I have a Guest Post to share with you today. Andrew French (A.S. French), the author of The Hashtag Killer has kindly agreed to share his thoughts on writing and insights into how he found his own writing style. Before I hand over to our guest post from Andrew French, here’s a little more about his book The Hashtag Killer.
Book Cover Notes
Catch a killer or save a child. What would you do?
DI Jen Flowers thought she’d seen it all after fifteen years on the force, but when a vigilante serial killer hits the city and uses social media to gather supporters, she must fight the public and her doubts to catch a murderer and save her daughter.
Suffering from blackouts and abandoned as a child by her father, Ruby Vasquez has been chasing that one scoop to make her an internet star. Living with an alcoholic mother who hates her, Ruby discovers a secret about the vigilante’s first victim, which puts her in the killer and DI Flowers’ sights.
Jen and Ruby have to overcome the secrets in their past while battling each other to discover the Hashtag Killer’s identity. Jen will have to choose between keeping her daughter safe or finding a killer, while Ruby will need to decide if becoming famous is more important than doing the right thing.
Write what you know.
Isn’t that what all budding authors are told? It seemed to be what I read and heard the most when searching for advice on becoming a better writer. I thought I knew how to string words together around a plot and interesting characters. Or so I assumed. But I wanted to make everything better than it was.
I wanted to write about the future, about alien civilisations, parallel worlds, time travel, angels and demons, mythological creatures, and the supernatural. But what do I know about them? Well, only what I’d read and seen in the fiction I’d loved since a child. But I didn’t want to create pale imitations of those.
So, while I pondered this problem, I immersed myself in crime fiction and film noir until I wrote a novel which combined those and the future. I had no intention of publishing it. I only wanted to write it and get it finished. I’d spent years writing stories and never completing them, always editing as I went along until I got bored and moved onto something new.
I stopped that process when I had not only a beginning but an ending to my future-noir. That allowed me to reach the goal I’d had since a teenager: I wrote a book. And then I wrote the sequel. Those two led to several others since and in that time, through all the trials and tribulations, I found the solution to having to write what I know while writing about what I didn’t. I’m not a time traveller, and I’m not a murderer. I figured out that writing what you know meant using fiction to explore my life, base characters on my experience, and develop locations, even future ones, by looking at my environment.
That doesn’t mean everything I’ve written since it is based entirely on me, my family, friends, and history, but all of those have inspired my writing. There are bits of me in everything I write, at least when I start that first draft. And there are elements of things and people I’ve experienced submerged beneath the sentences and the paragraphs.
Sometimes they pop their heads up, and if people look close enough, they might recognise themselves in the character descriptions or personality traits. When the world was different, before the pandemic, I found that travelling on busses or trains was a great way of creating character sketches from the people I saw around me. Now I reach back into my memories and remember what it was like before and find new plots and fresh characters there.
And this is how I write what I know: by collecting and collating my experiences of people and places that have touched my life. Then I might turn them into aliens or killers, or exotic landscapes and future civilisations. My dentist might become a criminal gang leader, while a favourite teacher could become the hero of my next novel.
Someday you, just by reading these words, might find yourself saving lives and having grand adventures in one of my fictional worlds.
And by writing this, perhaps I’m already deep inside the pages of someone else’s creation.
Thank’s to Andrew for joining me on the Touring Tales Book Blog today. I wish you all the best with your Detective Jen Flowers Series.
Update (Jan 2022): Check out more books in The Detective Jen Flowers Series:
- Serial Killer – Book 2 What would you do if a serial killer started writing to you?
- Night Killer – Book 3 Would you take a life to save your own?
About the Author
Andrew French is a man of no wealth and little taste. He lives amongst faded seaside glamour on the North East coast of England. He likes gin and cats but not together, new music and old movies, curry and ice cream.
Slow bike rides and long walks to the pub are his usual exercise. As well as flicking through the pages of good books and the memoirs of bad people.
Where to find Andrew Online
Where to Buy
Further book info
- Published Date: 25 March 2021
- Publisher: Neonoir Books
- Page Count: 275
I hope you’ve enjoyed this guest post from Andrew French (A.S French). Why not follow me to keep up to date on future book reviews, guest posts and author interviews.
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