Sue Fellows is back with her second instalment of her Whytfield series. She chatted with us about her writing career, her discovery of freewriting and how it helps with writer’s block.
How would you describe your book?
In The Whytfield Investigation, we meet Inspector Stagg as he discovers an unidentified body and a spate of robberies in the sleepy town of Whytfield. This results in the chief constable assigning his nephew Wilkins to assist Stagg, who prefers to work alone. Burns, the assistant chief constable, detests Stagg’s methods, but Stagg is faced with his biggest challenge when a policewoman goes missing.
Who is your book aimed at?
It’s aimed at young adults and adults, and I consider it a ‘cosy crime’ — easy to dip into and escape.
This is the second book in the Whytfield series. Is it a sequel or a spin-off?
The Whytfield series is a series of tales based on folk who live in the Shropshire town of Whytfield. The Whytfield Inheritance, my first book, focused on a gardener who leaves the city for a peaceful life on a country estate where Whytfield Hall isn’t what he expected at all. This latest instalment, The Whytfield Investigation, is a policeman’s story covering Inspector Stagg’s efforts for justice. I’m also due to finish The Whytfield Invitation (as yet unpublished) which will be a Christmas mystery.
Have you been writing all your life?
I’ve always enjoyed writing. I wrote a little whilst my children were young but didn’t really concentrate on it until six years ago. I’ve always enjoyed telling stories! I am a member of two writing groups, which I enjoy immensely. I also write poetry. Completing my first book, The Whytfield Inheritance, spurred me on to write my second and the third, which I’m looking forward to completing. A long way to go yet, though!
What inspires you to write?
Anything can inspire me, really, an incident or a name. Whitfield cropped up whilst researching our family tree, but I adapted the spelling and started thinking of it as a sleepy town hidden in the countryside. That’s how the series started. Then once I start the tale, the characters sometimes decide what will happen next. In The Whytfield Investigation, I had a dream about the fire scene, and this helped me in describing it. As we all know, dreams can appear to be realistic!
What do you find the most challenging thing about writing?
Everyone gets writer’s block sometimes, but I’ve found that freewriting can help me with this. My friend, Dr Kathy Hopewell, introduced me to it, and I would certainly recommend it! It can also release new ideas from your subconscious. Drafting and re-drafting are easier with cut and paste but are still a huge part of the writing process. Sometimes I’ve written the plot scene by scene to assist me. And there is procrastination, of course!
How long did it take you to write this book?
The outline story took about two years. With the editing and drafts, along with reviews, it’s taken about three years in all. But sometimes my characters just won’t speak, then suddenly change direction. It’s an interesting process which can be frustrating sometimes. You just have to persevere.
Are you a planner or a prancer?
I tend to be a free spirit initially, but then I plan the basic story out. I do weave in subplots later, if needed, resulting in a new edit. It’s a bit like sewing a tapestry; it should have plenty of backing and lots of colour, with no holes in it.
If it was on TV, who would you like to cast?
I would suggest:
Inspector Stagg- Ashley Taylor Dawson, star of Hollyoaks
Pam Hudson- Emer Kenny, from BBCs Father Brown
John Wilkins- Billy Price, also in Hollyoaks
Burns-James Bye, known as Martin Fowler in EastEnders
Charlie Brooks- Jack P. Shepherd who plays David Platt from Coronation Street
Any advice for a new author?
Read around your genre and take note of any edits, critiques, or comments from your beta readers. Try to make your story flow easily for your reader and watch out for ‘point of view’. Most importantly, just write-you can edit later. Contact TAUK Publishing and get your story out there!
Available on Amazon from 27th May.