I was lucky enough to attend an event as part of Weston-super-Mare Literary Festival, where Damien Boyd the author of such great books as As the Crow Flies, Swansong, and my favourite, Dead Level, was giving a talk – more of that in another post, and among many of the interesting things he talked about was looking back to previously published books and thinking about whether they needed rewriting.
Damien very modestly said that he didn’t think his writing was as good in the first novels as it is now – I think everyone improves with practice; I know I look back at some of my earlier stuff and think it should be binned and only the ideas saved! I was pondering about this I do a lot of pondering!) … Damien’s seven books all feature the same characters, the lead is Detective Inspector Nick Dixon, and although I’m not comparing my main character in my Radwinter series, Thomas, to D.I. Nick I think the principal of a character who continues his or her ‘life’ in a series is intriguing.
So… should I go back to my first Radwinter book and look at giving it a bit of a spruce up? My narrator is Thomas himself and I actually think it is quite realistic that ‘Thomas’s’ style develops over the five (nearly six books); his life has changed dramatically – he was married unhappily to someone who didn’t want children and who bullied him and over five books he has found a new wife who loved him from the first time she met him, and he has a family of five children – he is bound to have changed! He has grown in confidence (in one book he became over-confident and too full of himself but now he has become more down to earth) and because of various dangerous situations he has found himself in (chased by a man with an axe, shot at, attacked by someone armed with a spade, kidnapped…) he has become stronger and braver.
In the introduction to his latest adventures he says at the beginning:
In my Radwinter story I discovered some difficult truths about myself as well, which really changed me in ways I can hardly describe. Looking back to me four years ago, I really do feel like a different person now; I think I’m strong and confident… even though I’m still a bit of a bumbling, wittering idiot sometimes…. Well, a lot of the time to be honest! After last year’s dramatic and traumatic events, I’ve had to reassess the sort of commissions I undertake, I’m Mr. Boring now!
Needless to say, in this new book he undertakes a commission which leads him into more scrapes!
I think Damien’s character Nick Dixon would in reality change over the five years since his stories began; the events he has experienced, the dangers, the personal challenges he has had to face up to – in his own life as well as a police officer. So I think it’s realistic that the books show development as they chart the cases facing the characters.
Here is a link to Damien’s books:
…and to my Radwinter stories: