I’m delighted to welcome to my blog this week psychological thriller writer and fellow Dalmatian lover, Diane Saxon. I was attracted to Diane’s book, The Keeper, when I learned it featured a Dalmatian. And it’s a really good read. I would have enjoyed it even if it didn’t have a Dalmatian in it – the dog was the icing on the cake!
So, as always when I find a book I really loved, I contacted Diane to ask her if she would appear in my Ideas Store column in Writers’ Forum. And she said yes!
Welcome to my blog, Diane. So first to my Ideas Store column where I get to ask writers the question they are all said to dread. But I still ask it anyway!
Where did you get the idea for The Keeper from?
I’ve always been an avid reader with an over-active imagination. One minute incident can happen and I’ll weave an entire story around it.
A few such incidents lead to the concept of The Keeper.
First, when I was out walking my gorgeous Dalmatian, Skye in the woodlands above Ironbridge. It was late autumn and afternoon spilled into evening. The weak sunshine dappled through the trees and an eerie silence carpeted the woods. As Skye stopped to snuffle in the burnished leaves, I became aware of a presence above me in the hills. I scanned the trees and there was a herd of deer. Frozen. Watching. As I stared back at them, their perfect camouflage literally made them disappear, melt, into the background.
So, what if that had been a human? Watching me. What if I wasn’t supposed to be there?
This nugget of an idea germinated.
The second incident occurred in the same place when I was with my daughter, Meghan, Skye, and Beau, my young Labrador. We passed two young men on the remote pathway, going in the opposite direction. We thought they were long gone when they suddenly ran down the hillside and appeared in front of us.
I have no idea of their intentions, but Skye was having none of it. Her protective instinct kicked in and unusually for her she stood, hackles up and barked at the strangers who soon shot off back up the pathway.
The final incident which clinched the story was on another long, lonely walk through woodlands. I came across a hide, not an unusual sight, although I always find it unnerving that people can be inside, apparently watching birds… heh, just my imagination. But on this occasion, there was a shovel propped against the hide. Who would take a shovel all the way out there? Why would they?
As the dogs nosed around, I thought ‘what if they find a body? It’s always the dogwalkers who find the body!’
I love it! I’m so glad I’m not the only dog walker who goes around looking for places to hide bodies!
The book’s blurb
Compulsive, addictive and gripping – a truly five star read! Diane Saxon is a name to look out for!’ Geraldine Hogan
A high adrenaline new psychological crime series, introducing Detective Sergeant Jenna Morgan. Perfect for fans of Angela Marsons, Karen Rose and Mel Sheratt.
Responding to reports of deadly screams in the Ironbridge Gorge, Detective Sergeant Jenna Morgan is first on the scene to investigate.
As the search intensifies, Jenna soon discovers her sister Fliss’s severely injured Dalmatian, Domino and the naked, tortured body of an unknown woman.
Who is the dead woman and where is her sister Fliss?
A great blurb, thank you. That would have got me reading, even without the Dalmatian! So, what is your genre and is The Keeper a series or a stand alone?
It’s a psychological thriller and is the first in a four book series deal I have with Boldwood Books.
Brilliant! Congratulations on your four book deal – and I can’t wait to read the rest of the series. So, what inspires you most? Is it characters, settings or maybe even books you have read?
I’m definitely character driven. Normally they arrive in my head, name and all. With my thrillers, I have to be so much more disciplined with the story as each one follows a strict dateline and it has to be correct.
Tell us a little about your writing journey. Have you always written? What was your first published piece?
I’ve always read prolifically as far back as I can remember, but I never seriously considered writing until a few years ago. The idea of my thriller had rumbled on for some time, and then I had a foot operation and wasn’t allowed to move for two weeks. I wanted something light to entertain me, so I wrote my first romance, Loving Lydia. 50,000 in two weeks. What else is a girl to do?
I sent the manuscript off to Liquid Silver and amazingly within three weeks I had a reply and a contract. I have eleven further romances published for the U.S. market.
And what about future plans?
Currently I’m hard at work editing Book 2 in the psychological crime thriller series and writing Book 3. Book 2 will be out in March 2020, Book 3 October 2020 and Book 4 March 2021.
When I have a spare few minutes, I will dip back into my romances, but right now my priority and mindset are definitely on killing people. In books, of course.
Thank you – and now, tell us three things we might not know about you.
1. I live in the middle of a cow field. Quite literally.
2. I was the ‘chain boy’ (the one who carries the theodolite for the engineers) and site secretary on the construction of the M54.
3. I lived in Zambia when I was a youngster.
That’s great. I really envy you the ‘chain boy’ bit. Theodolite is one of my favourite words. I love the way it rolls off the tongue. I would dearly love to have had lots of opportunities to use it. (I’ll have to put a theodolite in my next murder mystery. Or you can! Now there’s a challenge!)
Social Media Links, website etc.
Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/authordianesaxon
The all important buy link.
Diane Saxon lives in the Shropshire countryside with her tall, dark, handsome husband. She has two gorgeous daughters, a Dalmatian, two cats, numerous rare breed chickens, and a black Labrador called Beau–a name borrowed by her hero in For Heaven’s Cakes.
After working for years in a demanding job, Diane gave it up when her husband said, “Follow that dream.” She subsequently has 12 Romances published for the U.S. market.
Inspired by her long, lonely walks in atmospheric woodlands, Diane has gone over to the dark side to write British psychological crime thrillers. With a four-book deal through Boldwood Books, her first in series, The Keeper was released on 1st October 2019 with Book 2 due out in March 2020.