bliss book, If Fear Wins. Not only that, but the first thing I wrote after completing the first draft of Cold Winter Sun was the first chapter of DI Bliss #4. Let me tell you, another Bliss book was the furthest thing from my mind, because I had been toying with a sequel to Degrees of Darkness, yet once again it was something I couldn’t not write once it was inside my head – other ideas had to be shoved further back down the list. In DI Bliss #4, then – whose working title is The Forgotten Future – Bliss is recovering from an accident when he is sent to the scene of a murder. It becomes apparent that the woman is the victim of a stalker. A stalker she reported to the police, and which was investigated by two of Bliss’s own team. He has the unsavoury task of interviewing them about the report, because it appears as if ignoring the claim has backfired explosively. If indeed it is the work of the stalker at all. With all this going on, and still nursing his wounds, Bliss’s world is suddenly turned upside down, and the hunter becomes the hunted. This book will unravel some of the mystery surrounding Bliss’s past, the murder of his wife, and some of the cases that led him to this point in his career. Readers will come to learn much about Bliss during this book – and Bliss will come to learn much about himself. So that’s the plan. For what it’s worth. I still have other ideas rattling around inside my head, and I still want to write those other books I mentioned. All attempts at prioritising have thus far failed, because they are overtaken by instinct, gut feeling, and an overwhelming desire to write the story I cannot ignore. That’s really what it comes down to, I think. It’s not so much a question of it being the thing I would have chosen to write above all others had I sat down and put together a pros and cons list, more the book I can’t not write at that given moment. It’s why I like to have two on the go at the same time, so that hopefully one of them will step forward and claim me. I still like to think that my best writing, my best book, lies ahead of me. I can’t be sure whether any or all of my current ideas will end up as completed novels – published or otherwise – but I do one day hope to write that one book which sets itself above all the others. I can’t predict how well any of them will do, but the one thing I know for sure is that while I still have a pulse, while I still have ideas, and while I can still use my brain and my fingers in tandem, I will carry on writing. I’ll probably also still make plans, knowing full well they will change on a whim. P.S. I was done with this article, ready to send it off, but on that very day another storyline popped into my head. I spent a few minutes writing down a few notes, and found myself staring at a book I now suspect will be Bliss #5. Oh, and again on the same day, I decided that one of my earlier ideas was actually a perfect fit for Mike Lynch and Terry Cochran and their third adventure. There goes another plan, flying straight out of the window.
I am delighted to share a fab guest by Tony J Forder on If Fear Wins Blog Blitz today…I hope you enjoy it
When a torched body is found in a country lane, DI Bliss and Chandler are called in to investigate.
The detectives are drawn towards recent missing person reports, and believe their victim will prove to be one of them. Bliss thinks he knows which, and fears the outcome if he is proven right.
Soon the body is identified, and Bliss and Chandler discover evidence suggesting this murder might be a terrorist attack.
Meanwhile, someone from Bliss’s past needs his help, and soon he is juggling his personal life with the demanding case. To make matters more complicated, MI5 and the Counter-Terrorist Unit are called in to help solve the case. But are they on the right track?
Bliss and Chandler soon find themselves in a race against time, and this might just be their most challenging case yet…
THE ROAD GOES ON
About The Author
Tony J Forder is the author of the critically acclaimed crime thriller series featuring detectives Jimmy Bliss and Penny Chandler. The first two books, Bad to the Bone and The Scent of Guilt, will be joined in the series on 29 May 2018 by If Fear Wins.
Tony’s dark, psychological crime thriller, Degrees of Darkness, featuring ex-detective Frank Rogers, was also published by Bloodhound Books. This was intended to be a stand-alone novel, but Tony is now considering the possibility of a follow-up.
One book that will definitely see a sequel is Scream Blue Murder. This was published in November 2017, and received praise from many, including fellow authors Mason Cross, Matt Hilton and Anita Waller.
Tony lives with his wife in Peterborough, UK.
Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/tony+j+forder?_requestid=248936
Bloodhound Books: http://www.bloodhoundbooks.com/tony-forder