A hero with real problems is the key to creating a good crime series says Pauline Rowson

DI Andy Horton has been described as 'an especially good series hero, a likable fellow with plenty of street smarts and the requisite personal baggage - an abrasive supervisor (DCI Lorraine Bliss) and an antagonistic soon to be ex wife.' Booklist (USA) Footsteps on the Shore.

Heroes in detective novels are often ordinary people with their own set of problems and the key to producing a successful crime novel is not necessarily that the hero saves the world, aka James Bond, but that he also learns something about himself along the way. Putting ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances builds tension and readers tend to support characters in which they recognise certain traits they have themselves.

For me it is also important to write the stories I like to read and that is crime and thriller novels that have good strong characters and an intriguing and often complex plot that stimulates 'the little grey cells'. I don't do gratuitous violence and I don't write hard boiled crime. That isn't to say there aren't gory bits in the novels but I am not out to shock but to entertain. And I certainly get great satisfaction when people ask me if my detective Andy Horton is going to get back with his wife, Catherine? Will Andy find out the truth about his mother's disappearance? Who is Andy's father? These are not the main strands of the novels - nine now in the series - but they are the things that have shaped Andy Horton and made him what he is and therefore affect his decisions and his interactions with his colleagues and the villains.

In my view readers want to get stuck into a good crime novel that provides entertainment and a puzzle which they can solve at the same time as caring and feeling for the characters. It is my aim to achieve this in the DI Horton series and in my thrillers. I hope my readers enjoy reading about their exploits as much as I enjoy writing them.

Undercurrent, the ninth in the DI Andy Horton series is published by Severn House and available in hardcover in the UK and the Commonwealth. It will be published in the USA on 1 May 2013 when it will also be available as an ebook.

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