"Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body." Sir Richard Steele

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Guest Blog with Carol Bridgestock

   It is will a great deal of pleasure that I introduce my guest blogger today, Carol Bridgestock. Carol and her husband Bob are writers from the UK on the Isle of Wight and write under the name of RC Bridgestock. I became acquainted with Carol last year on Facebook and we have developed quite the long distance friendship. I will now give Carol the floor. 

   Eva asked us to write a blog about ourselves, our careers and our writing. Writing about taking charge of murder enquiries is easy because we have been there and done it, as well as, worn the T-shirt as they say. How we use that experience in our writing is more daunting, partially because there's no answer that comes easily to mind, no magic, no formula. But requests for another novel spurs us on!
   We, Bob and Carol Bridgestock, otherwise known as RC Bridgestock in the literary world have our daily rituals. We walk the dogs, clean the house, do the laundry, drink coffee, eat pizzas and love chocolate; turn onto Emmerdale Farm and Coronation Street at night to relax and love films with a romantic twist. Carol's office is above the dining room where Bob works at the sitting room table with his laptop. The white noise is a necessity to writing creatively for Carol. Bob can write with the radio on. Once focused, he's not easily distracted.
   Bob writes the storyline of their crime fiction novels. Carol puts the flesh on the bones to the idea that's been with him for months, maybe years or sometimes something that just comes into his head one night. Bob knows how long the story should be- how the story will play out- how it will end. But he doesn't scribble down ideas, sentences, paragraphs on sticky notes like some writers do. It's all in his head. Because, having run high profile murder enquires and being in charge of serious incidents, the memories don't go away easily. We don't write about factual murders, we feel that would be too painful for the relatives of the victims who have already suffered enough; but every crime scene Bob writes about he has seen. Every post mortem is etched in his subconscious forever: all he has to do is to draw on the memory of the incident. He will never forget.
   Bob was a detective for 28 years of his 30 year service and has performed every role of a detective in the CID office in that time. As you can imagine he has a lot of incidents to choose from. He was a senior detective for 18 years. In his last three years as a Detective Superintendent he took charge of 26 murder investigations, 23 serious incidents including shootings, serious rapes and attempted murders, as well as, over 50 suspicious deaths. He was also a hostage negotiator taking charge of extortion and suicide intervention cases.
   Once Bob has a crime scene in his mind, he can now write about the enquiry till he captures the murderers, as he did in real life with all the highs and lows of any investigation he has taken charge of, which could have happened in any CID Office, in any part of the world. When his first draft of around 70,000 words is complete he passes it to Carol. She adds the emotion. She draws out of him his feelings, she writes the scenes from his sometimes harrowing descriptions. Carol says it's cathartic for Bob. Bob says it's work. There is never the case of not knowing how to move the story forward or writers block because the investigation opens up automatically just as in real life. Did we say there is no magic? Maybe we're wrong, because suddenly we have a fictional story with the real life feelings of the man in charge who happens to be called Dylan in their books and his partner Jen, who are very loosely based on us.
   We'll never write something because it is what everyone else is writing. Our experience and feelings are genuine or we don't write it at all. We eventually give the story the first of a dozen titles. One will stick and then people make suggestions to change it. We don't get too attached to what we write and are not averse to changing the story if our publisher thinks we should, as long as, what we write really would happen, could happen and the procedural side of the story is correct. We're happy.
   One of Bob's pet hates is to watch a TV series or read a crime novel and the police procedure is wrongly portrayed. But the story is after all fiction. It's fluid. Lines blur. Rules change. It's about writing about the truth of feelings for us and correct police procedure with some version of reality in the murder. There is something about writing something we know.
   This year is going to be an exciting one for us. Not only will Caffeine Nights Publishing republish Deadly Focus in the spring, on e-books, as well as, paperback; but Consequences will be out in the summer. Although Consequences stands alone it is a sequel to Deadly Focus and we are writing two more books in the Dylan Series at present. By looking at our publisher's website you can sign up for an electronic newsletter which will keep you up to speed with where we are throughout this year.http://www.caffeine-nights.com/rc-bridgestock.html#axzz1EiqiU9s0

Here you can also listen to our interviews on line. Just scroll to the bottom of our author's page. This will be updated as and when we do them so you don't miss any.
   We will be out and about doing talks and book signings this year so hopefully we will meet up with some of you. Please make yourself known if you come along. It will be great to see you!



  1. Thanks for this, Eva. Bob and Carol's writing process is something to behold, and with their combined experience in the front line, storylines and characters must be exploding in their heads all the time. Love their focus on what is real. Write the truth, and that's where the magic is.

  2. Great post Carold and Bob. Interesting to learn more about your writing process. Thanks Eva.
    Geraldine Evans

  3. I found you on YAllitchat. Nice to meet you. I'm your newest follower.

  4. The book was astounding, and so are the authors! Great post! It was nice to learn a little more about the people behind the pen! Carol and Bob are great folks who have seen a lot throughout their careers and have now 'shown' us what that looked like first-hand!
    Cheers, Amarissa Cale

  5. Wow - their writing process is very interesting. Thanks for the interview (and for directing me here from YALitChat)