Wednesday, 9 September 2020

Author Guest Post & Book Spotlight: Miss Smith Commits The Perfect Crime

I started writing fiction by accident, literally. Last year I broke a bone in my foot, and sitting bored day after day, with my orthopaedic boot propped up on the coffee table, my eldest daughter suggested that I write a book. I wouldn’t say I took to it like a duck to water, but in a few days, I was hooked.
Having worked all over the world during my career as a television producer and director, and having met a vast variety of interesting characters, I decided that I would base the places and people in my books on my personal experiences. I believe that if you want people to enjoy your writing, no matter how far-fetched the plot or outlandish the characters, there has to be some factual basis.
My basic concept was to have a story about a young woman secret agent, incredibly smart, good looking and adept at martial arts – a sort of female James Bond. I thought about this for a while and wrote some test material featuring this super-woman. It then occurred to me that I could create an interesting story of how an ordinary girl becomes this extraordinary person and why.
I selected the name of Sam Smith as it sounds like the girl next door. I needed to have a mental image of the woman, and I recalled a beautiful, blonde and athletic dancer I once worked with. She was stunning. Picturing her, I started to write, and my story took off. I describe how my heroine embarks on a journey to change herself physically and mentally from a feeble victim into a fearless avenger. But how could I explain what might motivate a young woman to take such a drastic step?
I lived both in Leeds and Harrogate during the dreadful Yorkshire Ripper murders. Recollecting the awful events enabled me to recreate a similar fictional scenario to drive my main character to take the course of actions to exact her retribution. My beloved Yorkshire is where much of the action is set, and having worked on many regional TV programmes, including coverage of the Great Yorkshire Show, I was able to draw on my local knowledge to add colour and realism to my story.
Some writers outline their plots before they start writing in great detail, but that didn’t work for me. Years ago, on a screenwriting course, I came across Alfred Hitchcock’s mantra: you have to have a McGuffin. For him, the McGuffin is the ultimate goal of the hero or heroine, and it is essential that no matter how the plot twists and turns, all these wrinkles must be relevant in getting the protagonist to achieve their goal.
First and foremost, I define my McGuffin and then I start the wiring process. I have evolved a system which suits me. Each night, I go to bed with a clear idea of the action and characters in the current chapter. Next morning, the outline of the next chapter is usually clear in my mind. After breakfast, I sit down with a pot of (Yorkshire) tea and write the next one to two thousand words. As I go along, I re-read sections and ruthlessly edited out anything that doesn’t work. I stick to the guidelines of the radio programme “Just a Minute”: no hesitation, deviation or repetition.
Maybe I’m a masochist, as I rewrote the first third of the book three times. Finally, I started again with a completely new and lighter opening which I’m happy to say works well.

Miss Smith Commits the Perfect Crime?
Recovering from a brutal attack where she was savagely raped, university student Sam Smith attempts to rebuild her life and overcome the ongoing effects of her ordeal. Her ultimate goal is to bring her assailant to justice, but before she can do so her life and loves take a series of intriguing turns as she continues her sometimes unconventional education.
Eventually she is able to identify her attacker and decides to exact retribution in her own particular style, but during her preparations Sam becomes aware that her every move is being tracked by a mysterious organisation. To avoid detection by the police and also her hidden watchers, Sam Smith attempts to commit the perfect crime. However in the aftermath of her vigilante action events change rapidly to bring about a most unexpected outcome.
Miss Smith Commits the Perfect Crime? is the first book in the Sam Smith Adventure Series and can be read as a standalone.

Amazon US               Amazon UK           

Guy Caplin worked in television broadcasting for over 40 years and is one of the few people to have achieved success in both the technical and artistic branches of the medium. He has worked with many celebrities including, the Beatles, Ella Fitzgerald, Bob Hope and Maria Callas.

He moved to ITV’s Yorkshire Television in 1969 as a Producer and Director of Sport, Outside Broadcasts and special events. Among the many programmes he devised was the quiz programme “Winner Takes All” fronted by Jimmy Tarbuck and Geoffrey Wheeler, which under his tenure was regularly amongst the Top Ten TV programmes and twice reached the coveted Number One Spot.

When the final series of the hit American programme Dallas ran into technical problems in Hollywood in 1989, Guy left YTV and joined a UK broadcast engineering company to try to come up with a solution. The solution proposed resulted in the creation of the DEFT process, which although too late to be used on Dallas, was used initially on the Simpsons and subsequently on Friends, Frasier, Superman and many others America series. DEFT was awarded an Emmy for outstanding technical achievement.

Back in the UK Guy owned and ran a company creating video productions for both broadcast and industry, was a freelance trainer at the BBC and a visiting tutor at the National School of Film and Television

For the past thirteen years Guy has also been a regular lecturer for P&O cruises and Cunard and has effectively travelled twice around the world.

Now, having closed his video company, he spends his time writing under the name of Guy Rolands and has now completed four novels in the Sam Smith Adventure series. Having worked all over the world and encountered hundreds of remarkable characters, his experiences provide colour and intrigue to his work.