As occasional readers of this blog or visitors to my website may know, I am currently involved in the on-going process of writing a series of full-length crime/mystery/suspense novels gathered together under the umbrella title of PERFECT WORLDS. I have two titles already completed and e-published, a third underway, and a fourth still in the planning stage, but today I think I’d like to talk about the first in the series, PERFECT DAY.
The whole PERFECT WORLDS project began when I started to play around with the notion of a series of crime novels linked by the inclusion of the word ‘PERFECT’ in the title, but not necessarily connected by anything else. This idea – simple though it was – seemed to promise an extra amount of creative freedom and a lack of staleness while still having the attraction of producing a linked body of work. It meant that the stories I wanted to tell didn’t have to share the same characters, the same locations or the same situations like other series (although they could and, as it now seems, some of them eventually will), but they would certainly share all the qualities I hoped to make a major hallmark of the series – which included a convincing atmosphere of dark reality, strong, believable real-world characters interacting in a recognisable universe, and a commitment to consistently good writing.
PERFECT DAY actually began life as a manuscript that was initially called JOYRIDE before it became engulfed by the PERFECT WORLDS idea, but I think it only really fully came to life with the new title and the new thematic direction. I knew from the very start, however, that I wanted to write a story about a woman, Joan Crosby, who thought she had managed to survive the very worst that life could throw at her, only to realise, to her disbelief and horror, that she’d had no idea just how bad things could really get, or the depth of the intrigue with which she had been surrounded for far longer than she could ever have imagined.
I wanted to explore the effect of undue, almost unbearable pressure upon the relationships in Joan’s life - upon her relationship with her husband, with her sister, with her friends, and also upon her relationship with herself, upon her sanity, and upon her perception of the fundamental beliefs of her life. I wanted to explore the nature of love and lust and greed and deceit and betrayal, to examine both the baser and the finer natures of the human condition and the strength of the survival instinct, and I wanted to do it all in the format of genre fiction.
Piece of cake, right?
Well, did I succeed in all of these ridiculously lofty aims? Almost certainly not, but I tried, and even if I did crash and burn a little, I still think aiming high is a good thing, and I still believe I managed to craft an interesting and compelling story out of the colourful wreckage.