How I Became a Writer

My senior school was a huge inner city affair. I often thought we were sent there to keep us off the streets rather than to be educated, the teachers having long since given up on us, but even then I loved to write stories. Unfortunately, if the school itself wasn’t a big enough obstacle to any literary ambitions, I was also slightly dyslexic and found my inability to spell and lack of grammar defeated me. I left school, as did most of us, with almost no qualifications.

After school I went to a great college where I quickly got some ‘O’ levels and a couple of ‘A’ levels and headed to University in London, only to discover I was not the student type. I promptly left and made my way to The Metropolitan Police Recruitment Centre. Eighteen months later I was walking around an inner London area in uniform wondering how I got there.

I had an unbelievable sixteen years in the Police, the vast majority of which was spent in the Criminal Investigation Department (CID), and loved every minute of it. But eventually the low pay and difficult working conditions drove me to resign, and I decided to fulfill a life-long ambition to write a novel. My dad always said the great novelists write about what they know – so it was always going to be a crime novel from me.

With Cold Killing I wanted to write something that accurately portrayed the atmosphere of a murder investigation, while having the scope and pace of a contemporary American crime thriller. I also really wanted the main police protagonist to have a believable dark side that he uses as a tool to help track down the killers he hunts, and so DI Sean Corrigan came to be. Along with his team of detectives, he faces real-life police problems, such as dealing with dilapidated equipment and working from uncomfortable, crowded offices, instead of the high-tech, super-modern places you seen on TV. The book also seeks to show the pressures the detectives are constantly under: from time, their seniors, the media and public. During an investigation, time is always the enemy.

This blog post was originally posted on the Killer Reads blog on February 17th, 2013.


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