This is the second post featuring some of the authors who contributed to the Criminal Shorts anthology I talked about in my last post. It can be found here.
Towards the end of 2020 I was delighted to be included in this anthology which was collated by one of my favourite Facebook groups and sold in aid of a very special charity.
UK Crime Book Club is a thriving, well run book club on Facebook with a great mix of authors and readers. (As I write this there are 18.7k members, of which over 500 are authors, including big names and some not-so-big names – like mine.)
Link here to UKCBC
I asked the 22 authors who are included in the book where they got the idea for their stories from and had so many responses that I’ve had to publish this blog in two parts.
Samantha Brownley (writing as Sam Thomas).
Short story: Six Pieces Each
“When I first started writing a story for Criminal Shorts, I had something completely different in mind that just wasn’t working,” she says. “Wondering what on earth I was going to write, I pulled out my stack of notebooks and found a detailed idea that I had written months before. Six Pieces Each is loosely based on my original plan. It came together over a weekend and changed dramatically as I got to know the main character, Josie. It’s quite a dark story in places, certainly different to what I have written before. It was my first published fiction and seeing it in print alongside so many wonderful authors has been a dream come true.”
Sam lives in Manchester with her husband and three children. She loves to read crime fiction and interviews authors for the UK Crime Book Club. She writes blogs for businesses and is a teaching assistant in a Primary School. Six pieces each is her fourth short story and the first fiction she has ever put forward for publication.
Sam is currently working on her first novel.
T.G. Campbell. Author of Bow Street Society series.
Short story: The Case of the Devil’s Dare
“The idea behind the Bow Street Society is to celebrate the ordinary through the extraordinary by showing how the skills and knowledge we acquire through our everyday jobs can help us achieve fantastic things—like solving mysteries,” TG explains. “My idea for ‘The Case of the Devil’s Dare’ was shaped by my fascination with the ‘impossible’ crime, the supernatural, and the ramifications of refusing to look beyond personal opinions.”
Amazon author page
Tahnee Georgina Campbell wrote her first crime fiction story at the age of sixteen as a gift for her best friend. At only 40 pages long it fell considerably short of a “novel” but it marked the beginning of a creative journey that would eventually spawn the first of the Bow Street Society mystery novels; The Case of the Curious Client. During that time she attended the University of Winchester where she acquired her Bachelor of Arts Degree in English Studies and wrote a dissertation on the social and cultural importance of the works of Agatha Christie.
The Bow Street Society is a fictional group of amateur detectives, operating in Victorian London, that feature in the murder mystery writings of award winning crime author, T.G. Campbell. Each of its civilian members has been enlisted for their unique skill or exceptional knowledge in a particular field derived from their usual occupation. Members are assigned to cases, by the Society’s clerk, Miss Trent, based upon these skills and fields of knowledge.
The Case of The Curious Client won a Book Award with Fresh Lifestyle Magazine, an achievement she is extremely proud of. She’s written a monthly feature for the magazine ever since. Her features cover a range of topics from Hidden London to every day life in Victorian era London.
Robert Crouch, author of the Kent Fisher series. (Featured here on this blog)
Short story. A Real Paige Turner
“I wanted to write something light, entertaining and fun. With a struggling crime writer as the sleuth and a femme fatale in the mix, I could pay homage to the golden age of private eye novels. There’s also a cheeky nod to Sherlock Holmes for good measure.”
Robert’s Amazon author page
Can an ordinary person solve a murder?
Robert looked for inspiration in the Agatha Christie classics he loved and enjoyed. Why not create a modern day sleuth to solve the most baffling and complex murder mysteries in the time honoured tradition of the classic whodunit?
Maybe readers would enjoy someone they could relate to, someone a little different from the usual world weary police detectives with more traumas than a casualty unit.
Using his lifelong love of murder mysteries and his experience as an environmental health officer, the author created an amateur sleuth with more baggage than an airport carousel. Contemporary themes and a cast of engaging characters, seasoned with a little romance and irreverent humour, offer readers an entertaining alternative to dark, gritty and often violent crime fiction.
Robert writes full time from his home on the South Coast, where he lives with his wife and their Westie, Harvey
Barbara holds a Masters Degree in Information Science and works as a medical librarian. But ever since school she has always written although it wasn’t until she joined the UK Crime Book Club that she had the impetus to share her writing with anyone else.
“I promised I would try and write something for the anthology, but I had left it until the last couple of weekends before the deadline, and still only had a couple of vague, half-baked ideas floating about in my head. I had thought to write about a violent response to emotional bullying, which is so insidious and devastating, but also wanted to look at the idea of killing someone by simply looking the other way.
“So I attempted to examine and combine the two concepts – I hope successfully. That all sounds very stuffy – as once I started writing, the story morphed several times, flip flopped a couple more and then settled, heading for its conclusion. I think it worked eventually as planned, as a friend of mine said she didn’t actually like the ‘victim’ either! A couple of edits, tweaks and additions later the night before it was due to be submitted and job done – for better or worse.
“Stunned and honoured to be included, hugely grateful to Kath and Will for their further tidying up and also to UKCBC for the opportunity to wield my pen. Such a good feeling to be supporting the Red Kite Academy too”.
Will Templeton, author of Births, Marriages and Death. (and co-editor of the anthology)
Short story. Heart of the Green
“Heart of the Green was the second time I’d visited my folklore/ fantasy inspired character Jack (o’ the) Green, so I had a bit of an idea who he was this time,” Will says. “The story itself grew from the idea of the proceeds of crime being “lost” in the forest, Jack’s domain, and so he’s enlisted to help find the loot. The relationships and motivations of the secondary characters changed over time, so much so that the “twist” was as big a surprise to me as I hope it was to the reader.
“The notion of steal from the rich to give to the poor snuck into my thoughts during the writing process, which then transformed the narrative, and conjured imagery such as the robins and the “little” boy, John, who wanted to live as an outlaw. The result was a cross genre tale which is a bit different but is hopefully entertaining.”
from Will’s Amazon author page
Many years ago Will Templeton worked briefly in the tax collectors’ office, and, deciding that wasn’t for him, he then tried his hand at such varied vocations as hairdresser, bricklayer and mechanic, before finally finding a place at Doncaster Register Office.
He stayed there for over thirty years, working his way up from Receptionist to Superintendent Registrar, eventually throwing it all in to become a full-time scriptwriter. Over the years he has also written many plays which have been performed to glowing reviews.
Births, Marriages and Death is his first novel
Amazon author page link https://www.amazon.co.uk/kindle-dbs/entity/author/B07YLXDFX4?
Will’s social media etc links. Https://my.bio/willtemp
And finally, me!
Paula Williams. Author of the Much Winchmoor Murder Mysteries (and this blog)
Short story. Dead in the Ground
My story is set during a wet and muddy Glastonbury Festival where a body is found, face down, in the mud. Did he fall – or was he pushed? And is the wrong person arrested for his murder? As the story moves on, it all becomes clear …. as the Worthy Farm mud.
But I have a confession to make. I am lucky enough to live not far from the site but I have never been to the Festival – although I have been held up in the traffic jams many, many times. But hey, I’m a writer. I make things up for a living.
My amazon author page link