Book Week Scotland 2017 is taking place from Monday 27 November – Sunday 3 December.
Welcome to our Book Week Scotland 2017 special. Every day we are featuring guest posts from various Authors with a variety of genres to suit every reader.
Book Week Scotland is a week-long celebration of books and reading that takes place every November.
During Book Week, people of all ages and walks of life will come together in libraries, schools, community venues and workplaces to share and enjoy books and reading. They will be joined in this celebration by Scotland’s authors, poets, playwrights, storytellers and illustrators to bring a packed programme of events and projects to life.
Today Emma Salisbury the Kindle bestselling author is here with an exclusive guest post for us.
Location, location, location.
East Lothian author Emma Salisbury tells us why she chose two very different settings for her crime novels.
When you first get an idea for a novel it’s a great feeling. The characters in your head begin to take on a life of their own and before you know it you’re asking friends and family to repeat themselves because you’re far too busy tuning into the ‘other’ conversations to notice what’s going on around you. The outline for the plot starts to take shape but there’s something significant you need to consider. The setting.
It took me a while to settle on the locations for my two crime fiction series – DS Kevin Coupland, the main protagonist in my police procedural series, patrols the streets of Salford, Greater Manchester, while Davy Johnson, ex jail-bird with a heart of gold in my gangland series pounds the schemes of Edinburgh. Yet these weren’t automatic choices. Probably like most writers the first novel I penned never saw light of day. It was set in the Peak District, where I grew up, the rugged landscape and local superstitions set the scene for a community steeped in secrets. I signed with a literary agent on the back of it – however the first thing she asked me to do was set my novel somewhere else! She already represented Stephen Booth, whose wonderful depictions of the peak district in his novels had kept me up reading through the night for many years, and she didn’t want another author in her stable with a series based in the same location. Let me tell you, changing location in an established story is incredibly hard, dare I say nigh on impossible. It’s not as though you can hit the Find and Replace button and exchange ‘rolling hills’ for ‘tower blocks’. I soon learned it would have been easier to write a new novel from scratch, which is what I ended up doing.
I based DS Coupland in Salford because I’d lived there for several years; I’d married into an extended family of three policemen, and their anecdotes, combined with the urban setting provided a perfect backdrop. Salford is a city rich in down to earth northern humour and it doesn’t stand on ceremony for anyone. FRAGILE CORD was sent to several publishers and one responded that they loved it – but it was a Scottish publisher and they wanted something set in Scotland! This was when I realised you can’t please everyone, and that sometimes you have to have the courage of your own convictions. Besides, I loved Coupland and wasn’t about to change his personality by moving him further up north. Don’t get me wrong, I love Scotland, which is why I went on to develop a series based in Edinburgh, but moving Coupland would have meant changing his language and his back story, and I wasn’t prepared to do that. It was around this time that a friend sent me a news clipping about an author who had self-published on Amazon, stating one of the benefits was that he felt free to write what he liked, and that really appealed. I took the plunge and published FRAGILE CORD on Amazon three years ago and readers immediately took Coupland into their hearts – and into the top ten hard-boiled crime best sellers’ list. The next two books in the series followed suit, and this summer Amazon awarded me an ‘All-Star’ bonus for being one of their most read authors in their Kindle Unlimited lending library during June.
Davy Johnson was born through the frustration I felt when I worked for an Edinburgh housing association supporting ex-offenders into work. To say it opened my eyes is an understatement, not at the range of crimes committed, for sadly the story was a familiar one – substance addiction that needed financing – but rather the way the offenders were treated – cases coming to court so long after the offence that even though they’d turned their lives around they lost jobs because they had to take time off to attend hearings. The setting had to be Edinburgh – it may have a shortbread tin image for visitors, but it is the drug capital of Europe and the police service in Scotland has undergone a major restructure which provides plenty of scope.
In terms of future locations, I love it when my favourite authors send their characters on holiday, so this is something I am considering further down the line, however for the moment both Coupland and Davy have enough to contend with on their own turf!
The DS Coupland Box Set (Books 1-3) Kindle Edition
The DS Coupland Series – psychological crime fiction that packs a punch
A small boy lies drowned in the bottom of a bath
His mother is found with a noose around her neck…
The local community is in shock.
Introducing Salford detectives Kevin Coupland and Alex Moreton as they investigate what appears to be a routine murder-suicide. Tracey Kavanagh was her usual upbeat self; right up until the moment she drowned her son and tied a rope around her neck killing herself and her unborn child. For Alex Moreton, this case couldn’t have come at a worse time, battling with her partner over whether to have another child, she is superstitious about pushing their luck – they’re happy enough as they are…aren’t they? DS Kevin Coupland is dealing with a serious assault outside a wine bar in Swinton. Devoted family man Ricky Wilson is brutally stabbed following an altercation with youths while out with his wife and their children to celebrate her birthday. Coupland and Moreton’s cases merge when it transpires that Tracey and Ricky were tragically connected. Is it possible that there could be more to these two investigations than pure coincidence? And what was Tracey Kavanagh so frightened of she thought wiping out her family was the answer?
As the past collides with the present Coupland uncovers a tragic secret that will destroy Tracey’s family, or what’s left of it. Coupland must choose whether the truth shall come out – or be taken to the grave.
A PLACE OF SAFETY
A young woman is killed in a drive-by shooting. Key witness Abby Marlowe is in fear for her life. At first the case looks like a local turf war gone wrong, but someone in power is doing everything they can to cover the killer’s tracks. What are they trying to hide?
Earl Baptiste’s life has gone into freefall, one minute he’s trying to impress a local gang leader, next thing he’s on the run for murder.
DS Kevin Coupland, still coming to terms with his wife’s illness has a new DCI to contend with. DS Alex Moreton, due to start her maternity leave at the end of the week has a replacement DC snapping at her heels.
When another witness is murdered Coupland comes under increasing pressure to track down the killer but then tragedy strikes, testing him to the limits. Someone is intimidating the remaining witnesses with a cold blooded callousness that smacks of a professional. As Coupland sifts the truth from the lie he discovers the drive-by shooting wasn’t so random after all, and that Abby Marlowe is in the worst possible danger…
ONE BAD TURN
A serial killer is on the loose…
No sooner has Detective Sergeant Kevin Coupland stepped off the plane from a family holiday than he gets the call that a woman’s body has been found on a path beside a recreation park in a smart suburb in Salford. Account Manager Sharon Mathers suffered a brutal blow to the head following a night out with friends from work.
Teamed with DC Ashcroft who has transferred from the Met under a cloud, Coupland struggles to find a motive for the killing when two days later another body is found, this time at the bottom of a footbridge at Salford Station. Could the same person be responsible? While still trying to work out the answer to this Coupland’s personal life spirals into freefall when his daughter Amy introduces him to her new boyfriend – a thug he’d put away for GBH two years before. The relationship puts a strain on the detective’s home life and impacts his judgement at work – putting him under the microscope with the powers that be.
When a third body is found he makes a startling discovery – the killings are linked to a murder in ’92. Coupland was a probationer back in the nineties – could he be linked in some way to the killer?
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