I’ve sent Hayefield Manor back to my editor so I thought it might be a really good opportunity to chat about the book and about my experiences while writing it.
As someone who has served in the police force, I have always found myself bemused at some of the views crime writers and experts in the genre often mention at conferences or during talks. There is often talk of how anyone who writes a crime novel must adhere in painful detail to policing process yet it is perfectly fine to have a detective with an alcohol addiction and no social skills or respect for others but somehow singlehandedly solves a case. Sometimes they aren’t even police officers but forensics professionals who find time between shifts to solve the case and have somehow been granted the power to arrest suspects.
I’m not the only person who has been involved in policing to find it baffling either. I remember reading a wonderful book from a Crime Scene Investigator (CSI) which shows forensics for writers from a professional’s experience. The author told of how one victim of crime wandered around behind her explaining that she wasn’t doing her job the way they did on TV.
For years, I have felt somehow that crime was an area only for those who knew more than me… even if they’d never been an officer… but I wanted my officers to be real and sometimes very human (because even police detectives make mistakes.) The author of the above mentioned book, remarked how no one ever added real life scenarios like CSIs dropping fingerprint dust everywhere and I’ll add in that there aren’t enough police officers in fiction who are about to arrest someone only to realise they dropped their cuffs somewhere in the car.
Hayefield Manor is a mixture of some of my favourite aspects of story: a grand estate which is atmospheric and hopefully as much a character as Morgan; a dashing, unlikeable, mysterious character in Sophie who compels you to unravel her; a cast of eccentric, very human characters who don’t always get it right; and a hero in Morgan who has been broken through disability and how others see her, who feels lesser than, but who has the courage, fortitude and stubbornness to believe in herself and how she feels even when others make her feel as though she is incapable.
There’s action, there’s oodles of romance, there’s humour, there’s tough parts and hopefully lots of moments that make you cheer, so if you like Aeron’s series or my romances, you’ll probably find that Hayefield Manor is a book you’ll love.
So, what is it about?
Hayefield Manor is not a welcoming place.
Morgan Lloyd is a medically retired Detective Inspector. She has no desire whatsoever to become a Private Investigator but somehow finds herself coerced into trying to prove the innocence of one very aloof Lady Sophie Haye.
It wouldn’t be so bad if her client wasn’t the prime suspect in a high-profile murder case; if there weren’t bodies turning up on the flowerbed, or if the atmospheric estate didn’t have creepy mists; creepier suits of armour, or if her distant fiancé and ex-partner weren’t in charge of the investigation…
Oh, and then there’s Lady Sophie, who captivates her, spooks her, and stirs the kind of loyalty that Morgan can’t shake off.
With her former colleagues warning her of Sophie’s intentions, and the evidence building against her client, Morgan needs to unravel why someone innocent would go into hiding for nineteen years; why someone innocent would care more for the flowerbed than the body on it, and if she’s been snared into falling for a killer who is using her to cover her tracks.
And she thought police work had been stressful.
I hope it sounds exciting and I’ll talk some more about the different experiences in the next blog but, as Em has just brought in food, I’m distracted!