Back in January I downloaded and fell in love with Little Girl Lost the first novel in the new DI Robyn Carter by Carol Wyer. I was incredibly excited when I saw the second book in the series Secrets of the Dead become available for review and I wasn’t disappointed. You can find my reviews for both books here.
I reached out to Carol to see if she would be willing to share her experience on writing the second book in the series and I’m delighted to say she was happy to! So without further ado on Carol…
Second Book Syndrome
I didn’t expect to be writing a series of thrillers, featuring DI Robyn Carter. I’ve been writing comedies, light-hearted fiction and non-fiction since 2009, but my desire to write a psychological thriller had been bubbling away since those early days.
Following the success of Life Swap, which has the mother of all twists, I was contracted to write three further novels for Bookouture and it was expected they’d be humorous. I submitted synopses for each and had them accepted, then, on a whim, I asked my editor, Lydia if I could submit an idea for a thriller. She loved my synopses for Little Girl Lost, and it was full steam ahead with a carefully constructed plot that I’d had been working out for several years.
I didn’t expect such a response or for the book to soar up the charts, nor did I expect Lydia to suggest I write a series based on Robyn Carter and to forget the comedy for the time being.
I didn’t struggle with the second in the series at all. In fact, Secrets of the Dead was infinitely easier to write than Little Girl Lost. The entire plot came to me whilst I was writing Little Girl Lost (along with a host of other plots). This time, I knew how to approach writing it. No more scrolling through notes or scurrying about for scraps of paper containing indecipherable scribbles. I had character details already mapped out on several sheets of paper, and tackled the entire project, much like Robyn would one of her cases. I had timelines, murderer’s POV, and a sequence of events pinned to my office wall before I began writing. I wasn’t going to get lost in that fog of who said what and when, that I’d experienced with my first thriller.
This time around, my main characters already had lives, backstories and traits that I’d given them in Little Girl Lost. I felt I knew them better and could colour each in, giving them more credibility. Each gradually became more alive.
I set the book in and around where I live. I didn’t want to complicate matters by doing searches on places with which I’m not familiar. I think writing about somewhere you really know, gives the book and storyline more gravitas.
The plot to Secrets of the Dead s incredibly twisted. I adore twists. I spend hours and hours thinking up surprises for my readers, and I had plenty for Secrets of the Dead.
However, what made writing it easier than the first thriller was having more self-belief. I’ve been reading crime thrillers since I was a child, and never thought I was a good enough writer in this genre. I only had to conjure up some of the big names to feel I could never offer anything quite as good.
It appears I have found my niche. But I still have a way to go to be personally satisfied, but each book is getting cleverer. With each story, I am growing in confidence and, I love my characters, from Robyn herself to the curmudgeon Shearer. I also love getting into my villain’s heads. Psychology has always fascinated me, as has human plight and I hope I create credible killers.
The next five books are all planned out and I have several arc themes running through them all to make them more cohesive. The planning takes ages but I think the result will be rewarding.
Thank you so much Carol for taking the time out of your busy schedule to write this post! I’m so excited to learn we have at least five further books to look forward to!
The DI Robyn Carter series is published by Bookouture. Little Girl Lost and Secrets of the Dead are both available now – Carol’s third book in the series The Missing Girls is due for release on the 14th September and you can pre-order on Amazon today!