Interview with Val Penny by Sarah Davis

I am pleased to be able to share the interview between me and fellow author Sarah Davis. You can find it on her website https://www.sarahdavisauthor.com/post/an-interview-with-val-penny or below.

An Interview with Val Penny

You’ve heard me say it before…since joining Darkstroke Books, I’ve met many fantastic authors. Today I have the pleasure to interview Val Penny, an American author in Scotland, on the release of her latest novel, Hunter’s Secret. There is a certain joy in asking an author about their writing process and learning a little of what fuels their creativity. I’ll admit I am a bit star-struck every time I get a chance to talk with other authors.

Val’s crime novels, Hunter’s Chase ~ Hunter’s Revenge ~ Hunter’s Force ~ Hunter’s Blood ~ Hunter’s Secret, form the bestselling series The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries. They are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, and are published by Darkstroke Books. She also self-published her first non-fiction book, Let’s Get Published.

Having only started the series, I can tell you that the witty dialogue, fast pace and action drew me in immediately. You know there are some books that ease a person into the story. Not Val’s tales. With an intense plot and murder mystery, it’s no wonder “bestseller” is stamped on her work.

Welcome, Val Penny!

Val: Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog, Sarah. I am really pleased to have a chance to chat with you about my new novel, Hunter’s Secret.

Congratulations on the new release! I’m very excited for you. I remember how anxious and nervous I was on the release date of my debut novel, Inside Voices. How are you feeling today? And how do you keep yourself calm on a release day?

Val: I am always excited on release day, but also somewhat incredulous to realise – I wrote a book and now I can share it with the world. You can understand that keeping calm on my launch day is not realistic for me.

Was writing something you trained for or did it start as a hobby?

Val: I have written all my life and my first published pieces were poems in anthologies. Prior to that, in my career, I wrote mostly professional and academic pieces. However, a few years ago, when I was suffering from cancer, the only thing I had the energy to do was read. (Day time television got very old very fast!) As I felt a little better, I began to review the books I read. Then, as I improved still more and drove my husband mad, he suggested that if I knew so much about what made a good book, I should write one. Thus, Hunter’s Chase was born.

So driving the hubby bonkers was a good thing! Can you tell me about your writing routine?

Val: I prefer to write in the afternoon and evening, so I tend to answer e-mails, write blog posts and work on social media in the morning and work on writing my novels after lunch.

Val Penny 2

Do you have a favorite book that you would read more than once?

Val: I rarely read books more than once as there are so many good books still to read. However, at the beginning of lockdown, I did treat myself to a re-read of The Suspects by one of my favourite authors, Katherine Johnson. She is a fabulous writer and it is no surprise that her books are all best-sellers.

The Suspects is an excellent book, I agree! It’s a lot-o-bit of a rollercoaster of who-done-it!

Tell us about your writing process. Do you write full-time?

Val: I do, yes. I took early retirement when I had cancer and that gives me the time and space to spend my time as I see fit. I do a little tutoring of English and gives lectures on aspects of writing, but predominantly, I write.

Has the writing process changed or shortened from your first novel, Hunter’s Chase (2017), to today’s release of Hunter’s Secret?

Val: I was still extremely ill when I wrote Hunter’s Chase, so I wrote it in fits and starts when I was well enough to do so. As a result of that, my first novel too me two and a half years to write. Now that I am well and a bit more experienced, from start to finish, a book usually takes about eight to nine months.

That is amazing! What do you do to relax? Do you have hobbies or favorite vacation sites?

Val: I enjoy swimming, walking, knitting and reading. I also like to spend time with family and friends and often do that over drinks or a meal, when social distancing allows. My big budget relaxations are travel, (I am an American living in the UK so I like to go home regularly) and my little granddaughter.

What do you feel is the hardest part in the writing process?

Val: Editing. I hate editing. It is vital and must be done carefully and repeatedly to perfect the manuscript, but by the time it is finished, I am always sick of the sight of the novel I am working on.

If there is one thing you can tell yourself when you started, what would it be?

Val: False modesty will not sell books!

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Val: I am so lucky to have been nurtured and mentored on my writing journey by several of my favourite authors including Karen Campbell, Simon Hall, Michael Jecks, Erin Kelly and Peter Robinson. Amongst other authors whose books I look out for are Rose McClelland, Joan Livingston and Linwood Barclay.

How much time did you spend on research for the Edinburgh Crime Mysteries?

Val: The things I tend to research are methods of murdering people, how long it takes to die and how fast bodies decompose in different circumstances. I very much hope nobody ever checks my computer history!

I hear you there. Never a good thing to do research in a crowded room or on a plane. Might give the wrong impression!

Do you work with an outline or do you know where your characters need to be by the end and write until you get there?

Val: I always have an outline and I usually write that in a notebook detailing the characters and actions that will take place in each chapter. However, I draft the novel on my laptop. It is easier to make changes electronically.

Have your characters ever acted in surprising ways and not according to how you developed their character traits?

Val: Indeed, they have! In Hunter’s Secret, I had no idea that Les was a cross dresser until Jamie saw him in the window!

Oh my! Why was she looking through the window? Wait…don’t tell me. I’ll read to find out.

Thank you so very much for answering my questions. We all wish you the very best of luck!!

Val: Thanks for having me to visit, Sarah. I appreciate your support and good wishes.

Interview between Val Penny and Deborah Miles

Thank you, Val, for taking the time to join to answer a few questions for us. We wish you well with Hunter’s Secret and I look forward to starting this series from the beginning soon!

What inspired you to write The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries?

Hi Deborah, thank you for having me to visit your blog today. I started writing Hunter’s Chase, the first novel in The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries, while I was being treated for cancer. I was too exhausted and vulnerable to undertake my usual interests of travelling, swimming or walking, so I read even more books than usual and reviewed them to my blog, www.bookreviewstoday.info . Then, as I got a little better, my husband suggested I try my hand at writing a book and Hunter’s Chase was born.

Who is your favourite character in Hunter’s Blood and why?

Andy RobertsFor me the most interesting character in Hunter’s Blood is Andy Roberts. I ran a competition for a fan to have their name used in the novel and it was won by Andy Roberts. When I saw his name, I was thrilled. I had used the name Florence Roberts for one of the witnesses in Hunter’s Revenge. It was a complete co-incidence, but I was able to give Andy an imaginary grandmother in Hunter’s Blood because of this.

 

What was the first story you had published?

The first story I had published was called The Green Dress. It was about a new designer dress stolen from a charity shop and told from three different points of view. It was published in a quarterly publication which has since closed. I don’t think my story was the cause of that!

Do you have another story planned or in progress? When can we expect to see that?

I am working on a non-fiction book: Let’s Get Published. It will be published in April. However, my next novel, Hunter’s Secret, will be published in August. It will be the fifth book in my series, The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries.

Who is your favourite author?

I enjoy the works of many different authors. However, the three authors who have never erin kellylet me down are Erin Kelly. Her novels The Poison Tree and He Said/She Said are excellent. Amit Dhand is a fine author whose novels are set in Bradford. I love the problems he creates for his protagonist, DCI Harry Virdee. However, my favourite novels for 2018 and 2019 were The Secret and The Suspects. Both were written by the English author Katharine Johnson. She writes gripping books.

Which writers have influenced you?

simon hallI have been most fortunate to have been mentored by some marvellous writers. The three who have assisted me most fundamentally are Peter Robinson, whose DCI Banks series is a joy to read. Simon Hall, who writes the TV Detective series of novels, set in the south-west of England. The other author who guided me through the early stages of my writing career was the Scottish author, Karen Campbell. Her Anna Cameron novels form a clever story arc.

What do you like to do when you’re not planning or writing your next book?

I am a very creative person and enjoy knitting, cooking and beading. However, my favourite things to do are to travel, visit my family and walk on the beach. Often, I am planning my next book while I am doing any of these things.

When did you know you wanted to write crime novels?

I have always enjoyed reading crime fiction, so it seemed sensible to try to write the genre I enjoy reading.

Do you write novels in other genres?

I have not written in any other genre yet, but there is a part of Edinburgh called Hunter’s Tryst. I think I might write a romantic prequel to my series, The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries.

Hunter's Blood cover

What do you like most about being an author?

As an author it is most fun to be able to share my stories with readers and communicate with those who have enjoyed my books.

Do you have a specific routine for writing? Is there a special place or particular tool you use?

I usually write in the afternoons and evenings. I have never been a morning person and writing has not changed that! I make my notes in a big read note book, but I draft on the computer.

What advice do you have for other crime writers?

Enjoy your writing.

Do not make your plots too complicated.

Persevere.

Edinburgh Crime Mysteries 4

What advice do you have for other independently published authors?

Enjoy your writing

Edit your work.

Be honest with yourself.

If your book were to be made into an Audiobook, who would you choose to read it?

I plan to have Hunter’s Chase produced as an audio book this year. Ideally, I would like David Tennant to read it. But, realistically, it should be read by a Scottish man with an Edinburgh accent because the books are set in Edinburgh.

If your book were to be made into a movie, who would you like to play Hunter?

It would be fun to see Ewan McGregor play Hunter with Chris Hemsworth as Tim and, perhaps Jonno Davies as Jamie. But they would all have to train to speak with Edinburgh accents.

Val Penny 2

Mai’s Musings Reviews Hunter’s Secret

Thank you so much to Mai’s Musings @maitaylor01 for the amazing review of  the fifth book in The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries during the blog tour run by @rararesources . You can read it here: https://maitaylor567291325.wordpress.com/category/book-review/ or below.

Hunter's Secret larger

 

Having read all of The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries so far, I have always found Hunter Wilson to be something of an enigma, much more difficult to fathom than the rest of the characters. Discovering more about Hunter’s past in this fifth book, and witnessing his first encounter with both a dead body and the police, explains both a lot about the man he became and about the animosity between him and Myerscough (old Myerscough that is, not young Myerscough who I will confess to having a bit of a crush on). It was interesting to see a more vulnerable side to Hunter, and see beneath the tough exterior that he presents to the outside world.

As ever I was delighted to see the return of Jamie and Frankie. I love their dynamic, and hunter's secrettheir efforts to remain on the straight and narrow (ish) always add some light relief to the story. The second Jamie was spotted on his “walk” you just knew that the hapless cousins were about to find themselves right in the middle of something big again.

The motivation behind the perpetrator’s crimes in this book is shocking, and whilst I had my suspicions about who was behind the mysterious missing bodies, the reasons for their actions came as a surprise to me.

The character relations on both sides of the law are as incestuous as ever in a way that always make Val’s books feel like returning to a familiar community. It is these relationships that draw me back to each new book as it is released.

Themes of Hunter’s Secret by Jo Fenton

Edinburgh Crime Mysteries 4

As we start a new series of Thursday Themes, I’m delighted to kick off by welcoming back a favourite guest.

Val Penny joins me today to discuss the themes of her latest novel in the Hunter series – Hunter’s Secret.

Hunter's Secret larger

Thank you so much for inviting me to your blog today. I am so excited about the publication of my fifth novel, Hunter’s Secret. It is the most recent book in my Edinburgh Crime Mysteries series.

In the themes of Hunter’s Secret, I seek to explore the affect that keeping secrets has on individuals and the way some people treat those who are different to themselves. One of the common myths about a story’s theme is that it must also be the story’s “moral” or “message.” This is because themes always deal with fundamental truths that inevitably affect human morality, therefore it is easy to assume a story’s theme must always be specific and applicable to the readers.

This is not necessarily a false assumption. The themes are about raising questions and suggesting answers that make people think about how to live their lives more honestly and, perhaps even, morally. Throughout the series The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries explores the loyalty of main character, Hunter Wilson, and how he values being part of a team.

In this novel I am keen to explore the mental health aspects of keeping a secret. Hunter has a secret that he has kept to himself since he was a child. When he must confront it due to a modern murder, he relives his nightmares over and over. The reader lives through the issues this creates for Hunter and witnesses the resolution. Hunter is also keeping a modern-day secret from his girlfriend Meera. The predicaments Hunter experiences in relation to this secret are quite different.vickys-edinburgh-1

The other main theme of the novel is the old one of ‘do as you would be done by’. Some of the characters display prejudice towards those who are different to themselves. The reader witnesses this in the way Bear Zewedu is treated by them because he is black. Another character is mistreated because he enjoys cross dressing, and yet more are abused because the are members of the LGBTQ community.

Hunter must strive to resolve his own demons while he and his team fight for the rights of those who are despised because they wish to be different. Hunter and his team must keep Edinburgh safe again.

 

About the Author:

Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However, she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels.

Her crime novels, Hunter’s Chase Hunter’s Revenge, Hunter’s Force and Hunter’s Blood form the bestselling series The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries. They are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by darkstroke This, the fifth novel in the series, is also published by darkstroke. Her first non-fiction book Let’s Get Published is available now.

Val Penny 2 (1)

Social media:

www.authorvalpenny.com

http://www.bookreviewstoday.info

http://www.facebook.com/valerie.penny.739

http://www.facebook.com/groups/296295777444303

https://twitter.com/valeriepenny

 

Amazon buy links:

myBook.to/HuntersChase

myBook.to/HuntersRevenge

mybook.to/huntersforce

https://mybook.to/huntersblood

https://mybook.to/hunterssecret

https://bit.ly/LetsGetPublished

Hunter’s Secret by Lorraine Mace

Hunter’s Secret is the fifth novel in The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries series. The readers have come to trust Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson, but in this book, it is clear that he is holding something back and hiding it from his partner Dr. Meera Sharma. It seems out of character but perhaps his feelings towards her have changed.

hunter's secretWhen Hunter is called to the scene of a murder, all is not as it seems.  Two members of his team, DCs Tim Myerscough and Bear Zewedu found a corpse when they were training in an Edinburgh Park, but when Hunter arrives the body has disappeared.

Hunter recalls the disappearance of a body thirty years earlier. The Major Incident Team is called in but their officer in charge sees no connection. He thinks the earlier murder was too long ago for a connection to be made. However, Hunter is determined to investigate the past and the present with the benefit of modern DNA testing.vickys-edinburgh-1

Tim has other problems in his life. His father, Sir Peter Myerscough, has been released from jail. He, too, remembers the earlier murder. There is no love lost between Hunter and Sir Peter but Hunter may have to accept help from his nemesis to catch a killer.

Hunter’s own secret is exciting and crucial to his future. He knows it could change his life. He also knows he must stop a murderer to keep Edinburgh safe once more.

Bio

Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However, she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories and novels.Val Penny 2

Her crime novels, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ Hunter’s Revenge, Hunter’s Force and Hunter’s Blood form the bestselling series The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries. They are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by Crooked Cat Books. The fifth novel in the series, Hunter’s Secret, is published by darkstroke. Her first non-fiction book, Let’s Get Published is available now.

Author contact details

www.authorvalpenny.com

http://www.bookreviewstoday.info

http://www.facebook.com/valerie.penny.739

 http://www.facebook.com/groups/296295777444303

https://twitter.com/valeriepenny

Author buy links

myBook.to/HuntersChase

myBook.to/HuntersRevenge

mybook.to/huntersforce

https://mybook.to/huntersblood

https://mybook.to/hunterssecret

https://bit.ly/LetsGetPublished

Praise for Hunter’s Secret

Hunter’s Secret is the fifth novel in my Edinburgh Crime Mysteries series published by darkstroke. Each Hunter's Secret largerbook can be read as a stand alone novel, or as part of the series.

In this story, the main protagonist, Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson, is called to the scene of a murder. DCs Tim Myerscough and Bear Zewedu found a corpse, but when Hunter arrives it has disappeared, and all is not as it seems.

Hunter recalls the disappearance of a dead body thirty years earlier. The Major Incident Team is called in but sees no connection – it is too long ago. Hunter is determined to investigate the past and the present with the benefit of modern DNA testing.

hunter's secretTim has other problems in his life. His father, Sir Peter Myerscough, is released from jail. He, too, remembers the earlier murder. There is no love lost between Hunter and Sir Peter but Hunter will have to accept help from his nemesis to catch this killer.

Hunter’s own secret is exciting and crucial to his future. It could change his life and despite its importance, he must keep Edinburgh safe.

 

I am thrilled that Hunter’s Secret has been so well received.

Retired DCI Stuart Gibbon, bestselling author of Being a Detective

Hunter’s Secret sees traumatic events from his past return to haunt DI Wilson. Another gripping episode in the Edinburgh crime series.

simon hall

Simon Hall Cambridge University Lecturer and bestselling author of The TV Detective series

As ever, Val Penny grips us from the first line. Hunter’s Secret dives right into the story, which is both intriguing and unsettling, and brings back the familiar characters which make us smile and frown, groan and cheer.

In short, real people, rising from the page to live real lives, in a story full of adrenaline, thrills, and surprises. Another great book from a great writer. Highly recommended.

 

Katherine Johnson bestselling author of The SuspectsKatharine Johnson

“A bold, gripping and thought-provoking rollercoaster that delves deep into Hunter’s psyche.”

 

erin kellyErin Kelly bestselling author of He Said/She Said

Val Penny is a rising star in the crime fiction genre. In this story of secrets and lies, the author delivers another gripping book in her Edinburgh Crime Mystery series.

 

Michael Jecks bestselling author of The Knights Templar MysteriesMichael Jecks

Really enjoyable romp through the seedier byways of Edinburgh, with a strong cast of police and villains. Two murders thirty years apart: a story of bigotry, deceit and intolerance, with the all-too-believable persecution of a defenceless group. A great summer read!

 

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s?k=hunter%27s+secret&i=stripbooks&ref=nb_sb_noss_2

Val Penny

Let’s Get Published review by Linda Hill

Many Thanks to Linda Hill for her review of Let’s Get Published. bit.ly/LetsGetPublished

Let's Get Published

A practical guide to getting published.

Val Penny’s Let’s Get Published is a really helpful little book that asks essential questions of an aspiring writer and then steers them to the right answers for them. She considers all aspects of writing from identifying readership and defining genre to publicity and drafting, writing a synopsis and submitting. Val Penny does not shy away from difficulties authors may face, such as being too painfully shy to promote their own books by standing in front of a large audience and delivering a speech or reading, and by raising awareness of the reader as a writer she is assisting the road to publication. There’s a piece of advice about writing a synopsis that was a complete lightbulb moment for me, but I’m not going to share it – you’ll have to read Let’s Get Published to find out what it was!

What I enjoyed most about Let’s Get Published was the way Val Penny gives gravitas and status to all forms of writing and all approaches to getting published. Times have changed and self-publication or hybrid approaches are no longer the Cinderella ways to get your book to a reader. Similarly, her use of quotations by and references to, other authors gives excellent kudos to her advice, making for an entertaining as well as informative read.

Let’s Get Published is a little cracker of a book. Eminently readable and packed with hints and tips, Val Penny has a straight-forward, no-nonsense style that creates confidence in her reader. Coupled with the excellent advice given I would heartily recommend Let’s Get Published to any aspiring author because the book is relevant to writers of any genre. I’m just plucking up the courage to send Val’s suggested questions to a beta reader. See you in print!

Linda Hill Blogger

This review first appeared in Linda’s Book Bag on 26 Jume 2020 as part of the tour run by Love Book Tours.

Let’s Get Published by Val Penny

Let’s Get Published by Val Penny

I am thrilled to announce that my first non-fiction book, Let’s Get Published, is available. I do hope it will be helpful to many people.

The Blurb

At last, a book that is easy to read and tells it how it is!

A book written to assist authors maximise their success when submitting work to agents or publishers, to help authors consider their priorities and preferences for getting work into print. To advise authors how to identify the agents and/or publishers they want to approach. It should also assist with editing their manuscript fully prior to submission. The book offers advice about how to prepare a submission package to give an author the best chance of success.

The road to becoming a successful author is not easy, but it is rewarding. Let this book take you on the journey.

Let's Get Published

The Excerpt

Many people say anybody can write a book.  Most of these individuals have never tried to write one. Alternatively, it is often said that everybody has a book inside of them. That is simply not true. This is repeated and belittles the achievements of authors.

In truth, it is a very hard thing to write a book. Most people never attempt it, fewer still succeed in getting published. But if you have written a novel, or novella, or perhaps compiled a collection of short stories, poems or flash fiction, this book may help you with the next step. It is primarily intended for authors of fiction who have completed a draft of their novel and who are now looking to prepare it for submission to agents or publishers.

Of course, it may also aid poets, short story writers and authors of non-fiction. It is designed to facilitate authors in maximising their success when submitting work to agents or publishers. It is to help authors consider their priorities and preferences for getting work into print and identify the agents and/or publishers they want to approach. It should also assist with editing their manuscript fully prior to submission and preparing their submission package to give them the best chance of success.

Writing a novel is hard work.

Completing even the first rough draft of a novel can take months or even years, particularly if you are trying to fit your writing in amongst work or other commitments. It is definitely a marathon, not a sprint and requires dedication and persistence. The American writer Richard Bach who is widely known as the author of some of the 1970s’ biggest sellers, including Jonathan Livingston Seagull once said,

‘A professional writer is an amateur who didn’t quit’.

If you have finished the first draft of your novel and, like all writers, you now want it to reach the widest possible readership. It has to be published so that other people can read your book and enjoy the fruits of your labour.

Getting your book published is likely to be even harder work than writing it. We have all heard the stories of the multiple rejections received by now best-selling authors including Kathryn Stockett who wrote The Help, also Stephen King’s bestselling novel, Carrie, was rejected over thirty times and even J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels were rejected on numerous occasions before Bloomsbury took a chance on Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone. No matter how good your book might be, to get it published you will need the same level of determination, resilience, hard work and careful planning that you harnessed to write it.

Nevertheless, there is good news. There are now more routes to publication than ever before. Even just a few years ago, the market was dominated by a small number of publishing houses, most of which refused to consider any submission that was not made by a literary agent. Then, most literary agents either had full client lists and, if they did not, they were loath to take on new or unknown authors.

This situation has changed dramatically. Of course, the major publishing houses still exist, but even their attitude to agents and new authors has mellowed. Many of them now have imprints that accept submissions direct from the author. In addition to this there is a growing number of independent publishers. Most of these accept either agented or unagented submissions. They take advantage of the comparatively low costs available when publishing and distributing e-books, in preference to or as well as often offering paperbacks, on a print on demand basis. This model allows the independent publishers to provide a more responsive and faster service both to their authors and readers.

The Link

bit.ly/LetsGetPublished

author pic 2

The Author

Val Penny is an American author living in SW Scotland. She has two adult daughters of whom she is justly proud and lives with her husband and two cats. She has a Law degree from Edinburgh University and her MSc from Napier University. She has had many jobs including hairdresser, waitress, lawyer, banker, azalea farmer and lecturer. However, she has not yet achieved either of her childhood dreams of being a ballerina or owning a candy store. Until those dreams come true, she has turned her hand to writing poetry, short stories, novels and now this work of non-fiction.

Her crime novels, ‘Hunter’s Chase’ Hunter’s Revenge, Hunter’s Force and Hunter’s Blood form the bestselling series The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries. They are set in Edinburgh, Scotland, published by darkstroke Books. The fifth novel in the series, Hunter’s Secret, is to be published by darkstroke and available to pre-order now. This book is her first work of non-fiction.

Val Penny

 

Themes in Hunter’s Blood (The Edinburgh Crime Mysteries #4)

I write novels; crime novels that fall squarely within the police procedural style of that genre. But whether you write novels, short stories, plays or poetry, with crime, romantic or historical settings, each piece of writing will carry two or three main themes.

Themes in a work of literature range from the obvious to the very subtle. Some themes are dominant while others might be easy to miss and often the various themes engage with and impact upon one another. Themes in my novels connect settings, characters, plot and dialogue. They are often communicated through the concepts and ideas that arise throughout the text story and by being voiced in the dialogue in various ways by different characters.

In my novels the themes of the text provide the means by which I can communicate my meaning to my readers. Ideas and issues that I raise in my novels may, I hope, prompt readers to consider their own beliefs and attitudes or ways of looking at the world. For example, how different people deal with illness, hospitalisation or loss. Can any of these excuse an illegal act? I may pose the questions, but the reader will provide their own answers.

Hunter's Blood cover

My new novel, Hunter’s Blood, will be published by darkstroke on 01.01.2020. In this book the main themes are loyalty, love and coping with loss.

There is loyalty shown between the members of DI Hunter Wilson’s team of detectives, between the members of Jamie Thomson’s family, and between Tim and his friends. Love is evident between Hunter and his girlfriend Meera, Hunter and his parents and Hunter and his son. Coping with loss is always difficult and it is certainly the most complex theme addressed in Hunter’s Blood. There are several characters who face the loss of someone of something they value throughout this story. However, I would not want to publish any spoilers before the novel is even published!

Hunter’s Blood is the fourth book in my Edinburgh Crime Mystery series and I very much hope all readers will enjoy it. The novel can be ordered at http://mybook.to/huntersblood 

Edinburgh Crime Mysteries 4

Slang Names for Police Officers

Detective Inspector Hunter Wilson is the main protagonist of my crime novel ‘Hunter’s Chase’ that is to be published by Crooked Cat Books on 02.02.2018. When I was writing the book, I had to consider various words that are used to describe police officers by those people in Scotland who are not members of the force.

robert peelThe oldest ones I came across were ‘bobbies’ and ‘peelers’. The metropolitan Police Force in London, England was established by Sir Robert Peel who lived from 1788-1850. He served as a member of the Conservative party and was Prime Minister of The United Kingdom twice: The first time from 1834-35 and later from 1841-1846. However, it was when he was Home Secretary (1822–1827), that he reformed and liberalised the criminal law and created the modern police force, leading to a new type of officer known in tribute to him as “bobbies” (Bobby being a contraction of his first name, Robert)  and “peelers” (an obvious corruption of his surname).

Another common slang term for police officers in Scotland is “copper”. There is a common but mistaken belief that it refers to the police uniform’s buttons or badge being made of copper, however, it was originally used in Britain to mean “someone who captures”. In British English, the term cop is recorded (Shorter Oxford Dictionary) in the sense of ‘to capture’ from 1704, derived from the Latin capere via the Old French caper. The term “copper” is often abbreviated to “cop”.

“Filth” has moved from literature to common usage in the United Kingdom. In fact it is police picturesnormally used as “The Filth”, meaning the police. The inspiration for this is the novel by Scottish author Irvine Welsh, “Filth”. Another slang term for police officers is “fuzz” or “the fuzz”. This term also found its way into art as the title of the 2009 comedy film “Hot Fuzz”. “Plod” or “the Plod” is another nickname for police officers that finds its source in British fiction. In this case, the children’s author Enid Blyton wrote stories about her character Noddy who lived in Toytown where Mr Plod was the policeman.

The phrase “the long arm of the law” is probably the source of the slang term for the police “the law”. The idea of the phrase is that no matter how far they run, all criminals are eventually caught and prosecuted successfully. Certainly, my characters DI Hunter Wilson and the members of his team are keen to ensure that this was true.

Police-Scotland pictures

“Pig” is another derogatory term for the police in common use in Scotland. It was frequently used during the 19th century but  disappeared for a while, and reappeared during the 20th and 21st century. It became frequently used again during the 1960s and 1970s in the underground and anti-establishment culture. However, in Glasgow, Scotland the term “polis” (with the emphasis on the ‘o’) is common too. As my novel ‘Hunter’s Chase’ is set in Edinburgh, I avoided that Glasgow slang.

There are certainly many slang terms and nicknames for police officers in use in Scotland, most of them are derogatory and used freely and interchangeably by those outwith the police force.

Val Penny