Ingrid’s had a makeover!

  I’ve been thinking about getting the Skyberg covers redesigned for a long time. It’s been so long since I published Below Zero I wanted to inject a bit of excitement back into the series, and giving Ingrid a whole new look seemed like a great way to make readers (and me) excited about Skyberg again. When the early books in the series were first published in 2014, Eva was going through treatment and although she was immensely proud of them at the time, the covers probably didn’t get the attention they deserved. Enough time has now passed since Eva died for me to look at the Skyberg series more objectively, and I decided it was time for an overhaul. But there was a problem. Whenever I looked at photos for the covers, I found the models used by all the major stock photography libraries (Getty, Adobe, Bigstockphoto etc) either had long hair or their lingerie showing! The books make it clear that Ingrid has short blonde hair and spends most of her time in biker gear. That meant I was going to have to commission the portrait photography, and here I got really, really lucky. Over breakfast, I mentioned all of this to my girlfriend she said ‘I know just the person’. So I went to meet the model who’s tall, slender, blond and – like Ingrid – Scandinavian. She also, weirdly, looks a lot like Eva, so much so that when I showed Eva’s best friend the early mock-ups she cried. Now I’ve got used to the similarities, I think it’s really cool Ingrid has ended up...

Martha Steinway

I got an email from a reader a couple of days ago asking who Martha Steinway was, so I thought I better explain… When Eva and I started writing the Hollywood Detective series, we knew we weren’t going to publish them under her name. The Hudson brand was too gritty and contemporary for a cozy mystery series, and although I think we probably did discuss writing them under my name, as a  ghostwriter, using my real name seemed a breach of my professional anonymity. So… we needed a pen name. We knew we wanted something that sounded American, and also something that had the right vintage feel. I remember fooling around with Vanderbilt, Carnegie and Rothschild but we settled on Steinway fairly early on. Eva had used the character name Carmen Steinway in The Senior Moment, and she had this nice catchphrase – ‘As in pianos’ – whenever she introduced herself. It stuck in both our heads, it looked good written down, it was memorable-but-spellable (a crucial factor in name recognition) and we liked it. Now all we needed was a first name to go with it. The convention is that women will read books by men and women, but men prefer books written by men, so to appeal to the widest audience, we decided we’d choose a male name. Somehow – as evidenced by these early cover designs – we came up with Robert. However, shortly before publishing the first book, we had a change of heart: we’re both women, we wanted to improve female visibility in publishing and if we lost a few sales, then so be...

Finally…. another book!

I’m thrilled – and more than a tad relieved – to tell you that I am finally bringing out a new book! However, it’s not a new Skyberg – you’ve got a few more months to wait for that. Some of you will remember that Eva and I collaborated on a little side project, the Hollywood Detective series, and we’d published two books before she died. My priority had been to publish the Skyberg series, so the side project had to take a back seat. But now, over three years since the last book came out, Dangerous By Design is hitting the shelves. I finished the first draft in 2014, and Eva gave me her notes on it in December that year. It was hard going through the manuscript and seeing her handwriting, but much harder realising I couldn’t have a debate with her about which of us was right. But as she wasn’t around to argue, or consult, with I made the decision to accept every suggestion she made. We loved writing this series. The novels are bright, breezy and a heck of a lot of fun as our characters –  a wisecracking P.I. and his whipsmart assistant – blaze their way through 1930s Hollywood, helping movie stars crack cases and solve mysteries. In the new book, our hero – the charming Spencer McCoy – is called to a break-in Hedy Lamarr’s mansion. When he discovers that the thieves have taken something far more valuable than jewels, the hunt is on to stop a deadly document falling in Hitler’s hands. If that sounds like your sort of read,...

7 authors, 7 days, 7 FREE books

  I’m going to go out on a limb here, but I reckon if you like Eva’s books then there’s a good chance you might be a fan of a bloody good FBI thriller. In which case, I have excellent news! I’ve teamed up with six brilliant authors for a 7-day download giveaway. That’s 7 authors, 7 days, and 7 FREE books. If you’ve not read Douglas Dorow, Ty Hutchinson, Helen Hanson, John W Mefford, Carolyn Arnold or David Bruns yet, get over to http://www.douglasdorow.com/fbi-crime-thriller-instafreebie…. and fill yer boots. What are you waiting for? Offer runs until December 17. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ RETURN TO THE BLOG...

Ten things I want readers to know about Below Zero

Below Zero, the sixth Ingrid Skyberg FBI Thriller, is published on Monday and I wanted to share my thoughts with you about the new book. I hope you’ll find some of these insights about how I wrote the book interesting. I also really, really, hope you enjoy Ingrid’s latest adventure. ONE This book took way too long to finish and it was much harder to write than Shoot First. (I know – for sure – that in the time it’s taken me to write two Skyberg novels, Eva would have written four or five. But then, Eva was incredible.) It’s really important to me that I stay as faithful as I can to Eva’s notes, but I encountered a few problems with this book that slowed me down. The big one was that Eva’s arc had Ingrid being held hostage for a long time, but I struggled to make a fast-paced thriller out of a woman sitting alone in a dark cold room. I had to add in a few plot devices that weren’t in Eva’s notes to try and keep the pace up. I think that, if Eva had been given the chance to sit down to write it, she’d also have realised it wasn’t working the way she’d plotted it. But she was smarter than me, so maybe she’d have figured out differently.   TWO Having loved the Skyberg books before I took over the series, I was really excited to see how Ingrid would behave without her supporting cast. No Ralph, no McKittrick, no Angela Tate and, crucially, no Jennifer at the end of a phone...

Help me choose the new cover

It’s getting closer and closer to publication day and there are just a few tweaks left to make – and one big decision left to take: which cover should I choose? In Below Zero, Ingrid is sent on a secret and dangerous assignment to Stockholm, but when a series of terrorist incidents put the city on lockdown, her mission is thrown into chaos. Which of these two designs most makes you want to pick up the new book? VOTE HERE and let me know. Your input, as ever, will be massively appreciated.   VOTE NOW! +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ RETURN TO THE BLOG...