copyright Odette Rigby, 2013
Hello - glad you've made it this far and thanks for taking an interest in the site. If you're interested in knowing a little more about me here's some background on who I am and how I came to be writing crime novels.
A very short history
I was born in Leeds, Yorkshire in 1955 and brought up in St Helens - which was in Lancashire at the time. I wasn't exactly the arty type, but as a kid I did read a lot and by the time I was a teenager I was gripped by crime fiction as much as anything. I tend to read pretty widely but crime and mystery have always been amongst my favourites: it's no coincidence that the oldest book on my bookshelf - or at least the one I've had the longest - is a rather battered Father Brown in that iconic 50s Penguin green paperback cover. I borrowed it off my father in 1968 and never got round to returning it. I was last reading it only in mid-2012.
For me Father Brown is the archetypal detective - but it's an indication of the breadth of the crime fiction genre that in fact there is no single archetype but a whole bunch of characters who each define their own sub-genre. What would Chesterton have made of Philip Marlowe, I wonder, or Harry Bosch or Rebus? We can only speculate, but what I do know is that we can appreciate and learn from all of the fictional detective heroes.
My own creation, Eddie Flynn, is as different from Father Brown as you could imagine, but gut feeling tells me that Flynn read every one of the Father Brown mysteries as a kid. But we're digressing..
Back to the subject...
Like everyone, I needed to earn a living to pay for all those books I was reading. I had a mechanical and scientific bent so I opted for engineering as a career. I took a technology degree at Loughborough University and later registered as a chartered engineer. After a couple of decades of hands-on engineering and management in the aerospace sector I moved into consultancy on technology projects.
Travelling around, as still I do at times, has always given me plenty of time to indulge my reading habit. So here I am, three decades on, with bookshelves now in need of serious reinforcement, not least the section where I stack my crime books.
I still live in Lancashire but a little further north - on the banks of the River Ribble: I've lived in Lytham St Annes for the last thirty five years bar periods elsewhere in the UK and Europe. Now whenever I'm not consulting or writing I'm privileged to have a truly inspiring view over the Ribble estuary to distract me. I'm also privileged to have a dog who loves the horizontal rain that comes with West Coast estuaries and tends to be there more than the nice view.
So what's with the writing?
With no previous active involvement in the world of literature or the arts you might wonder how I came to switch from reading crime to writing it.
Well, maybe the same way as most new writers, through a love of reading. Maybe the bug gets to you - you go from enjoying a particular fiction genre to wishing there was more of exactly what you enjoy most, to wondering if it's as easy to write as those best-selling authors make out ( it isn't ! ).
Eventually, driven more by curiosity than hope, you fire
up the word processor and give it a try. Maybe you get lucky and someone likes what comes out. Otherwise you just try again and again. What you realise is that writing can be as much fun as reading. Well... that's how it happened for me. In my case, the specific interest came in the form of a winner's cheque for my entry in Moth Publishing's 2011 Northern Crime competition. And something much more exciting along with it: a two-book publishing contract.
It's not who you are...
It can happen as fast as that: an agent or a publisher takes an interest in your work and suddenly you're in the game and your background no longer matters. Not that it ever did. My own favourite authors include tramps and itinerant seamen (Jack London), insurance assessors (Franz Kafka), teachers (Evelyn Waugh) and failed undertakers (Stuart MacBride). Even a degree in English Literature and a background in creative writing might not debar you from making it into print!
It's all down to what comes out on the page when you bash away at that keyboard.
So I was lucky and got that break. A publisher decided take a risk on me and my first book. I hope it's a book that readers enjoy. I'm not fool enough to imagine that I've turned out a literary masterpiece. That's not what it's about. All I hope is that people enjoy reading Eddie Flynn the way I've enjoyed following all those other fictional detectives over the years. That will be good enough for me.
So that's a little on me and why I started writing crime. The rest is now up to the readers...