Blog on the Bus pt64 (why I decided to kill Jack Vincent)

Good morning bus bloggers. Before I begin, I should warn you that this post contains spoilers. If you’ve not read but intend to read any of my work, please look away now and stop reading this post.

That’s better.

I feel troubled dear friend: there is a heaviness weighing on my mind and I feel the need to confess to you the real reason that I decided to kill off Detective Inspector Jack Vincent (in case it was troubling you too).

When I started writing Integration (my first formal foray with the written word), I wanted to create a conflict for my protagonist Mark Baines. Baines, as a character, was based very loosely on myself (write what you know, right?) and a lot of the views and emotions he felt were representative of my own. I tried to create a conflicting character that would get under my skin. Who better than the officer investigating Baines for the crimes he was blackmailed into committing?

In my head, D.I. Vincent’s physique (bald and with a ‘tash) was based on David Haig (the actor who played D.I. Derek Grim in Ben Elton’s tv series The Thin Blue Line). Bet you didn’t know that (In fact I’m curious to know how you did picture him?)! I didn’t want Vincent to be a figure of fun (not to the reader anyway). I wanted him to be a character who strived to do the right thing but inevitably got it wrong. All the time. I wanted the reader to dislike him; more for his misinterpretation of facts than anything specific he did.

When I published the story I felt pleased that he’d reached the level of dislike that I wanted.

When writing Remorse, I once again needed a police officer who would jump to the wrong conclusions and so I wheeled Vincent out once more. He delivered for me again.

When I started plotting Redemption, I had in the back of my mind that Vincent would appear but, as the majority of the plot was in London, his role would only be minor. But as I started to write his part in the final shootout at the hotel, something happened: a breakthrough.

I suddenly understood his motivation and emotional dexterity. As I wrote his farewell to Ali Jacobs I was filled with empathy for this man who had dedicated his life to striving for justice and failing more often than he succeeded.

As I started to write Snatched, I knew that this emotionally-enhanced Jack Vincent would end the story as an anti-hero, delivering unconventional justice for protagonist Sarah Jenson.

Some of you will remember that my fifth novel Shadow Line was originally called Dead Drop and only changed as a better-known author had released a story with the same title a month earlier. The original title had been a reference to a code word used by the Security Services but was also to hint at the end of Jack Vincent. But why did I decide he needed to go?

Simple: I’d grown to like him.

Jack Vincent was no longer a character that got under my skin and as such he no longer served a purpose in my writing.

He had to go.

Out of respect for this character I’d come to think of as a relative, I decided to give him an epic send off which was why he took the central role in Shadow Line (it was the least I could do).

But that left me with a void.

Who would replace DI Vincent, the only character to appear in each of my novels (and one of my short stories)? I couldn’t decide who or what I wanted to step into those size-9s. That’s why his position remains vacant in my forthcoming novel Trespass (which you’ll be able to read on 01 December – contain your excitement!)

The good news is: I’ve been interviewing several potential replacements (my imagination is an awesome place) and I can officially announce the position has been filled and D.I. Tony Hunt, one of Northumberland’s finest will make his debut in 2014’s Crosshairs, currently being written.

Anyway, I’ve taken up far too much of your time today. Until the next tie, happy reading!

Stephen

Blog on the Bus pt 55 (it really is a global world, right?)

Good morning tube-trekkers, bus-bloggers and patient-pedestrians.

I started a new job last week. I can’t tell you what it is (just pretend I’m Jason Bourne or something, will you?) but it is part of a global organisation (how many of you are picturing me stroking a white cat at this point?). I have always known I was part of a global group but I don’t think I ever truly understood what that meant until Wednesday when I attended a team meeting via video phone. I was in London, there were 3 in Mexico, 2 in the USofA, 2 in Hong Kong and 1 in Brazil. We were all talking about the same thing but in our own interpretation of the English language. Being a global organisation, this was not as difficult as you might assume (SPECTRE never had a problem, did they?). But it was the very fact that several corners of the world had come together to communicate that really opened my eyes to the possibilities that technology brings to us (did someone at the back just utter “D’uh”?).

I appreciate I might be a bit slow in reaching this obvious insight, but there’s no time like the present to learn new concepts (unless you’re my mother who still can’t remember how to make a call from her brick-like mobile phone). Wednesday’s meeting reminded me just how important technology, particularly the kind used for communication, is. We are blessed with Twitter, Facebook, SKYPE, LinkedIn and the rest but how many of us truly embrace it? The clue is in the title: World Wide Web. Why are not more of us using it to reach out to others across the globe?

Many authors (for that is what I pretend to be when I’m out of the office) will blog about the means they use to build their social network and this usually revolves around a kind of paying it forward strategy where you scratch someone’s back in the hope that they’ll return the favour. More often than not this seems to work relatively successfully. I take my hat off to anyone who can find the time to scratch all the backs out there to indirectly promote their work. I’ve been fortunate to have my spinal itches caressed by others and have endeavoured to return the favour but have struggled to join this group of successful indie authors who reach out and use their fingernails for more than just chewing.

Ultimately, it’s easy to be a writer but it’s bloody difficult to be a successful one. The writing community is warm, kind, gentle and supportive (certainly in my experience), however, the publishing industry is competitive, harsh and not something I would wish upon my worst enemy (even those bastards who called me names in school!). To be a successful writer requires 50% good story and 150% brawn, effort, back-scratching and sheer damn luck (maths skills not so essential thank goodness!). So where does that leave indie author Stephen Edger (that’s me in case you’d forgotten)?

In a dog-eat-dog world I fear that I will only wind up in someone else’s toothpick but despite my reservations about what the future holds I can rest safe in the knowledge that I’ve published 5 of my stories and in doing so I’ve left my digital footprint on the world.

So let’s all raise a toast (orange juice or Champagne – you choose) to those embracing the World Wide Web and hope that we don’t get left too far behind.

Until the next time, happy reading,

Stephen

(Stephen is the author of Integration, Remorse, Redemption, Snatched and Shadow Line. Find his work here, here or via stephenedger.com)

Blog on the Bog (awards were due at some point)

“Surely that’s a typo?”I hear you cry. “Don’t you mean bus and not bog?” Well, no I don’t, and don’t call me Shirley (baba dum tsh). I’m not catching the bus today but felt obliged to share some news so I’ve locked myself away from the wife and kids (for their sake as much as mine – my fault for eating curry!) and have sat down to scribe. Whatever you do, try not to picture me sat with my trousers down. Too late, huh? Never mind, on with the blog:

Well, it had to happen sooner or later, I’ve been secretly waiting for that first phone call / email / telegram to say “Mr Edger, we are proud to announce you have been nominated for ‘such & such’ award…” Well, it’s arrived (and about bloody time too, do I hear you chorus?), my first award since I started this writing lark. The award to which I am of course referring is…

The Liebster Award

Where to begin, there are so many people to thank…

…wait…sorry…what…you mean it’s not an actual award? Oh…ah…right. So I can’t suddenly start claiming to be an ‘award winning novelist’? Ah, I see.

So what is the Liebster award then? Can you supply a book of the rules?

Here are the rules:

•When you receive the award, you post 11 random facts about yourself and answer the 11 questions asked by the person who nominated you.
•Pass the award onto 11 other blogs (while making sure you notify the blogger that you nominated them!)
•You write up 11 NEW questions directed towards YOUR nominees.
•You are not allowed to nominate the blog who nominated your own blog!
•You paste the award picture into your blog

Thanks for that, well here goes nothing:
•I’m a Virgo
•I have written and published 4 novels in the last 2 years
•I have attended fancy dress parties dressed as Optimus Prime, Jess the Cat and the ugliest woman alive (my bra was filled with flashing bicycle lights)
•My favourite condiment is tomato ketchup (I have it on nearly every meal)
•I wrote off my first car (a Ford Fiesta) but still have no recollection of what happened
•My first pet was a fish called Robert, meaning my porn star name would be the ever-so-sexy ‘Robert Browning’
•Whilst I’m naturally a brunette, my hair has been blonde, ginger, black, white and even blue over the years
•I’m NOT a vegetarian
•I can still recite all the words to Jonny Mathis’ ‘When a Child is Born’ even though I learnt it when I was 8 (some 23 years ago!)
•Similarly I can recite each of the colours of Joseph’s Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat
•I have just uploaded 168 Christmas songs to my iPod as I love Christmas music

Right that’s the boring part done, now to answer Mr Gallacher’s questions:

What’s your earliest recollection of anything?
When I was 3, I chopped the end off the ring finger of my left hand by trapping it in a door. I still remember placing my hand between the hinges and the feeling of pain as the large oak door closed. I was rushed to hospital and they sewed it back on but I still have the scar.
How old were you when you were informed that Mister Claus may not be for real ? and how did you take it?
I think I must have been 9 or 10. My parents won a flight to Lapland on Concord and decided they had to tell me the truth when I spotted three Santas chatting together in a room. I didn’t mind as it had been a great dear and I’d driven a small sleigh, pulled my real reindeer.

What was the first book that you absolutely hated ?
That’s a tough one. I suppose I’d have to say Roald Dahl’s ‘Going Solo’. If been a big fan of stories like ‘The Twits’ but this was aimed at older children and I found it quite slow by comparison.

Money or Love ?
That’s a toughie too. When you have 1 you want the other. As I’m (happily) married and poor I guess I must have chosen love.

Fantasy holiday destination ?
The Bahamas, sipping rum cocktails while sun bathing on the beach. Heaven!

First kiss?
Her name was Susan and I met her at church

Favourite funny person?
Love Peter Kay and Michael McIntyre but the person who makes me laugh most every day is my 2 y/o daughter Emily

What kind of music, if any, makes you cry?
I love cheesy music and my playlist tends to reflect my mood. If I’m feeling down then love ballads from the early nineties tend to do it as they were what I cried to during adolescence.

If you could remove any three letters from the alphabet what would they be, and why?
Random! A, E and I as words would sound really funny without these vowels

Favourite animal/pet?
I love dogs so favourite pet is a tie between my now deceased German Shepherd ‘Rudi’ and my current Westie ‘Mallow’

If you had to change your first name, what would you change it to ?
My nickname at work is ‘Stedge’ as there are 3 of us (out of 7) called Stephen/Steven. If I could change my name I’d be called ‘Lawn’ for comedic value.

So, now it’s my turn to ask the questions. Let’s make this brief as I’m running out of loo roll.

1. Who let the dogs out?
2. What would you be if you were a car part and why?
3. What alcoholic beverage can you not live without?
4. How many days are there until your birthday?
5. What causes you to wake in a cold sweat screaming?
6. Would you rather be blind or deaf and why?
7. What would your superhero name be and what would your special power be?
8. What is your favourite movie?
9. What song would you be embarrassed to say you like?
10. What is the meaning of life?
11. What will this week’s Lotto numbers be (asking for a friend)?

I don’t know who to nominate for this award so nominate yourself and post your answers. I really want to know (particularly the answer to q11)

Until we next catch the bus, happy reading!

Stephen