Published by graham on Sat, 08/27/2011 - 15:58
I've been struck (and greatly flattered) by the sheer number of readers who have stuck with me, book by book, and seem genuinely upset that next year's publication - Happy Days - will bring the Faraday series to an end. Then came a pint or two with a D/I who's been with me from the start and has become a good friend. This guy knows a great deal about the behind-the-scenes twists and turns that have accompanied the writing of the books and thought there might be something in me turning all that stuff into some kind of account. "Account" is the word cops use when they're after something close to the truth.
"You mean the book of the series?" I queried.
"Exactly." He nodded. "Warts 'n all."
The more I've thought about this proposition, the more I like it. In ways I would have found hard to credit thirteen years ago, the experience of writing more than a million words of crime fiction has been a kind of revelation. In the company of Faraday and Winter, plus an ever-swelling army of real-life police officers, social workers, bent accountants, football hooligans, para-medics, A&E staff, pathologists, priests, journalists, single mums, evil kids, harrassed teachers and countless others, I've learned a great deal about the society to which we all belong. In this respect, Pompey is the UK writ small, the near-perfect simulcrum of a troubled and often violent country. And through the eyes of my fictional cops, I've been offered glimpse after glimpse of exactly where that process has led us.
This probably sounds a bit earnest, even academic, but Pompey isn't the kind of town to let you get away with anything remotely half-baked. I've never lived anywhere more real, more earthed, and what I have in mind would build on exactly that combination of rough wit and making-do in a bid to answer the kind of questions I might have as a reader. Where did the series come from? How did I - with my self-confessed indifference to crime fiction - set about understanding and re-creating this very distinctive culture? How do you get into the hearts and minds of working cops? What kind of people are they? What kind of world have they made for themselves? And how on earth do you people book after book with a supporting cast of characters - each of them different, each of them special - who must do their own bit to push each story towards its conclusion?
These are just a handful of the questions I had to confront more than a decade ago and I wouldn't be bothering you with any of this unless the journey that followed had been - in so many ways - both fascinating and full of surprises.
But there's one question left, probably the most important. Would any of you out there be remotely interested in reading something like this?
Answers, if you can spare the time, via the e-mail link at the head of the Home Page.
My thanks in advance,