I’m a pretty disorganised person. I write when I can or when the mood grabs me and quite often that means I’m tip tapping away at my teeny tiny keyboard, when every sane person is tucked up asleep in bed. It’s the same with my novels. I start at the beginning and see where my imagination takes me. It’s not for everyone, I know. In fact most people would recommend a plan of sorts, a rough idea of start, middle and end, but my thinking is this. In life we never know what awaits us, what quirks of fate, decisions or accidents might change our course and it’s this unexpected quality that makes life interesting, enjoyable and downright scary.
So I start with a thought, usually an image or a snatch of conversation. Then I bring in the central characters and let them loose. I like a twisty turny plot, I like the ending to be as much of a surprise to me as it is to the reader. I love characters that are real and make you laugh and cry. Sometimes it’s difficult to rein it all in, but goodness, what fun!
But let’s not forget, that initial thought. That first pen to paper has an awful lot riding on it. It has to create a scene that grabs the reader’s attention and keeps them reading as the plot unravels. The opening scene (and probably the closing scene), are the two hardest things to write, but the first scene is the one that will hopefully win the reader. For me, I go with my gut, the first image seared into my imagination and I try very hard not deviate from that or to dilute it at the editing stage.
Bedlam opens with a young woman poised precariously on a windswept bridge parapet, two hundred feet above Bedlam’s open maw. She’s raw with fear and emotion and she’s about to open the door to a horrifying sequence of events that will push DS Joe McNeil to the brink of madness…
…I hope you’ll read the book to find out why.
Fear is subjective. I know this to be true. In my time I have faced them all. The scuttling arachnid, the hissing serpent, even the searing heat of the pyre has left me unbowed. But, when I stand toe-to-toe with the wide open space, the plummeting depths, the void at the edge of my world, the panoramic vista draws me, seduces me, entices me to take that final step back into Bedlam.
I’m shaking now deep inside. My organs rattle like poppy seeds in a desiccated pod. No warm flesh to cushion them, I am but a dry shell. Yet I feel perspiration, cold against the back of my neck, hot on my face, and I force my eyes to remain open. This time I must see what lies before me. This time nothing will stop me.
I hear him coming softly through the darkness, his measured step as he circles ever closer. I feel his presence. The subtle movement of air around me as he moves disturbs my fragile being. I must retain focus, but I have not the power to resist as his warm breath whispers against my ear, taunting, teasing. He knows I will succumb, as I have for what seems like an eternity.
This time is different. I must overcome, I must succeed.
I inhale. The simple act of breathing causes my chest to burn. My heart beats a warning, my senses buzz. I clamp my mouth shut, hold my breath. He is all around me; he is poison – and yet my lungs yearn for release. My body betrays me and my lips part with a soft sigh. The threat is real. I know it. I cannot help myself. I step forward.
My toes are bare, scuffed and bloody, but I feel no pain, merely the cold steel beneath my feet. I have travelled far. I am nearly there, almost at my destination, the point of no return. Sadness seeps from my pores. Melancholy hums gently in my head. I curl my toes over the edge, feel the roughness of rusted rivets, and steady myself against the night breeze.
He smiles. I feel it against my skin in the same way I hear his laughter in my head, harsh and mocking. He is letting me know that my actions are his and I am powerless. I seek out the rage that lies hidden in the depths of my used and abused excuse for a soul. It evades me.
I inch forward. Now my toes are free of the rusted metal and I pivot precariously on the balls of my feet. Cool air, an updraft of sweet intoxication beckons, and I am tempted. Behind, he urges me on, whispers his jibes, like lyrics to a favourite song, over and over until the chorus threatens to overpower me, to push me over, to pull me in.
B A Morton November 2013
Joe loves Kit. Everyone thinks she’s dead. Joe knows she’s not.
If you lost the love of your life, how far would you go to get them back?
Detective Joe McNeil would do absolutely anything.
When Joe breathes life into a crime scene victim, he discovers what anything really means.
Nell will use whatever is necessary to ensure she survives, including Joe. Is she really a victim or merely the weapon being wielded by a much more cunning foe?
Against the background of a multiple murder investigation, Joe struggles between his love for missing Kit and his growing obsession with the enigmatic Nell. Plunged headlong into a spiralling nightmare of kidnap, murder and betrayal, his relentless search for the truth jeopardises his career, his sanity and his life.
But for Nell, the risk is even greater..
A haunting tale of obsessive love, ultimate sacrifice and deadly consequences