I am delighted to welcome Rebecca Bradley on the blog today.
Rebecca Bradley lives in Nottinghamshire with her family and two Cockapoos Alfie and Lola, who both keep her company while she writes. She needs to drink copious amounts of tea to function throughout the day and if she could, she would survive on a diet of tea and cake while committing murder on a regular basis. After 16 years service, she was medically retired from the police service where she finished as a detective constable on a specialist unit. Her first crime novel, Shallow Waters, a police procedural, is set in Nottingham. The lead protagonist is DI Hannah Robbins. The follow on Made to be Broken is out on 30th June at all Amazon stores.
Welcome, Rebecca. Tell us a little bit about you…
I always hate this bit, I feel a little sleazy. I’m not, well, I was going to say, I’m not trying to sell you my book, but obviously I’d love it if you did read my book! But that’s not what I’m about. If you see me on social media, I’m there to interact with people who share a love of books and in particular a love of crime fiction, though I do read and love many other genres. I also talk about my dogs a fair amount!
I’m a retired (I’m not old, it was on medical grounds) UK police detective who started writing while I was still in the job, but I didn’t release my debut, Shallow Waters until I had retired.
Made to be Broken is the second in the series and follows DI Hannah Robbins and her team as they struggle against a killer who is using poison to kill from a distance because, in his mind, he has a point to prove. It’s about relationships. The breakdown and loss of them and how we perceive them, can colour our entire view of the world.
Your inspiration for Made to be Broken?
I wanted to write about a crime the reader can identify with. It’s one of those crimes where it could happen. It’s not a mad axe murderer hiding in the wardrobe, it’s closer to home, and events in Shallow Waters gave me the space I needed to explore a lot of the subjects in Made to be Broken.
What do you find are the best and worst bits of writing a series?
The best bit is that you get to stay with your characters, they don’t leave you. They grow with you and you can understand them and hopefully make them very real people for the readers. The worst bit, for me, is that I have many ideas running around my head for standalones and other crime series’, but it’s hard breaking away from the one you’re writing to focus on something else.
Where and when do you write?
I have a home office set up in the spare room. Because I have a disability I write through the day at any point my body tells me it has the energy to sit upright to do it. I generally get a couple of hours done a day. That can be in one sitting – which is my absolute max and I’m in a lot of pain afterwards, or it can be split through several sittings. I am also getting good at writing propped up in bed so early I’m now finding my reading time in the early evening is getting eaten up by doing some extra writing.
Are you a planner or a pantser?
I started out as a pantser. Shallow Waters was completely pantsed. I knew the start and I knew how it ended but the rest, I’d sit down each day and not have a clue where it was going. That was a horrific way to write for me. Yes, it got written and it did reasonably well, but it also took me too long to write and a lot of editing to get right. So, with Made to be Broken, I decided to try plotting, going for a synopsis but a very long drawn out one, several pages long, so I knew exactly what was going to happen. It made it so much easier to write. Though, saying that, book two was hard and I hated it a lot of the time I was writing it.
With book three, I’m taking my plotting to a whole new level as I’ve done the long synopsis, but I’m also writing chapter outlines!
Do you do any research?
The good thing about being an ex-police detective is that I don’t need to do huge amounts of research. For Shallow Waters I didn’t do any. It was set in an area I was comfortable with.
Made to be Broken was different. I needed to get in touch with someone to talk about poison so I had a friend put me in touch with a pathologist who was very helpful.
I actually wrote a blog post on my blog with several links to helpful websites for researching policing facts. Sharing this one link will be easier than sharing the several.
Do you read inside your genre or out when writing? Do you read anything other than crime?
I read crime and other genres, even when I’m writing. I find if I read crime when I’m writing and I see how fabulous everyone else is, it makes me feel terribly insecure about my own writing and it pushes me to try harder next time I open my laptop. Other than crime, I have a love of YA. Especially contemporary YA where they cover the difficult topics.
Your author heroes?
Author heroes? Karin Slaughter. I adore her writing. She is so character driven and not at the expense of plot either. And I love books set in the U.S so she has it all. Also David Jackson. An author in the UK who doesn’t get half the recognition he deserves. He has a fabulous U.S based series and he’s also just released his first book in a new Liverpool based series – which is utterly brilliant. They are two authors whose books I would pick up without even reading the blurb.
Thank you, Rebecca, for joining us today.