I am currently working on the third book in the series of crime thriller comedies that began with Blood & Breakfast. That book was influenced, loosely, by the fad for Nordic Noir. I’d read a Jo Nesbo. I’d watched The Killing. Rather than try to emulate them, I was inspired to use elements from the genre to create my own kind of story. I’ve never been to Scandinavia – much as I’d love to go – so I set the book in a fictionalised version of my home town (Dudley) and added some Nordic elements for flavour. And so there are references to Norse mythology (even the bed and breakfast hotel is named for Yggdrasil, the Ash Tree) and the character of Anfred was inspired by Eurovision Champion, Alexander Rybak!
I didn’t envisage the book would be the first in a series, but as it took shape, the pair of detectives became more prominent and I became more attached to them. I wanted to give them another outing and so Grey Ladies was born. This is a different kind of case for Brough and Miller – I think it’s important, especially with a series, not to keep writing the same book over and over again. I’m keeping this very much in mind as I work on their third, as yet untitled, case.
I’m also striving to make each book a stand-alone story, so they can be read in any order. But rather than having their lives reset at the beginning of each book, Brough and Miller go through life-changing experiences. I am currently reading Let it Bleed, a Rebus novel by Ian Rankin. There are several books before and after this one, and it’s clear the Inspector has an ongoing story as well as all the cases he tackles. I prefer this approach to the Scooby Doo model where nothing changes about the characters (not even their clothes) and the stories are identical. If you read the Brough and Miller stories in order, you meet them as I met them. If you dip in and out of the series, I don’t think you’re missing anything – I just hope if you read one, you’ll want to read the others too.