Dogged determination to write crime fiction


Last night, with forecasts of heavy drifts of snow, and ice all over the roads and pavements, I was tempted to go on the Internet to see if I could hire a digger or bulldozer.

How else could I dig my way out to take Harvey for a walk in the morning?

Not that my West Highland white terrier was interested in tomorrow morning. He was too busy enjoying one of his favourite TV programmes, Winterwatch, from the sofa in Crouch Towers. Ear pricked, eyes focused on the action in the snowy landscape of the Cairngorm Mountains, he was already growling at the various birds on the feeders.

Usually, it’s foxes, dogs and farm animals that prompt hearty barking, a leap to the floor, and a short dash across the carpet to watch the action on TV from close quarters. Last night, it was a couple of white hares, barely visible against the snow. I’ve never seen his tail wag so vigorously, dispersing the heat from the nearby radiator.

He watched for a good 30 seconds, captivated by the hares. Then, when the cameras returned to the presenters, he slunk back, leapt onto the sofa to lie next to me, and resumed his vigil, watching for the next animals to appear.

Harvey on sofa

He’s the same in the morning. He lies on the bed, looking out of the window, at the roof opposite. This is a favourite roost for gulls, pigeons and starlings. Once, we had a magnificent kestrel stop by, happy to pose for photograph before flying off.

Harvey rears up on his hind legs and barks at any bird that dares enter his field of vision. Even when he’s finished barking, he keeps watch, a low growl rumbling in his throat, blotting out the news on the radio.

As you can probably imagine, we struggle to watch programmes like Countryfile, any David Attenborough documentary and Supervet, Noel Whelan. In summer, we let him into the garden – Harvey, not Noel. He can then bark at anyone passing by or enjoying themselves in their gardens. If he starts to enjoy himself too much, we have to bring him inside and change TV channel.

I can’t recall the last time I watched Crufts.

Does your dog go wild when animals or birds appear on the TV?

Anyway, I wouldn’t be without Harvey. Now he’s getting older, he’s become more sociable. He often follows me upstairs when I go to my study to write, sometimes sitting by my feet, sometimes behind my chair, which means I have to remember he’s there and not move suddenly.

January Challenge completed.

Luckily, he wasn’t in the study when I completed the first draft of No More Lies, the fourth Kent Fisher murder mystery novel. After typing ‘The End’, I pushed my chair back and enjoyed the moment.

I’d completed my January challenge two days ahead of schedule.

For anyone who likes the details, the first draft came in at 99,000 words. Once I begin editing and revising in three weeks’ time, this will reduce as I sharpen the prose.

Editing has become one of my favourite parts of the process as I refine and polish the original work and improve it into the story I envisaged.


All I need to do now is make a video of the process. Only joking. But I have finally created a Robert Crouch Author channel on YouTube. It’s been in my mind and on my wish list during the past year, but I didn’t know where to start.

I still don’t know, so I set it up and posted a video of Harvey and me, playing on a beach in Teignmouth. It won’t win any Academy Awards, but it’s fun.

Click here to view the video.

With the channel now live, the pressure’s on to create some videos about my writing and the Kent Fisher murder mystery novels. With the lovely East Sussex countryside and the South Downs on my doorstep, I could take viewers to some of the places in the novels when the weather warms up.

I have a feeling there may be a few more videos of Harvey running around the South Downs somewhere …

Cuckmere River

Something for the weekend

Why are meeting notes called minutes when they take hours to produce?

Robert Crouch

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