Welcome to my stop on the blog tour for The Two Fathers by Keith Dixon. My thanks to Emma at damppebbles for the invitation to join. Today, author Keith Dixon stops by to talk about ideas and how to get them. But first let’s see what The Two Fathers is all about.
Author : Keith Dixon
Title : The Two Fathers
Pages : n/a
Publisher : Semiologic Ltd
Publication date : November 14, 2020
| ABOUT THE BOOK |
Why does Jessica Hastings come home late several times a week?
Her husband asks Private Investigator Sam Dyke this simple question. Dyke doesn’t want the case: he doesn’t do divorce work … but Brian Hastings doesn’t want a divorce, he wants an explanation.
When Sam finds out what Jessica is doing, it opens up more questions. And when Brian Hastings goes missing, they’re questions he feels compelled to answer.
At the centre of the mystery is a man who most people in Manchester don’t know–Larry Stone. But those who do know him, know that far from being the simple florist he seems to be, he’s actually the biggest crook in town. He’s powerful, he’s dangerous, and he’s currently working a deal with a Dutchman who’s even worse.
And Sam is now caught in Stone’s sights as he works to find Brian Hastings, to solve a couple of murders, and to prevent Stone corrupting even more members of his own family than he already has.
Before the biggest deal of Stone’s crooked career goes down.
| GUEST POST |
Ideas and How to Get Them
This was a real headline in the UK’s Guardian newspaper recently:
Russia’s ‘Sausage King’ killed in Moscow in crossbow attack.
I posted it on Facebook, suggesting that it wasn’t a headline you saw every day, and a writer friend commented that there were at least 5 crime novel plots encapsulated in that sentence.
And he wasn’t wrong!
- Who was the ‘Sausage King’ and why was he under threat of assassination?
- Why did the assassin use a crossbow?
- Why did it take place in Moscow?
- Who hired the assassin, and why?
- Did the King know who did it, and would investigators be able to track down the murderer?
So when people ask – as they often do, despite it being somewhat of a cliché – ‘Where do your ideas come from?’, I only have to point them to the news. At least half a dozen of my books took their inspiration from a stray headline or story I happened to see in a newspaper. Here are just two examples:
- there was the story of the mother and daughter pair who were fooled by a Scottish con-woman into paying thousands of pounds for a fake health treatment … in despair, the mother and daughter later committed suicide. (I used the con-woman but softened the ending!)
- there was a trial in Liverpool of two brothers who ran a building firm – officially – but were notorious local gangsters on the side. (I later saw a pair of brothers, massive in black tee-shirts, who became the physical models for my Ginger Twins.)
And in my latest book, The Two Fathers, the beginning of the story was a report that a £50m burglary at a house belonging to Tamara Ecclestone – daughter of former F1 boss Bernie – was carried out by a mother and son team, possibly with some inside help.
In my books I’ve grown more and more interested in family relationships in the world of crime, so a news item like this immediately sparks interest: how did this couple become involved in crime? Which one of them was the boss? Was one of them reluctant to get involved but was persuaded by the other … ? All of these were excellent areas to explore.
I developed the story as part of my Sam Dyke Investigations series, where Sam is a private investigator in the UK, so he was, as usual, the central character. But as the story moved on I began to make the couple more sympathetic than reports of the original crime suggested, and created a Mr Big as the real villain of the piece. And even he solicits some understanding at the end—it’s never good to have your villain be 100% evil!
And this is what usually happens. A character or a situation or a set of facts piques your interest and you can’t stop thinking about it. For me, primarily writing a private eye series, I then have to work on how to fold the headline into a case he can investigate. This is both the hard part and the fun part, and it’s where the fiction begins to diverge from the fact. Inventing the story background, the characters and the plotline that holds them all together is a really creative act and is sometimes more fun than writing it all down afterwards!
But being creative with the facts as they exist is an essential part of the process. Otherwise, I’d just be re-posting the news, and where’s the fun in that?
Doesn’t strike me as fun at all. Thanks so much for stopping by and sharing this with us, Keith! I’ll definitely be trying to come up with at least three ideas when next seeing an interesting headline.
If you’d like to follow Sam Dyke’s next investigation, why not grab yourself a copy of The Two Fathers right now!
| ABOUT THE AUTHOR |
Keith Dixon was born in Yorkshire and grew up in the Midlands. He’s been writing since he was thirteen years old in a number of different genres: thriller, espionage, science fiction, literary. Two-time winner of the Chanticleer Reviews CLUE First in Category award for Private Eye/Noir novel, he’s the author of ten books in the Sam Dyke Investigations series and two other non-crime works, as well as two collections of blog posts on the craft of writing. His new series of Paul Storey Thrillers began in 2016.
When he’s not writing he enjoys reading, learning the guitar, watching movies and binge-inhaling great TV series. He’s currently resident in France.