Friday, 17 July 2020

Author Guest Post and Spotlight: Deadly Wishes by Rachel McLean

Researching Book Locations When You Can’t Go Out

Deadly Wishes is the first book I’ve written that’s set entirely in my home city of Birmingham. I’ve set in in the south of the city, where I used to live. But as I now live in the north of Birmingham, and the whole city is constantly being dug up for road improvements, sometimes my memory of the road system is wrong!
For Deadly Wishes I would have loved to get in my car (or on my bike) and go to some of the locations in the book. There are scenes where my characters are getting from one place to another and I needed to know the route they’d use and how long it would take.
But I wrote the book in April and May 2020, when the UK was in lockdown. So going out to the locations was a no-no.
Instead I had to rely on Google Maps to fill in the gaps in my memory of that part of the city from when I lived there almost 20 years ago. I used Google street view to trace routes. And I used Right Move to find the house that would be the scene of the crime. It’s a huge house, a bit of a gothic pile really, and the perfect setting for a murder.
When the government started using maps data to identify how many people were breaking lockdown, it made me smile. Officially, I was probably breaking all the rules, travelling all over Birmingham online. But in reality, I was at my desk the whole time, letting my imagination fill in the gaps.
I’m now writing the second book in the series, Deadly Choices. It’s set a bit closer to home, but instead of using an actual house from Right Move, I’m basing the victims’ house on one I used to live in, which makes things easier. The biggest challenge is that the opening scene (where two children disappear) takes place at Cadbury World, which isn’t open right now! Normally I’d take the time to go there and spend time in the location, so I could get a feel for the place and use it to make the scene more dramatic. But again, I’m having to rely on my memory of trips to Cadbury World when my kids were small, and hope that my readers will forgive me if things aren’t 100% right!
Research is one of my favourite parts of writing – it gives me a chance to visit places and to learn things I didn’t already know. I now know lots about how West Midlands Police is run, not sure how useful that will be! And I’m looking forward to being able to do more in-person research when I get around to writing the next book.
Thanks for having me on your blog as part of my bog tour, I hope your readers enjoy the book!

Deadly Wishes

Meet Zoe Finch, West Midlands Police's newest Detective Inspector. She's outspoken, ambitious, and damaged. And she's working a case that could make her career, or cost her everything...

Fresh from the success of the Canary investigation into depravity and corruption at the highest levels, Zoe has attracted attention. Not least from Assistant Chief Constable Bryn Jackson.

But when Jackson is brutally murdered on the night of his retirement party, Zoe is dragged into a case that's deeply personal.

All the evidence points to the victim's downtrodden wife, who has secrets of her own. But Zoe begins to suspect all isn't as it seems. Could Jackson's death be linked to the Canary case? And what is her new boss, DCI David Randle, hiding?

Seeking out the truth will force Zoe to confront her own past and put her career, and her team's lives, on the line.

Deadly Wishes is a gritty crime thriller perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Caroline Mitchell, and the BBC's Line of Duty.

Amazon UK           Amazon US 

My name's Rachel McLean and I write thrillers that make you think.

What does that mean?

In short, I want my stories to make your pulse race and your brain tick.

Do you often get through a thriller at breakneck pace but are left with little sense of what the book was really about? Do you sometimes read literary fiction but just wish something would damn well happen?

My books aim to fill that gap.

If you'd like to know more about my books and receive extra bonus content, please join my book club at I'll send you a weekly email with news about my writing research and progress, stories and bonus content for each book. And I'll let you know when my books are on offer.