Today I’m excited to be bringing you a Guest Post from Author GB Williams, in celebration of the release of her new book, “Locked Up”.
About the Book:
A prison officer and a convicted killer must work together to solve a brutal murder and expose conspiracy inside a prison.
Ariadne Teddington is surrounded by people who lie but that is to be expected when you work in prison where every man claims to be innocent.
Charlie Bell, an ex Detective, now finds himself in that prison serving time for murder after having taken the law into his own hands.
When a fellow inmate is killed Charlie is asked to investigate the case from the inside. Soon Charlie finds himself working with Ariande but she is a guard, he is an inmate and some lines should never be crossed…
Can two people on different sides of the law come together to solve the case?
And do the answers lie closer to home than anyone ever imagined?
Guest Post by Author GB Williams
“What if?” It’s that question that everyone asks, especially writers. What if is the question that gave birth to Charlie Bell and subsequently Locked Up.
In 2014 I was doing a creative writing course, trying to brush up my short story writing skills. One of the exercises was on characters, write a 200 word character sketch, so I decided to think up a new character. Since I mostly write crime, and crime novels usually end at or just after the arrest of the criminal, I decided I’d look elsewhere, and where else would I look, but in a prison? The bit that comes after. That’s when the “what if”s started, okay in all honesty, it started with a “what is”:
What is the guy in there for?
There were any number of options of course, people can go to jail for all sorts of things, even not paying council tax. Of course there’s the other end of the scale, all the vicious and violent options. Some of these options are so bad I couldn’t even contemplate writing them. So I decided my character was a murderer. Makes the guy an utter (well you can say it, I can’t write it in a blog), right?
What if not? What if the guy had to commit murder? What if murder was the right thing to do?
That idea intrigued me. How could murder be the answer? Well, I write crime, so I know that while there are a lot of people in the world who make very good detectives, there are a lot of people in the world who make very good criminals too. And the ones who are really good at being criminal get away with it – repeatedly. So what if the victim was the real criminal? I didn’t initially worry about what crimes this man had committed, because after all it was only for a 200 word character sketch for his murderer.
So that makes my man some kind of vigilante. By that point he had acquired the name Charlie I think (vaguely, not entirely sure of this) that at some point I thought “getting caught makes him a right Charlie”, and the name stuck. Only I’m not sure what would drive a man to be a vigilante. What if he was a cop?
So Charlie became a police officer, a Detective Sergeant.
At that point I realised that a 200 word character sketch wasn’t going to be enough. I’d have to write a short story about the guy. 1200 words maybe.
Every story, even the short ones, have to have a plot, so I had a police officer in jail for murder, but what was the story? Well it was only a short so I decided to make it about the man’s guilt, an exploration of how a single decision had derailed his whole life.
So I started the story. I wrote about him in a cell, only the moving light through the bars for company and reaching up to make shadow pictures, which you do for kids, so Charlie had to be a dad.
I stopped writing.
Charlie? A dad? Hadn’t thought about that before. What if Charlie was waiting for a visit from his kid? What if the kid didn’t turn up? What if his wife wouldn’t come to the prison? What if she wasn’t his wife?
Then I started thinking about the stories I’ve heard of real life undercover cops who have relationships and illegitimate kids. It does happen, but I wasn’t sure that I wanted that to be Charlie’s story. So I played a little what if with that too.
Then I looked at the emotions involved. Guilt, yes. Surrender and depression, yes those fit. But they aren’t the things that make for a fun read. So there has to be a way out of such languishing. But what would bring a man who only ever wanted to be a police officer out of a depression brought on by knowing he could never again be a police officer? Well what makes anyone want to be a cop? A sense of justice? Yeah that works well for driving his career choice and his decision to kill. So what if I did something to play on that sense of justice?
What if there was a murder in the jail? They happen, not often, but they do. What if there was more to it than that?
At that point I realised that I wasn’t writing a character sketch or a short story. All the what ifs and the rich material each question uncovered, told me that I had a character who deserved a whole novel.
That was when Locked Up came to life. Then I got it edited, and my editor said, what if…?
There are, of course, still more what ifs. What if you read it? What if you like it? What if you love it?
About the Author:
After being made redundant in 2012, GB started taking her life-long passion for writing more seriously and looking to sell her work. Specialising in complex, fast-paced crime novels, she started writing the Locked Series in 2014, and has been working to polish and perfect since – not to mention – sell.
GB was shortlisted for the 2014 CWA Margery Allingham Short Story Competition with the story Last Shakes, now available in Last Cut Casebook. She is also a feature writer and comic book reviewer on www.warpedfactor.com. Crime novels are her stock in trade, but she has had success with short stories in various genres including steampunk, horror, erotica and general fiction.
With bills to pay, she’s back working as a systems architect by day, a freelance fiction editor and keen writer of an evening and weekend. GB really needs to learn to sleep.
Originally from Kent, GB moved to South Wales as a supposed first step on a year around the world. Then she met a guy. Kept the guy, kissed the travel goodbye. Knowing that the best way to travel is by book anyway, she has always read, always written. GB now has two grown-up children, the world’s most imperious cat, a house full of books and a hard drive full of manuscripts (though some will never be allowed out of a locked basement).