It took me a long time to get it right.
Like a lot of people, I like murder. Armchair murder, of course, trying to fathom out the killer as I read or watch TV. Miss Marple, Inspector Morse and Columbo left the biggest impression. All had charismatic characters, complex and detailed investigations and lots more besides.
This was the kind of crime I wanted to write.
Only I didn’t want to create another police detective. While the idea of a private investigator appealed, I chose an amateur sleuth. There’s something romantic about an ordinary person solving a complex crime. And no one had an environmental health officer (EHO) as a sleuth before.
It’s what I did for a living – environmental health, not sleuthing. I could use my considerable experience to give readers glimpses into a world they knew little or nothing about. Once Kent Fisher was created, all it needed was a credible way for him to investigate murder. As far as I know, no one walks into their local council offices to report a murder to Environmental Health.
But EHOs investigate fatal work accidents.
Disguise a murder as a work accident, let the EHO investigate, and he discovers it’s a murder.
Turning this simple idea into an exciting murder mystery proved a steep learning curve. I became the master of false starts before I finally got it right.
In 2007, I started writing a humorous blog about my experiences as an EHO. Not wanting to use my own name, or anyone else’s, I let Kent Fisher do my dirty work. Fishers Fables launched and ran for seven years, creating the workplace characters that went on to appear in the novels. During these blogs, Kent, his background and relationships grew and developed.
From here, it was a short leap to reinvigorate No Accident, which went on to be published by an independent publisher in the USA in June 2016.
I love writing the novels, spending time with my characters as they grow and develop. They create a substantial backstory that evolves and develops through the series, posing plenty of challenges and conflict for Kent and those closest to him.
The backstory means readers get more than a murder mystery when they read Kent Fisher.
Many of my experiences as an EHO find their way into the novels. Some inspire the plots, most offer glimpses into a world few people know. Readers seem to enjoy these glimpses into the many aspects of environmental health. Current issues like government spending cuts are also woven into the narrative to show the effects they have on staff and the areas they serve.
Solving a Murder – a short video on how I came to write murder mystery novels.
My media pack contains more information about me.