Today it is my great pleasure to bring you a guest post from author Jackie Baldwin as part of the blog tour for her latest novel, Perfect Dead. Before we hear from Jackie on the dreaded art of writing ‘the second novel’, let’s take a look at what the book is all about.
About the Book
Each murder brings him one step closer to the perfect death.
Ex-priest, DI Farrell is called on to investigate a gruesome death in rural Scotland. All evidence points to suicide, except for one loose end: every light in the cottage was switched off. Why would he kill himself in the dark?
The question sparks a murder investigation that leads to the mysterious Ivy House, home of ‘The Collective,’ a sinister commune of artists who will do anything to keep their twisted secrets hidden.
And when the remains of a young girl are uncovered on a barren stretch of coastline, Farrell realises that there is something rotten in this tight-knit community. Now he must track down a ruthless killer before another person dies, this time much closer to hom
Writing That Second Book
by Jackie Baldwin
My first novel, Dead Man’s Prayer, took a leisurely ten years to complete. From acceptance in March 2016 to publication in September was a mere six months, half of which was editing, the other half taking baby steps online, trying to organise a blog tour and a hundred and one other things. My then editor started making noises about the second book. Second book? What second book? She arranged to meet me at Harrogate Crime Festival in July for a drink. I panicked. She’ll ask about the book! I hid away in a room for half an hour and scribbled away on a piece of paper. I met her and airily told her what the book was about. She was happy. Now all I had to do was write the thing.
I didn’t manage to knuckle down until November 2016. With my first book I knew exactly how the plot was going to unfold from the very beginning. This time I decided to try an experiment. I would go into the novel blind and leave committing to the plot lines until the very last gasp. Each time I introduced another character I would squint at them suspiciously wondering if they were guilty or innocent. I trusted no one and everyone. Progress was slow. I hit the soggy middle. This resembles the glutinous doughy bit in a pie. I freaked out. My plot was careering away from me like a runaway train. My characters were all rampaging off in different directions. The book was a mess. I was a mess. All the stress had made me develop a soggy middle of my own as I desperately tried to regain control by eating my way through epic amounts of biscuits and cake.
It was time to commit and take those hard decisions that I had been putting off. My plot had to become fixed and immutable. My characters had to be made to toe the line.
I hit another bump in February 2017 when I developed angina overnight. From being very fit I suddenly couldn’t do much of anything. It was a worrying time awaiting tests. I plodded on with the book and work as I couldn’t really do much else. I had to cancel all the crime festivals I had been booked to attend. Progress was slow as the words slowly plopped rather than flowed onto the page. In August I had three stents put in and after a few complications I had my life back! I sent the book to my editor at Killer Reads on 2nd October, the morning I left on a much needed holiday to Turkey. It had taken eleven months from start to finish. I was on the train back home from Manchester when I received the acceptance.
Since then I’ve been through a structural edit, a line edit and a copy-edit. Editing feels like your mind has been put in hot wash and then spun dry to emerge squeaky clean and missing a few neurones. The book is now set in concrete and awaiting a verdict being passed.
I am currently wrestling with Book 3!
Sounds terrifying Jackie – glad it all panned out in the end and good luck with book 3!
If you’d like to see just what magic all Jackie’s hard work produced, you can buy your own copy of Perfect Dead from the following retailers:
About the Author
Jackie Baldwin is a Scottish crime writer. Her debut crime novel, Dead Man’s Prayer, was published by Killer Reads, Harper Collins on 2nd September 2016. The second in the series, Perfect Dead was published on 15th June 2018. For most of her working life, she has been a solicitor specialising in Family and Criminal Law. However, she now practices in Dumfries as a hypnotherapist which is where her novels are set. Married, with two grown up children, she has filled her empty nest with Golden Retrievers. She can often be found in a forest walking the dogs, covered in mud and with twigs in her hair.
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