Frustratingly another book I just couldn’t find room for in my reading list, but I’m really pleased to be joining the blog tour for the debut crime novel by Michelle Davies, Gone Astray. Published in hardback and for kindle in March 2016, it features Family Liaison Officer DC Maggie Neville as its central police character. The paperback version was published yesterday, 20th October. Gone Astray was part of a two-book deal with Pan Macmillan and the follow-up, Wrong Place, also featuring DC Neville, is due for release on 27th February 2017.
Here’s the story:
When Lesley Kinnock buys a lottery ticket on a whim, it changes her life more than she could have imagined . . .
Lesley and her husband Mack are the sudden winners of a £15 million EuroMillions jackpot. They move with their 15-year-old daughter Rosie to an exclusive gated estate in Buckinghamshire, leaving behind their ordinary lives – and friends – as they are catapulted into wealth beyond their wildest dreams. But it soon turns into their darkest nightmare when, one beautiful spring afternoon, Lesley returns to their house to find it empty: their daughter Rosie is gone.
DC Maggie Neville is assigned to be Family Liaison Officer to Lesley and Mack, supporting them while quietly trying to investigate the family. And she has a crisis threatening her own life – a secret from the past that could shatter everything she’s worked so hard to build. As Lesley and Maggie desperately try to find Rosie, their fates hurtle together on a collision course that threatens to end in tragedy . . .
Money can’t buy you happiness. The truth could hurt more than a lie. One moment really can change your life forever.
I’m delighted to welcome author Michelle Davies to Being Anne, with a lovely piece on how much research is enough…
Mark Billingham wrote an interesting piece for the Irish Times recently on the way he researches his novels and how he often fact-checks AFTER he’s finished writing to avoid info-dumping massive chunks of technical detail the reader doesn’t really need to know (here is the link).
It made me reflect on the way I approached my research for Gone Astray and I wonder whether having a string of bestsellers under your belt gives seasoned authors like Mark the confidence to make that judgment call. Because, as a novice author, I know I was very anxious about getting the details right before I wrote a single word of Gone Astray!
Mainly it was because I had decided to make my central police character, DC Maggie Neville, a Family Liaison Officer and I only knew the basics of what the job entailed. It would’ve been foolish to start writing a novel with a FLO at the heart of a case if, in real life, procedure/protocol would make it impossible.
So I contacted Thames Valley Police, a force I had worked with in the past as a reporter on my local paper, and asked for help. The press office kindly put me in touch with DI Phil Murphy, TVP’s then Family Liaison Coordinator. It was his job to maintain the rota of FLOs across the force and work with the Senior Investigating Officers on all Major Crime cases to make sure the right FLO for the job was assigned to it.
The knowledge DI Murphy shared with me was invaluable when writing Gone Astray and shaped Maggie’s character. Some facts I did take out on the suggestion of my editor, because their inclusion wasn’t vital to the plot, but I couldn’t have written the novel without researching it as I did.
But I do think Mark Billingham’s right about leaving some aspects until the end and not worrying if some facts are not entirely accurate. As he says in his post, does it really matter if you mention an album that was released six months before a character said it was, or if there isn’t a branch of Starbucks in Brixton? Sometimes it’s okay to tweak reality for the sake of a really great plot.
I’m so delighted to be on this blog tour for Gone Astray, thank you for all of your support. I hope you enjoy the book!
Thank you Michelle – delighted to host you today, and wishing you every success. Thank you to Francesca Pearce at Pan Macmillan too for the support. Do follow the other stops on the blog tour, won’t you?
About the author
Michelle Davies has been writing for magazines for twenty years, including on the production desk at Elle, and as Features Editor of Heat. Her last staff position before going freelance was Editor-at-Large at Grazia magazine and she currently writes for a number of women’s magazines and newspaper supplements. Michelle has previously reviewed crime fiction for the Sunday Express’s Books section.
Michelle lives in London with her partner and daughter and juggles writing crime fiction with her freelance journalism and motherhood. Gone Astray is her first novel.