Five weeks ago, I was heading to Ibiza for a holiday in the sun. I took plenty of reading material, plus paper and pens to start Sowing The Seeds for the new series. I had a great time… and apart from a few random thoughts I scribbled on the homeward flight, I admit to achieving very little.
Almost as soon as I arrived home a horde of window fitters, swiftly followed by a team of painters/decorators invaded my quiet retirement. Have you ever tried writing under those conditions? It’s not easy. However, I’ve somehow completed the research for six titles in The Freeman Files and I can share my progress.
I think the covers represent the cold case mystery/police procedural very well. I hope you agree. I decided to get them before I started to write. After a year without metaphorically picking up my pen I needed the spur to get me back in the game. The schedule remains the same. Three books in 2019 with #1 published in time for Christmas. The remaining three books to be ready by the end of April 2020. I’m aiming for a more rapid release on these titles than in the past. So, the final title will be up for grabs by the end of May.
So, who is the leading man and what sets him apart from other police procedural staple characters out there?
Gus Freeman is 61 years old. The retired Detective Inspector lives in a village on the outskirts of the West Country town where my first novels were set. A fictional town that borrows elements from the half-dozen small towns that surround my family home. It lies approximately ten miles from the Roman city of Bath – which is where The Phoenix series was centered. Larcombe Manor stood several miles out of the city, closer to Bristol and the coast.
Freeman has spent the past 3 years tending his allotment. A peculiar British tradition that is a carry-over from WWII and the ‘Dig For Victory’ campaign. As he surveys his handiwork sitting outside his garden shed he ponders his night-time reading. He’s a fan of Kierkegaard the Danish author considered to be the first existentialist philosopher.
Freeman’s wife, Tess, died from a brain aneurysm six months to the day after his retirement. He is still coming to terms with his enforced solitary existence. Then comes a phone call from the county police HQ. His old boss wants him to head up a Crime Review Team investigating cold cases. His trips to the allotment would be curtailed. The musings would be clouded by old witness statements and freshly unearthed clues… the hunt would be on. Freeman wonders whether his superiors really need his old style policing methods, or is the request out of pity? To occupy his mind with some fruitless digging into age old cases the best young brains failed to crack?
Next month’s blog post in early July will introduce Detective Sergeant Alex Hardy and Forensic Psychology graduate Lydia Logan Barre. There’s one more team member to emerge. I’m sat outside my own garden shed now studying the seeds I planted last week. They should be ready to harvest by late summer. Patience is a handy tool to have, don’t you think? I’m sure you realise there’s a lot more to the other team members than mere names? I’m excited by the possibilities already.