Antonia Baillie is a true Romani gypsy – she has the gift of foresight and uses this to help people.
When the ghosts of the past come calling, can she put her own fears aside and work with the police to help find who is torturing and killing young men?
Detective Sergeant Mark McKay has never had a need to solve a case using a psychic. He doesn’t believe in it – pure and simple.
But when Antonia tells him the name of a young man and gives him details specific to the case, he can’t help but change his view when a body matching what she says, is found in the vaults deep under the city.
Mark and Antonia race against a spree of monstrous crimes, long-standing grudges and the perils of the darkness in the vaults under Edinburgh to try and find a sadistic killer before time runs out.
Can they stop him before he strikes again?
Will they discover who is responsible?
And can they do it without becoming victims themselves?
I’m delighted to welcome author K A Richardson to booksaremycwtches with a fascinating post about characterisation.
Characterisation is always something I find relatively simple. I was taught to give it a lot of thought whilst doing my degree and it really resonated. Characters have to be real – I, as a writer, have to know them very well in order to know how they would react in situations. They become my best friends for the time it takes me to write the novel and I’d be doing them a huge injustice if I didn’t take the time to get to know them. I find that in knowing my characters well, they help drive the plot forward as I write. I was taught to write a character profile for my main characters before I start writing – this is something I have done with every one of my novels and intend to do for each one that follows.
I sometimes get asked which of my characters is my favourite – I dread this question so much because genuinely, I love them all! Even the bad guys in some ways. If I absolutely had to pin it down though, I’d probably have to say DI Alistair McKay is my favourite police officer – he’s strong, capable, and says it how it is. I love how he progressed through Time to Play, becoming a better cop and a better man for all that happened. And my favourite female protagonist would have to be Ben Cassidy – there’s a little bit of me in her character. She has a lot of vulnerabilities but because of what has happened to her, she’s strong and deals very well with what life throws at her. Her history made her who she is and that is something that’s true of all of us, character or not. Ben is proactive and grabs onto opportunities. She’s also totally capable of looking after herself, as well as her aunt and daughter. She’s very matter-of-fact and I love that about her character. How Ben processes scenes and has moments of self-doubt was also very much me. Not with the processes themselves but more self-doubt about myself. I think it’s something every writer must feel at some times – for me it rises it’s head around book release time – I worry that it won’t be well received or good enough. But hopefully the majority of my readers disagree and enjoy the book irrespective of my own doubts!
I have to admit to thoroughly enjoying writing the bad guy’s perspective. I love researching around serial killers and find the whole subject fascinating – I think because it’s difficult to imagine how most of these killers can kill as they do, me getting into the head of my killer helps me imagine the how and why. I find myself getting very ‘in the zone’ and if I have to firmly hang the ‘do not disturb’ sign on my writing cave door because if I’m interrupted at that point, I have a tendency to react badly! I always feel the need to give my killers a back story – no one is born a killer after all. Killers grow up to be that way. Usually from some stimulus such as abuse when they are a child. I have to give them valid memories of events that helped shape them into the person they become. Whether that be a history of being bullied like the female killer in Watch You Burn, or the killer who sees victims as his Angels as in the new release, Under the Woods. Whatever it is that made my killers kill, it has to be realistic and something that could happen to anyone.
I also like my characters to have people in their lives that impact on their behaviour – again this is true of those we know in real life. Whether it’s the nasty neighbour who is constantly on your case for one thing or another (like the nasty Neil Brown in Under the Woods) or the best friend you couldn’t live without and to whom you talk to when everything’s going wrong (like Ben’s aunt Aoife in I’ve Been Watching You).
Struggles are real. Everyone has struggles – sometimes the outcome of these is positive and sometimes it’s not. But however those struggles are presented, they all leave us with something. Whether it’s being a little stronger in ourselves for it, or allowing us to be emotional and sensitive if being placed in a similar situation. So whilst it is a little clichéd having the tired detective who drinks too much and has a lack of social skills, sometimes that character is integral to the plot and has to grow despite all he/she has going on. The same as those characters that come with baggage – it’s real because we all have baggage. It helps us relate to others with similar baggage, or feel sympathy for those who have different. And for me as a writer, I want to make the reader have those feelings for the characters I write.
You can purchase From The Dark from Amazon
About the author
KA Richardson is a crime writer based in North East England. She has worked for the police for around 8 years, both as a CSI (crime scene investigator) and also in alternate roles involving dealing with people in heightened states of emotion. She spends a lot of time in coffee shops, both writing and people watching. She began focussing on writing as a career in 2011 when she competed her MA Creative Writing, and focuses primarily on the crime/police procedural genre.
You can follow the author on Twitter, Facebook and her website.