At long last and to my great relief – and to that of my family, friends and fellow writers, my latest book, Winterdyke is published! I’ve chronicled here my difficulties with this book and I have come to the conclusion, that although I was still writing, although at a snail’s pace, I think I had a form or writer’s block. I knew what I wanted to write but just couldn’t force myself to apply my actual writing genie.
Winterdyke is the seventh in my series of Radwinter books, and very different. I know other writers who have series sometimes break out of their usual formula and do something different, maybe for the sake of being different, maybe for some other reason. There were several reasons why I changed the situation of my main character, Thomas Radwinter, and it wasn’t that I’d run out of steam on the stories I have in my head for him. When I was most struggling with Winterdyke, to keep my hand in I was jotting the beginnings of Radwinter 8 – title as yet unknown, but following up some unfinished story-lines from previous books as well as an idea I had based on an elderly lady I know. I already have plans for Thomas’s life in 2020 – and you can imagine what that involves!
Thomas’s story follows his life and how it changes, and how he changes. He discovers things about his own history as well as investigating that of others, and has grappled with some demons – he had a terrible and poverty-stricken childhood, he was bullied at school, he was in an abusive marriage (he was the victim although he didn’t realise) and now, free from all that and very happily settled with his new family, he still has to deal with his demons.
I wanted in Winterdyke to pull him back from his happy bubble,, and put him somewhere he no longer has the support of his family. By chance, all his nearest and dearest are away, wife on holiday with children, three brothers away wit wives and partners, and he has accepted a commission which takes him away from his own home to stay with the client employing him. This makes his nervousness, anxiety and sense of inferiority return – but he is now a stronger and more resilient person, so there’s an internal conflict between apprehension and determination as he tries to cope in a completely unknown situation.
As the series has progressed, his liberated character became almost a caricature of his repressed personality – he became funny, and silly, exuberant, comical, dithery, absent-minded,… and actually annoying. I began to wonder if readers would find his idiocy in some situations a distraction and irritation, so I tried to calm it down somewhat. In Winterdyke he is very much more in control of himself, and although he does bumble – sometimes deliberately to mislead people, and although he sometimes does get lost in the big house where he’s staying, and does get in a muddle, I hope it will be just part of him and not a serious annoyance to the reader.
I also liked the idea of what’s known as a country house mystery, or a closed circle of suspects mystery, and Thomas does find himself in a country house, a massive mansion called Athelmond Grange. To ensure he is well and truly confined to the house, he is picked up from home by the chauffeur so he doesn’t have his own transport, and despite global warming, there is a long period of snow and freezing conditions, so the house is virtually isolated and he only goes out when driven somewhere, accompanied by an enigmatic minder. There’s no crime committed while he’s there, although dangerous incidents occur, but in his genealogical investigation he’s asked to investigate whether a death over a hundred years ago was actually murder. He’s also asked to look into the circumstances of the accident death of a visitor to the house two years previously. The accident happened while the same members of the family were all present as are staying while Thomas is at Athelmond.
I would love you to read Winterdyke, and I’d be so grateful for any comments or feed back. While I was writing it, I had in my mind comments people had made about my previous books, so it is really helpful. It would also be lovely if you could leave a comment on my Amazon page!!
here’s a link to Winterdyke, and from there you can also .find the other Radwinter books, and my other novels too.