You’re making that face right now, the incredulous one that says: yeah, I kinda think we get that by now, fella.
But wait, I haven’t finished. We like crime fiction, but we also like a bit of the supernatural. The kind of stuff you can’t explain. Hell, when we were young we collected that magazine, The Unexplained, and we put them in the binders and everything.
Caroline Mitchell’s Don’t Turn Around, the first in her series about DC Jennifer Knight delivers up more than a splash of the paranormal. Mitchell’s protag receives a personal message from behind the grave, which leads her on a hunt for a fiendish killer.
Caroline is a detective who lives with her husband and children in a pretty village on the coast of Essex and it was her own encounter with an unexplained force that inspired the series. The Twitterverse is abuzz with Don’t Turn Around, which is published by Bookoutre, so I’m delighted to say that Caroline is here to give us the intel on her life as a police officer, a writer — and her own life-changing experience of The Other Side.
Tell us about Jennifer Knight…
I knew when I set out to write the triology that I would need a detective capable of coping with everything I was going to throw at her. Jennifer Knight is devoted to her family, and passionate about her job. But her difficult past is hard to escape and soon catches up with her.
What was the inspiration for Don’t Turn Around?
I work as a full time police officer so it was a bit of a no brainer for me to write crime. I liked being able to lead my readers into a custody block and having them with DC Knight as she conducted a police interview. My own experiences with the paranormal also came into play, so it really was a case of writing what you know on both counts. The character Frank Foster came to me one sleepless night and refused to go away.
There’s a paranormal vibe to the story – is that an aspect that will continue in the series?
Definitely. It will never overshadow the crime aspect, but it will add a spooky edge to the story. I’ve had several bloggers say it was not a mix they had ever considered before, but now I have them hooked. I think it’s because I’ve been able to keep it pretty real without getting too carried away, so it’s something people can relate to.
Where to start? I was at work one day as normal when my husband called me to say all hell was breaking loose in our home as crockery was smashed, growls were coming from thin air, and knives and cutlery were being thrown. It was the beginning of what would be years of paranormal occurrences in our ordinary village home. Over thirty people witnessed the activity, including police and many other professionals. I wrote a book on our experiences, not expecting many people to buy it. Paranormal Intruder became a best seller, and I receive contact from ordinary people every week who have also experienced paranormal incidents in their home.
What was your journey to publication?
I self published Paranormal Intruder and as it worked out quite well, I was all set to do it again for my DC Knight series. I tried a couple of publishers but there was something about Bookouture I liked. I applied to them online, and after several weeks, exciting emails and a lovely meeting with their editor, I was signed in a three book deal.
What’s the hardest lesson you ever had to learn about writing?
Writing my true story was very harrowing and I did not expect that. I thought I could just get the words down on paper, but it doesn’t work like that. Each chapter made me relive the experience all over again and there were times I had to put the manuscript for Paranormal Intruder away. I really enjoyed writing Don’t Turn Around as it was fiction, and although I infused my experiences of the police and paranormal, it was happening to Jennifer Knight, not me, so I could enjoy the thrill without the sleepless nights!
Who are the authors you admire, and why?
I worship Stephen King. He is the master in my eyes. I love the way each of his books takes me on a journey. I’m also becoming aquainted to many of the UK’s current crime writers and of course my fellow Bookouture authors are fab too! I just wish I had more time to read them all.
Give me some advice about writing…
Persevere. Even if you are writing rubbish, just get your bum in the chair and write. Sometimes it’s only by getting pen onto paper that the creative juices start to flow.
What’s next for you?
I’ve just finished writing book two and am submitting it for edits. After that, I’m starting book three. I’ve also got the idea for a great straight crime series in my head, all I need is the time to write it!