My top tips for writing gripping crime fiction by Jade Nicole-Bracken –

Having retired from a long career as a chartered surveyor, Jade Nicole-Bracken now lives in South Yorkshire. The Ring’s List is the author’s inaugural novel. Here, they share their inspiration and top tips for writing gripping crime fiction.

The Ring’s List

I remember, a long time ago now, my old headmaster at Grammar School, Ken Pierce, once saying to me “everyone has at least one book in them”. Whether it was his crude attempt to try and get me to improve my English Language so I would pass my GCSE O Level, I don’t know, but never thought much more about it at the time (although I did end up getting a pass grade at the old English!)

Fast forward to circa 2003; I took very early retirement from my full time role as a Local Authority Chartered Surveyor, and as one of my hobbies had been researching my Family History thought “I will now have more time to concentrate on completing my family tree”. I guess within this cam the germ of the idea to publish all my findings in book form once all investigations were concluded. However, opening one door always led to other closed ones, so consequently my research never got to a totally finished position for such a publication to happen, so that particular idea got shelved.

However, circa 2008, during local outings with two of my granddaughters (then aged 8 and 5) the eldest one said that at a recent school lesson her class had a go at writing a book. She then turned round and said “Grandad why don’t you write one and as a lot of books have a happy ending why don’t you call it ‘Bad Endings’?”

Later that year me Dad died and my headmasters and my granddaughters comments came to the forefront of my mind, so I though right I WILL write that book. The only question was: would it be a factual recounting of my family history or the fictional Bad Endings? To cut a long story short, I chose the latter (but changed the title to The Ring’s List, much to my granddaughter’s annoyance), promising myself that on its eventual publication I would dedicate it to James Kenneth Martin, 1920-2008.

So, after ten years in the making, on and off, The Ring’s List has now been finished and published. I hope all who buy it enjoy reading it as much as I have enjoyed writing it.

For other aspiring crime writers, my top tips for writing a gripping novel would be:

  1. There is much in the old adage: 1% inspiration 99% perspiration. So try and keep at it, don’t give up and try to keep it fairly simple.
  2. Don’t set out thinking it is a quick way of making fortune – self-publishing isn’t quick but you may make a bob or two at the end of the day.
  3. Get a good publisher who can lend their expertise in assisting you in the process, thus taking the strain off you a bit. I would be happy to recommend Matador Books based in Leicestershire to this end.
  4. Ideas may come easily, but then dry up. Try not to get too disheartened if this happens, walk away for a bit and wait a while before picking up your pen again. I just started to write the ideas down as they came to me, and soon knew what the ending was going to be – although I admit I did struggle at time on how to get to the end!
  5. Would I do anything different if had my time over again? Perhaps not take 10 years. Plus self-publishing is not necessarily cheap – had I not had a monetary gift from my Mum, which enabled the funding of the whole process to occured in my Dad’s memory.

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