Death In The Woods by Bernie Steadman #BlogBlitz #Interview

Bernie Steadman joins me today to take part in my Getting to Know the Character Interview today on Death In The Woods Blog Blitz


The Book

Meet Detective Inspector Dan Hellier, a man who needs to redeem his career and catch a killer.  

Soon after DI Hellier returns home to Exeter under a cloud, the body of a talented young singer is found in the woods.

When her death reveals links to the boss of a recording studio, a predatory gang and a school music teacher, Hellier knows he has his work cut out.

Before any more innocent people are put in danger, Hellier will need to untangle the web of lies and work out which of many suspects are guilty of murder. But can he solve the case in time?

Getting to know the character interview

Can you describe your character?

Dan Hellier is about thirty-four years old. He is slim, 5’11” tall with dark, slightly curly hair and blue eyes. He loves to cycle to keep fit and harbours fantasies about one day playing his guitar in a band – if only he could find the time to practise… At work he take a while to find his feet, but once settled into the team he is fair and keen – he’s a good boss, if not a perfect one.

 What is their job role and where do they work? 

Dan is a Detective Inspector in his first job at that level. He has been transferred from the London Met back to his home city of Exeter, to Exeter Road station, after he lost control and beat up his ex-partner’s new boyfriend, even though, as Dan knows, the bloke deserved it.

Where did the original  idea of them come about? 

I intended for Claire, the teacher in Death in the Woods to be the heroine and find out who the murderer is. However, I realised that in today’s society, the amateur sleuth has a pretty difficult time, so I gave her a detective to help and slowly, he and his team took over and led the investigation…

What makes them original? 

Dan is at the start of his senior career. He doesn’t have all the answers, hasn’t seen it all before, isn’t an alcoholic or a gambler…he is what you might call a ‘new man’. i.e., he’s under forty and grew up when equality was the norm at school. He can’t abide sexism, racism or bullying. He’s straight with people, which can mean that he is blunt, but he has respect for his team, which is good, as the women are the strong ones in his team. That’s a bit different from most of what is on the market!

What makes them tick?

Dan loves the adrenaline rush of a case, and will throw himself into the path of danger if he has to – he’s brave and a bit reckless, which gets him into all sorts of trouble. On his bike, he hurtles around the city and up onto the moors. He can’t stand to be bored, and doesn’t bear any lack of progress very well at all.

What is their biggest fear?

That he will fail as a DI, or that he will let his temper get the better of him again and be thrown out. Or, on a personal level, that he will never be able to settle down. Dan wants to get married, have a dog and kids – he’s so normal it hurts. Sadly, horrible things keep interfering with his plans!

If you and your character met in real life, do you think you’d get on?

Yes, he does sometimes talk with my voice, especially when I’m ready to give someone a real telling-off, but he is a decent person, and I do believe that his qualities make him a good friend as well as a good boss!

Who would you like to see play them if your books were made into a film or TV show?

Ooh, what a question! Dan Stevens, maybe Matthew Goode (he’s who I based him on physically) but it can’t be anyone too masculine looking, so not Tom Hardy, alas…

How many books do you have in the series so far?

Three, the first is out on 18th June, the second on 25th June and the last one will be ready for the middle of July. 

What’s in store for them next?

Dan and his team will carry on solving crime in Exeter while I finish a Young Adult trilogy, then I’ll come back afresh in a while and give them some more fiendish crimes to solve!

Grab your copy of Death In The Woods from Amazon now




Author Bio:


Bernie taught English for many years but only dabbled in short fiction and poetry until a few years ago when she took to writing full-time.  She completed her debut novel, Death in the Woods when she escaped the classroom and could finally stop marking essays. This was the first in the West Country Mysteries series featuring DI Dan Hellier and his Exeter-based team. There are now three in the series, Death on Dartmoor and Death on the Coast completing the series.        

Bernie lives in a small village in East Devon and her novels are set in and around the ancient Roman city of Exeter, which has seen its fair share of murder and mayhem over the centuries. The books explore the beauty of the area, but demonstrate that even in the most charming of settings, terrible events may occur.

When not glued to the laptop, Bernie is a keen yoga fan and enjoys walking and cycling in the Devon countryside with her husband. They share their home with two large, black cats which came from the animal sanctuary where she is a volunteer and trustee.


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