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Mystery > PART 2 INTERVIEW WITH R C BRIDGESTOCK

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Geraldine Evans (geraldineevans) | 7 comments PART 2 OF INTERVIEW

Is Bob mainly responsible for any research that’s required? Or is it a shared job? ANSWER CONTINUED HERE:

Bob’s interest is in the research to come up to date of police/court procedure and forensic capabilities, to broaden and bring up to date his knowledge. For instance the turn-around time for DNA these days is like lightening to what it used to be only ten years ago and not as expensive for the SIO. Even murder investigations have a budget believe it or not. I probably do most research but I do tend to get wrapped up in it if I’m not careful.

Will Bob be writing his memoirs, one day? And what about you, Carol? Any plans in that direction? I’m sure that now, with the popularity of your police series, any such memoirs would find a very receptive audience. I’d be first in the queue!

I would love Bob to write his memoirs. This is how the whole process started. I wanted Bob to write his memoirs for the grandchildren and the great grandchildren we might never be lucky enough to meet. You see even our children didn’t have a clue as to what Bob actually used to do until they read ‘Deadly Focus’. When they were young they would be often concerned when they saw Daddy on TV. He was always serious where as other dad’s that were on the TV would wave at their kids and give them a ‘shout out’. We had to eventually develop a code so that they knew dad was okay and that he was thinking of them. If you ever see a TV interview with Bob, or an old press conference he would always straighten his tie, this was their signal.

What is the best piece of advice you’ve ever received and who gave it to you? And what advice do you, in turn, give out to writing hopefuls?

Never give up! Just about every other author who has been published told us.
Start what you finish – I think this applies to everything in life though and was installed in us from both sets of parents.

A number of writers have decided to break away from traditional publishing and turn ‘Indie’ – I have myself. Is this something you would ever contemplate?

Ah, but you’re a genius Geraldine!  As long as we have Caffeine Nights publishing behind us we are very happy bunnies indeed. Darren E. Laws is an author in his own right and an excellent person work with. His work ethos is the same as ours and we think ourselves very blessed that he took us on.

Have you found that your publisher provides support and marketing? Or is that mostly down to you?

We have heard some horror stories about publishers but Caffeine Nights provide excellent support for their authors – we could ask for nothing more. They also have a great team behind them for marketing and book design too. They are dedicated and as passionate about your work as we are. However, personally I don’t think you can ever do enough promotion or marketing, so we do as many book signings as possible, as many talks and arts/literary festivals as we can and are part of the social networking sites. We love talking to our readers, listening to their views about our characters and storylines – it’s fantastic that they want to be involved and great fun for us. Dylan has a great female following! ;-)

Are you happy at the price at which your publisher sets your books, especially given the often cheaper alternatives amongst Indie publishers? Is he fairly flexible and prepared to listen to suggestions.

Our publishers have just reduced the price of all their paperbacks this weekend from £8.99 to £5.99 in their bookstore – with an open letter you can see here to Mr Daunt and Mr Husain http://t.co/YtlPahKx at Waterstones about that very topic.
We as authors are very happy with whatever they decided. We wouldn’t have a clue so we trust them implicitly knowing that they do everything in our best interest.

Your covers are very distinctive and eye-catching. Did you and Bob have any input into their design?

‘Deadly Focus’ as you know is printed in two editions. The first was published by ourselves. There were only about 1500 copies printed of this edition so they are becoming quite rare even on Amazon. This cover was designed by Andrew Beckwith, our son-in-law who is also a very talented web and graphic designer http://www.andrewbeckwith.com/ He also does our website for us and has set up the blog for me to use.

The titles published by Caffeine Nights Publishers are all designed by the very creative Mark (Wills) Williams with input from Darren E Laws. We are always consulted but have no problem in leaving this in their more than capable hands. We think they are amazing.

Would you recommend new readers start with the first book or can they be read out of sequence?

Each title is a stand-alone book purposely but if the reader wants to turn a book into a saga it is best to start reading ‘Deadly Focus’ first. Here you get to know the main characters of the series a little better.

How long does it take you and Bob to research and write a book?

Probably about six to eight months.

What is the most productive time of the day for you to write?

Definitely the daylight hours, usually I start writing about ten o’clock but that can be promotional work, a talk, social networking etc. and I will write till about five or six maybe longer if the work dictates it. If I am reading the manuscript however I tend to do that at night.

Do you start your projects writing with paper and pen or is it all on the computer?

The bones for ‘Deadly Focus’ was written in six weeks, in long hand believe it or not - all 120,000 words of it. I know because I typed it and did a word count at the end. But now the work is all done on the computer, although we each have a notebook specifically for each book that we scribble down notes in. This way the notes we use are never lost either.

What do you draw inspiration from? Is it always actual cases?

Inspiration comes from different places. It could just be a character from the past or an incident that appears in the newspaper, to an actual appeal by the Police. We never use actual cases but we do draw inspiration from some that we have been involved in.

Do you set goals for yourself when you sit down to write such as word count?

Bob does, we were only talking about this the other day. He likes to reach 10,000 words and then aims to 20,000 and so on. I never look at the word count until I have finished what I am doing. I just let the story run its course.

What drove you to choose writing as a second career? A number of ex-Police officers have tried and found it more challenging than they expected. Did you?

We didn’t, it chose us. Neither of us had any inclination to write six years ago other than I had this feeling that I wanted Bob to write his memoirs for future generations of our family.
When we moved south nearly ten years ago, our newly made friends and acquaintances weren’t involved in the police at all, so were enthralled by Bob’s stories that sometimes made them laugh or cry. Karen Eeles from our local hospice ‘The Earl Mountbatten Hospice’, found out what Bob did for a job after we became involved with their fundraising events and let’s say the rest is history. ‘Come do us a talk to help raise money,’ she said. ‘Nobody wants to listen to my boring Yorkshire tales on the Isle of Wight,’ Bob said.
Days later he had his first gig that was a great hit. The talk was supposed to last an hour and they had to throw people out at tea time! A couple of days later there was an advert in our local newspaper the ‘County Press,’ offering a course at the local college to ‘Write Your First Novel,’ and it was during this course that ‘Deadly Focus’ was started and finished. The teacher couldn’t believe her eyes when he produced the full manuscript at the end.

How have you found it, working together? Has it gone smoothly or have you encountered difficulties that you hadn’t expected?

None whatsoever, I type up the final manuscript so there is no problem at all!  As in life we trust each other implicitly and respect each other’s judgement. It is just lovely to have such fun and experience new things together after spending so many years apart when ‘job was running’.

Was it love at first sight between you and Bob? Or was it more of a gradual thing?

The first time I saw Bob at work I actually said to my colleague and friend Margaret Hulme; ‘I wouldn’t want to cross him!’ He has this certain look that could curdle milk. He never once had to shout at the kids or smack them – he just had to cock his head to one side and raise his eyebrow. Behind that look however there is a heart of gold and when that winning smile crossing his face he looks like a mischievous little boy. We were work colleagues and friends before we became a couple – gosh was that twenty years ago now? How time flies when you’re enjoying yourself.

Do any of your children intend following in your footsteps, either as writers or working in the police service? And would you encourage or deter them from either?

Gemma our daughter works for the West Yorkshire Police force and has done for about eight years now, progressing through the civilian ranks after she gained a Law Degree at Sheffield Hallam. Her role is one of a few civilian ISO’s (Investigative Support Officer), in the Major Incident Team. The first time she told us she was going to a mortuary to witness a post-mortem Bob was concerned for her. To think that your little girl is going to see what one human being could do to another and to have to witness the consequences troubled him enormously, but she’s Bob’s daughter and where I would have run a mile she took it all in her stride and faced it knowing these things have to be done to catch the killer. John is an Electrician & property developer, Stephanie went on to be a model in Milan as is now a Director for Dorothee Schumacher and runs the Milan salon and Sam has a psychology degree and works on the Isle of Wight but we wouldn’t put any hurdles up if they had decided on a life in the police force it is a fantastic career. Ask Bob if he’d do his time again and he’d say straight away, ‘You bet!’

Does the so-called ‘Canteen Culture’ still exist? Or has it been forced underground by the politically-correct stance of the brass?

You’ll never eradicate the ‘Canteen Culture’ totally but since the arrival of political correctness it has probably been pushed, as you say, underground or into quiet corners. There has however been a vast improvement in eradicating it in our experience in recent years. Most definitely the ‘isms’ are now considered before people speak and not before time either.

Do you own an ebook reading device?

Bob has an iPad 2 which he is using more and more these days rather than his laptop.

Who are some of your favourite authors and what are you reading now?

We met you after Mum and myself had read a few of your books between us. She loves the crime novels especially the Rafferty and Llewellyn series and I enjoyed immensely ‘The Reluctant Queen’. So you have two fans here! We are very supportive of the Caffeine Nights Authors – there is some fantastic new talent there and as they say their mantra is ‘Fiction for the Heart and the Head’ which it most definitely is. Bob has just read Ian Ayris’s ‘Abide With Me’ and thoroughly enjoyed it. Neither of us reads crime really anymore. Writing the genre has totally spoilt that for us although in the past I did enjoy Martina Cole. I also love the Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon.

Are there any particular writers who have influenced your writing?

For me probably Warwick Deeping, his book Sorrell & Son has to be my favourite of all time. For Bob, he says not. He reads mostly factual books.

What do you think of book trailers?

We’ve never done one but I think anything to market a book is terrific and this is such a fun way to get the story across with the aid of music and pictures. SEE PART 3!


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