The last, but certainly not least of our authors this month, Charlotte Barnes share news of her latest books.
When did you start writing, and why?
It feels a bit fanciful to say it, but I feel like I’ve always written. Mum takes great pleasure in rolling out books that were stapled together by yours truly – written and illustrated by my own fair hand too. I remember always loving the telling; to be gifted the experience of hearing a good story. I think that created a real drive in me from quite a young age. I wanted to give something similar to people. I’ve no idea whether I’ve reached that point yet or not, but either way I still feel that drive, to create the feelings, the entertainment, to give people something to take away. Granted, young-Charley wasn’t as big on crime fiction as adult-Charley, but tastes change!
Which do you like to write, series or standalones? If you write both, what do you find the difference?
I have written both and I’ve loved writing both, so this is a great question! For the series – that is, The Copycat, The Watcher, and The Cutter – I think I created some real ties with those characters, because I came back to them so often. I was invested in what was happening to them, around them, even what might have happened to them off-screen – or rather, in the time between books. Whereas, with a standalone, my works in that area have been, at least to me, much more grizzly. Rather than juggling many characters and caring about them all equally, standalones (especially when they’re written as first-person voices) require a real mental investment to make sure you get the character just so, and that you can hold them that way for the length of your book.
Is there anything you wouldn’t write about?
Not much, but certainly some things. I find it very difficult to read fiction – well, crime fiction, that is – that deals with children, anything below the age of around thirteen. It’s always been a troublesome area for me to navigate as a reader and, because of that, I’m not even sure I could attempt writing about it without pushing my boundaries a little too far. I’ll stick to the other crimes!
Who is your favourite of your characters, why and in which books do they appear?
Gillian – and I have to say that because she scares even me! Gillian is the narrative voice in Intention, which is the first psychological thriller I had published with Bloodhound Books. She steers the first novel that I’ve ever really carried through to its end. She’s vicious, unknowingly so, and curious in terrifying ways, and to this day I’m exceptionally proud of things she does, and ways she behaves, in that novel.
Who is your least favourite of your characters, why and in which books do they appear?
There is a pesky journalist who crops up for the first time in The Copycat; Heather, her name is. I originally introduced her to be a bit of a pain during an interview, which she was. But then the DI Watton series continued, into The Watcher and The Cutter, and despite my dislike of her I did always find a place for her – to add a bit of drama, I think! Although she always pokes holes in my other characters.
Tell us about your last book…
The Watcher is the middle DI Melanie Watton novel, but it can easily be read as a standalone piece too. A video surfaces in the local area that looks to show a man being murdered. Watton and her team first have to verify the video is what it looks like, then they have to hunt a killer without having a murder, a crime scene, or even a victim.
But when other snuff films start to surface, it becomes clear the killer is more experienced than anyone first thought…
What’s coming next…
The Cutter is the third and final DI Melanie Watton novel, coming on March 15th. In this final book, things get personal. A taxidermist is murdered and his studio robbed of various structures and projects. But soon these stolen items start to appear at other crime scenes – with messages attached.
The team knows that one of them is being targeted. But the who and the why are yet to be discovered…
Anything else you want to share?
The Cutter is one of three novels that I have coming out with Bloodhound Books this year. The other two, though, are standalone psychological thrillers, which I’m very excited about! All I See Is You will arrive in May 2021 and Sincerely, Yours will arrive in September.
Charlotte ‘Charley’ Barnes is an author and academic from the West Midlands, UK. She is a Lecturer at the University of Wolverhampton, where she teaches Creative and Professional Writing, and she is also the Director of Sabotage Reviews and the Editor of Dear Reader. Charley writes crime under the name of Charlotte, but also publishes poetry as Charley Barnes.
Thanks Charlotte, lovely to hear from you and best of luck with everything
Well folks, that’s it from the February Blog Run, 28 excellent authors sharing their stories with us. Thanks to each and every one of them and to you for reading.