Today I am very excited to be hosting a Guest Post as part of the Blog Tour for Then She Ran. I asked Charlie Gallagher to talk about THEN SHE RAN his latest stand alone George Elms thriller:
Then She Ran
I was very honoured to be asked to talk about my new book Then She Ran in a blog post.
I didn’t really know what I should say. But I thought I would talk about where the idea and plot came from for Then She Ran.
It all started with Stan. Stan plays the part of grieving pensioner in the book. Him and his wife are the victim of a burglary-gone-wrong and he ends up cradling her in his arms while her life slips away. They were married sixty-two years. He tells George Elms this fact and then lifts watery eyes and asks:
‘what do I do now? What do I do now?’
I remember my first ever night shift as a response copper. I’d just finished my classroom based training, I was a much younger man and I had no real idea about real life. And that exact thing happened. The end bit at least. In my case an elderly gentleman (not called Stan!) had woken in the night to find his wife of sixty-two years deceased next to him. He did what he could but he knew. He knew she was gone. Because he felt that part of him had gone too. He called the police and I turned up. The man seemed calm, but I know now it was shock. He told me how they met at a barn dance, how he was shy and she took hold of him and moved his hand onto her hip. He told me that he knew in that instant that he would love her forever. And then he stopped talking and his whole body sagged. He leant forward and then he looked up at me with those eyes and he said that line: What do I do now?
That man broke my heart that night. Nearly eleven years later and I can still see his face as clear as if he was still stood in front of me. How do you answer that? You can’t. No one can. But I learnt that night that being a police officer is so much more than arresting bad people for doing bad things. We cried together, me and that old fella. And we both meant it.
Stan then was the inspiration and I started with him. Writing a George Elms novel is never actually about George Elms; for me at least. I always come up with general outlines or characters away from him and then slot him in to drive the story on. This makes sense to me as I’ve come to know him so well that I know I can put him in any given situation, give him any role in any plot and I will know his dialogue, his movements and more importantly; his flaws. Of which there are many!
Stan was that starting point. The first linchpin. The second thing I had from the start was the lift scene. Although it was a general idea to start with and I had no idea where it might fit in, but I knew it had to feature. I don’t want to include a spoiler, but in that lift I was trying to create a scene where readers were looking in on a moment in time with total knowledge of everyone and everything, but the characters involved only knew bits. I wanted some tension between the characters, but more importantly I wanted all the tension to be on the reader. Because they knew and they could do nothing about it.
When I write a story I only really want one thing – I want people to feel something. Sometimes I want people to be upset, sometimes angry, sometimes excited or elated – but just something. I think that’s what good fiction is about. I have been contacted by readers giving feedback for previous books and they have said they have been shouting at the book, or talking out loud to the characters, telling them what they should do – that’s when you know you’ve done something right! The lift scene was designed to be one of those moments. It was the one I spent the most time on and I was pleased with result in the end. Whether it has that impact on readers I won’t ever know for sure, but the story was built around that scene and when I read it back I thought we got it about right.
Those were the two starting points and it made sense for me to talk about them. I hope this was an interesting insight and I sincerely hope you enjoy Then She Ran. But more important than anything I hope it makes you feel something. Even if it is just rage at wasting 99p!
And maybe we should learn from Stan. We should cherish our loved ones and not take them for granted. And be lovely to each other.
Thanks so much for reading the books.
by Charlie Gallagher @gloriouscharlie
THEN SHE RAN by Charlie Gallagher
Discover a gripping crime thriller which will have you gripped from the explosive beginning to one of the most surprising endings of the year.
On a lazy Sunday morning Jenny Harris is shaken awake by her panic-stricken boyfriend, Joseph. Their baby daughter lies asleep on her chest. ‘We’ve got to go!’ Joseph screams.
In their hotel room, Jenny hurriedly wraps her tiny baby up. All their belongings are left behind. There’s no time. Joseph’s panic is contagious.
Jenny sprints with her family from the hotel. And it’s clear that they are being chased. Their pursuers are indiscriminate and they are deadly. Her boyfriend falls, caught up in the carnage, but he manages to give her one last message: RUN!’
Detective George Elms is investigating a separate crime: an elderly woman shot in the stomach during a robbery gone wrong. She is left for her dead in her country kitchen where she stood firm against violent thieves.
What’s the link between the two incidents? And who will do anything to silence Jenny forever?
George’s only option is to make ground on both cases. And he must move fast. Because everyone is in deadly danger and time is running out.
ALSO BY CHARLIE GALLAGHER
LANGTHORNE POLICE SERIES
Book 1: BODILY HARM
Book 2: PANIC BUTTON
Book 3: BLOOD MONEY
Book 4: END GAME
Charlie Gallagher has been a serving UK police officer for ten years. During that time he has had many roles, starting as a front-line response officer, then a member of a specialist tactical team and is currently a detective investigating serious offences.