The Challenges Of Book Number Seven

When I started writing ‘A Deadly Orientation,’ I knew I wanted this book to be a bit different. As a writer it’s important to challenge yourself and to keep pushing the boundaries of your comfort zone in order to provide something new and exciting for your readers.

Blake has a growing fan base and so readers are expecting a certain type of story when it comes to Blake. As the seventh mystery in the series my characters are well established, so writing it should be simple, right? Erm, no. Writing the seventh story in the Hetherington series challenged me in ways I didn’t expect and here’s why.

What no murder?

This book doesn’t start with a murder. In fact the first death doesn’t occur until almost a third of the way through the book. The book starts with a scene set over thirty years ago.

When the story moves to the present day, Blake has set himself up as a private investigator and the story begins with him investigating a case of missing artefacts. This presented me with two challenges: pacing and a new role for Blake.

The story needed to keep pace, keep the reader interested whilst Blake investigated a bizarre burglary that finally leads him to the real reason the reader’s here: the murder mystery. Secondly this is a new role for Blake. In the past he has happened upon a body and accidentally come across information. This time, as a PI, he has to actively seek out the solution to the case. Doing this in a real and convincing way, without your character flouting every rule and procedure int he book, is a challenge for any author of a PI series.

10758676 - fishermen in the foggy lake

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The Themes In The Book

As I’ve mentioned before, geocaching and foraging are subjects I have an interest in. They are both outdoor pursuits but they needed to link up with the legend of El Dorado. This meant I had to create a pre-Columbian link which involved exotic plants. Checking that these plants were used in a credible way is important and takes time. I wanted to make sure that each subject was portrayed in the correct way and was accurate for those reading. Making sure these three subjects meshed together in a storyline that flowed easily was, at times, tricky.

A Main Character Dies

When I made the decision to kill off a main character I had no idea how grumpy it would make me. I sulked about their death for weeks and got serious writer’s block, but that’s where the characters led me and that’s what had to happen. Want to find out who it is? You’ll have to read the book!


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How does your writing challenge you? I’d love to hear your thoughts so don’t forget to let me know in the comments below. Thanks for reading!


8 thoughts on “The Challenges Of Book Number Seven

  1. Margot Kinberg says:

    I loved getting your insights on this! It really isn’t easy, is it, when the story leads you to the death of a major character. Add to that the challenge of keeping the reader involved from the beginning, even without a murder straight away, and you do have a row to hoe! I know it’ll be fab, though, and look forward to reading it.


    • writerdsnelson says:

      Thanks Traci and thanks for stopping by. I love murder mysteries and I love the challenges they present me as a writer. I think my nemisis would be the romance novel. There’s no way I could write one without embarassing myself lol


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