The Story Behind the Story (The Yorkshire Dipper)

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New Look Readerly Ramblings!

I look along the river and shudder, thinking of the poor women who have been devoured by it.” Lauren (From The Yorkshire Dipper.)

             Cover Credit: Darran Holmes

The Idea

I conceived the idea for the Yorkshire Dipper from the river which flows through the town centre of my hometown.  It is notorious for drownings, particularly after a few drinks.

It was after yet another drowning that my thriller-writer brain, (fuelled by my Auntie who initially suggested it – thanks Joan Emmerson!!) started going off on a tangent.  Before long I had a story whereby a perpetrator would be behind the frequent drownings.

To protect the town and to show respect to real life victims, I will not disclose the town, or the river, but have fictionalised it as the River Alder in Alderton.  It has, however, been a pleasure to use Yorkshire in my title.

Being Yorkshire born and bred, I root all my novels in this county.  I would struggle to set them anywhere else.  The accent and local references are often commented on by my readers.

Constructing a Page Turner!

I began writing this novel in November 2019, before the world turned upside down.  At least I still had the pleasure of being able to situate myself in a favourite Waterstones coffee shop to write.

The novel came relatively fast. I spent the whole of November maintaining a word count of 2000 words a day, mainly in coffee shops late afternoon. By the end of the month I had a strong 60,000 word draft.

Editing

But it wasn’t deep enough. Pardon the pun.  It was lacking something. But plot developments often reveal themselves in the small hours, so I had to trust... and wait.  Then during one sleepless night it came to me that I should punctuate the main narrative with the voices of the novel's victims.

The perpetrator has also changed following feedback from my two beta readers. (The aforementioned Joan Emmerson and also Andrew MacDonald – Thank you!)

Like most of my novels, this one required a substantial amount of research around issues such as police procedure, victim support and death through drowning. I only hope the computer search police never arrive at my door in response to some of the following searches:

How long does it take a body to surface?

What do police use to break a door down?

What is the drowning process like?

Can a post-mortem show whether a person was still alive when they entered the water?

How long is town centre CCTV kept for?

Eeeek! And some of the above research made it into the prologue.

Prologue

The cold is like a million knives slicing into me. I’ve never felt anything like it. I try to shout, but I can’t even breathe. How did I end up here?  One minute I was cosy in the pub, knowing I’d had one too many, then next I was coming outside for some air; stumbling a bit at the side of the river. Then, well, I don’t know if I will ever see the light of day again.

I see the faces of my family in my mind. Again, I try to scream. Not a whimper. I’m going to die. No, I am not. I’m going to fight. I try to kick, to tread the water. Pretend I’m a girl again, doing my level one at the local baths. One minute in the deep end. But I can’t move my limbs. I’m being frozen alive.

Something is sucking me under. A force is pulling me down. My foot lodges within something hard. I hold my breath. Try to kick again. All is silent apart from the terror inside me. I really am going to die. Here, in this river where people dispose of shoes and shopping trollies. I can’t move. All around me is inky black.

I see a faint moonlight filtering through the surface of the water. Thoughts won’t come anymore. My body is going to explode. I try, one last time, to return to the surface. To get another breath.

Instead, I choke as freezing liquid engulfs me from the outside in. It fills my stomach, my lungs. I’m sinking further. This is it.

On a happier note, Lauren, one of the main characters, was a bride to be. I was counting down to my own wedding at the time of writing, so I was able to channel some of that happiness into what would otherwise have been a very dark story!

To get your copy of the Yorkshire Dipper, click below:

"This is an absorbing read which mixes a police investigation with insights into each victim’s life." (Random Things Tours) "Unputdownable - I read it in one hit! Beautifully written and really gripping." (Amazon Reviewer)

This is the first book I have written where readers are requesting a sequel!  Let me know what you think.  If there’s enough call for a sequel, then I’ll definitely give it some thought…

Thanks for being here – see you next month.

Bye for now,

Maria

What I am Reading:

Here to Stay by Mark Edwards.  A great domestic thriller featuring what must be the worst in-laws ever!

What I am Writing:

Last Christmas: For who?  - I’m just beginning draft three and am at the 60,000 word mark.  The release is planned for November 2021.

Quote of the Month:

From none other than Mr Shakespeare.

PS: This blog post is also available in video format on YouTube. I post a new blog for my readers on the 18th of every month.

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       A mother-in law. A daughter-             in-law. A deadly dynamic...

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