Bill Todd is here today with our author guest spot. Bill has sent me a special article to share with you. Enjoy,
I’ve spent most of my working life as a journalist and travel writer on local and national newspapers. For a crime writer, it’s a plot factory.
Before journalism, I tried my hand at odd jobs including furniture removals (watch out for the flat-packs, they tend to pack flat when lifted!), photography, teaching and running a magazine group.
I’ve travel to more than 40 countries, from Arctic Finland to the deserts of Namibia, and enjoyed a long love affair with Western Crete. I was delighted and surprised to receive the Ed Lacy travel award in 2007.
Another interest is my family tree. I’ve traced the ancestors back to William of Byfield, a farmer in 1600s Northamptonshire, just down the road from Shakespeare.
I love maps. They might seem old fashioned in the age of GPS but they tell stories, make promises. I have a ragbag collection of more than 2,000.
I’m also a fan of interesting cheeses, good beer and wilderness. They’re like Marmite, you’re an empty place person or you’re not.
I have written four full-length crime thrillers and a book of short stories featuring Danny Lancaster. They are:
The Wreck Of The Margherita
Gargoyle Pixie Dog
I’ve also written two non-fiction books. GUNNER is based on my father’s World War Two diary, photos and postcards from Normandy to Hamburg.
PIGTAIL PILOT is the tragic story of Barbara Gubbins, a talented young woman who was nearly the RAF’s first female pilot.
For Danny Lancaster – ex-paratrooper turned private detective – it should have been a simple job.
His client – the breathtakingly beautiful Countess Camilla D’Allessi – hires Afghanistan veteran Danny for a covert surveillance, watch Seventies rock star Mickey “Tattoo” Carpenter, see what he does, who he meets.
But Danny’s nosey nature gets the better of him. Camilla’s “simple” surveillance job leads him to a grisly discovery at a remote Cornish farmhouse.
Then the bodies start to pile up. A young girl is dead from a drug overdose, another lies in a coma. Someone is out to take revenge on the dinosaur rock band Death Squad.
Suddenly police raid his flat and office in Brighton. Danny is on the run, wanted for murder. All he has going for him is supreme fitness, a talent to duck and dive and an unshakeable belief that, “something’ll turn up”.
Only he can prove his innocence. And to do that he has got to stay out of a prison cell.
Nothing will stop Danny hunting down the two murderous maniacs and their mystery backer for a final high-octane showdown of mud and fire.
Bill Todd ~ Author Guest Article
Why is something we’re so passionate about so hard to do? All I want is to write but I seem to make it as difficult as possible. If there were Oscars for displacement activity my mantelpiece would be in danger of collapse.
Even when I’m sitting in front of the keyboard there are many tasks to perform. The biggest is email and social media. It’s like painting the Forth Bridge, finish and it’s time to start again.
Proper work cannot begin until I have completed a game of PC Solitaire but even then it has to be by my own peculiar rules. I am ashamed to admit the total of games played is well into five figures.
In my defence, the speed and score of a Solitaire game is a good indicator of how switched on my brain is before the day’s bloodletting begins.
Even when I start writing my working system can draw me off into a vortex of tweaking due to the number of different text files I use.
There’s the live book file, a ‘Scenes In Progress’ file for prefab sections written before they slot into the main text, ‘Step Treatment’ for plotting, ‘Characters’, a ‘Scratchpad’ for quick notes and ‘Masterfile’ which holds ideas, quotes, test text, research notes and weblinks that haven’t found a home for yet. It’s all too easy to fritter away an hour or so shuffling my data deck.
You’d think I’d have the hang of this by now. My first Danny Lancaster – The Wreck Of The Margherita – was published in 2012. I have since written three more full-length Dannys and a book of his short stories plus factual histories about an artillery regiment in wartime Europe and the inspiring but tragic story of a young woman trainee RAF pilot.
But, no, the writing never gets easy and that’s a good thing.
Danny Lancaster is an ex-paratrooper who lost a leg in Afghanistan and scrapes a living as a bargain basement private investigator in Brighton. After five years he feels like an old friend.
Scraping a living, Danny wasn’t keen on the competition when JK Rowling introduced Cormoran Strike to the world in 2013. I haven’t read the books, you never know what subconscious influences you might absorb, but I’m confident Danny could take down Cormoran if they ever went toe to toe. Or maybe they might cooperate. That said, I’m looking forward to the BBC TV series which, I think, starts next month.
At the moment I am working on Danny6. The joy of writing the Danny Lancasters is the journey of discovery the two of us undertake.
Research for the series has included the mechanics of container ships, seas and tides, rock music, diamond mining, Gibraltar and all the technical bits in between involving trauma medicine, geography and geology, plantlife, dialects, vehicles, aircraft and weapons. My internet search history would give MI5 conniptions.
I find writing is not a single process but lots of links. Like chainmail, the whole is only as good as its weakest point.
As well as the writing there’s blue sky thinking, letting the imagination run riot, throwing a stick and seeing where it goes. There’s a time for plotting although that sometimes feels more like accountancy, trying to make everything add up.
There’s a time for research, unearthing nuggets, making connections, following paths and patterns.
Then there are the times of terror. There’s the terror that you’ll never finish the book, the terror that you will. Once you type ‘The End’ you have to show it to someone and your newborn must stand on its own rubbery baby legs.
The words are easy. The challenge is in the alchemy of the mix.
I’d like to thank Kelly and the team for this wonderful opportunity to appear on the @LoveBooksGroup blog. I’d love to chat for longer but Danny6 is calling and I run the real risk of another Displace Activity award. The mantelpiece won’t stand it.
Bill & Danny’s website: www.billtodd.co.uk
■ Bill’s email: email@example.com
■ Danny on Facebook: www.facebook.com/DannyLancasterInvestigates
■ Bill on Twitter: https://twitter.com/williamjtodd
■ Danny on Twitter: https://twitter.com/dannylancaster3
■ Bill’s Goodreads author page: www.goodreads.com/author/show/5804102.Bill_Todd
■ Bill’s Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Bill-Todd/e/B008SA121U
■ Bill on instagram: www.Instagram.com/billtodd_writer/
To order your copy here is a handy link ~
Thank you so very much Mr Todd for being on the blog today.
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