Words can’t explain how thrilled, excited and PROUD I am to have Bob and Carol Bridgestock, the husband and wife writing team of the infamous DI Dylan series of Crime Thrillers! They are here to share their journey into the publishing world drawing from their own Real Life Experiences and some exciting news on their new book(s) that you don’t want to miss! Without much delay, I am leaving the rest of the space to the brilliant article written by Carol herself. Enjoy peeps!! If you have enjoyed reading it (which I am sure you will), then do not forget to share it!
God works in mysterious ways, as Bob and I know only too well… Writing a book was never on our ‘bucket list’ – never mind writing a series of crime books, together!
As a husband and wife team we notched up 47 years working for West Yorkshire Police, the fourth largest police force in the UK. Bob retired in 2003 at the rank of Detective Superintendent and the same day I too walked away from my desk at the station. The day after, we moved to the Isle of Wight, a place where we had holidayed for over ten years. The plan was to have a life of peace and tranquility, away from all things police related, or so we thought.
In the last three years of his thirty-year career Bob took charge of twenty-six murder enquiries, twenty-three major incidents and over fifty suspicious deaths, as well as numerous sexual assaults; to cap it all he was an on-call negotiator for suicide intervention, hostage negotiation, terrorism and firearms incidents.
How did he know how many enquiries he led in the latter part of his career? Because the government introduced the need for statistics. Why? Well, that’s one of the questions that readers of the DI Dylan series get answered when we unmask the real detective – in our fictional stories.
I, on the other hand worked in the admin department for seventeen years – seeing man’s inhumanity to man from the safety of my office but also feeling the frustration of the partner of the man in charge of the latest high-profile investigation that had just broken. The children and I were often abandoned in all sorts of places including at family gatherings, in supermarkets, restaurants, cinemas and even on holiday when the unforgiving bleeper summoned him – Bob the puppet to the police puppeteer. Did I ever want to take the batteries out? Too right I did.
Why would anyone put up with being married to someone who lived for the job? Need you ask? Not just because of what that job was, but because I loved him and I also knew that if, God forbid, I was ever a victim of serious crime there was no other man that I would want more in my corner than Bob Bridgestock; his twenty-six commendations from high-court judges and chief constables for a job well done confirm I’m not the only one who is glad to have him by my side, fighting my corner.
Bob and I had put pen to paper after, oddly enough, giving a talk to the volunteers at the local hospice… Then we answered an advert for a short writing course at the local college and, in 2007, our first novel was completed.
‘Fumbling around’, with only the Writers’ & Artists’ Yearbook to help us, we sent, as advised, a letter to an agent along with a three-sentence synopsis, a one-page synopsis and the first three chapters of Deadly Focus. A couple of months later we received a nice letter – she liked it, but it wasn’t for her… We know now, because we have met and worked with her several times, that she was being honest: she did like it, but she didn’t think she could ‘place it’. Anyone who knows us, knows we aren’t quitters. We researched publishers who were accepting submissions (of which there were very few, especially an unsolicited submission) and, adhering to guidelines, we submitted the works. Again, we received encouraging feedback, but no bite. In the end we decided to self-publish Deadly Focus, which has since become the first of 9 books in the DI Jack Dylan series. It was either publish it ourselves, we decided, or it would remain on the top of the wardrobe with the old family photos forever. Here is where fate lent its first hand. After giving a few copies to family and friends, we gave the remaining books to three hospices to sell in the hope they might raise a ‘bob or two’. We backed this up with talks, when asked, and lo and behold these books sold out in no time at all, and the readers were asking for the next.
Bob and I had enjoyed the experience of writing a book together – Bob writes the crime story from start to finish, the skeleton, and then I put the ‘flesh on the bones’ with the backstory of the victim and what has become a second thread: DI Dylan and Jen’s family saga.
Consequences was born soon after. One thousand, five hundred copies of the original Deadly Focus sold out pretty quickly and we had gained quite a bit of media attention during that time. Readers, police colleagues and other emergency-service personnel gave us feedback way beyond our dreams. They loved that we told the story ‘as it is’ – there are no James Bond antics or unrealistic endings – and, the media were intrigued to see where the second book would take us. We found a London agent, who didn’t take us on at that time, but she did give us advice. Relatively quickly, we found a small publisher who loved the books as much as we enjoyed writing them. And over the next few years eight titles were published with Caffeine Nights.
Fate took a hand again during the launching of White Lilies (our 3rd book in the Dylan series) when we were interviewed by a local Halifax reporter, Victoria Mason. At the Courier offices in Halifax she told us she had just interviewed script writer Sally Wainwright. As it happened, I attended Sowerby Bridge Grammar School, as did Sally, but she is a few years younger than me, so our paths had never crossed. Within a few days Sally was on the phone asking if we’d meet her and the team at Red Productions. Our part in the BAFTA winning BBC series Happy Valley was established. From this working relationship we were also asked to work on ITV’s award-winning Scott & Bailey series 4 and became consultants to Red Productions for other work. Because of the contracts for this we needed a literary agent and, until her agency closed on the 31st March 2015, Brie Burkeman picked up whence we had left her, after giving us advice with Consequences.
In 2015 we were voted #8 in the WHSmith readers’ poll of crime-fiction writers. The same year we were honoured to be recognised in the hall of fame by the team in America who write/publish the second most famous fictional detective,
Dick Tracy. Surreal.
We pride ourselves on being up-to-date with both past and present UK police procedures and, as a result, Bob is regularly sought by UK television, radio and national and local newspapers for comment on developing major crime incidents.
Our journey so far has been exciting and taken us into the world of TV and film but negotiations, rights, contracts, need expertise and knowledge. So, with a TV option by The Gate Films secured in March 2015, we knew we couldn’t manage without another literary agent, but to find the perfect agent for us, the question was, what did we really want/need from a literary agent?
We know what a literary agent’s job description says. He/she sits between an author and a publisher. They handle the business side of things. They know the market. But to us a literary agent has to be so much more. We need someone who is friendly, honest and highly experienced – we, after all, were only eight years into this writing game. We needed someone who would look after us, nurture us, help us move forward. We wanted someone who loved our work, and characters as much as we love writing about them, because they live in our hearts and our heads as well as in the eyes of our readership.
David H. Headley is a first-class agent. We know from those who work with him, and for him, that he is an extremely hard-working, genuine and reliable kinda guy. Others told us that no one knows the book trade better than David. Now, that’s exactly what we want from an agent! He’s also a Yorkshireman by birth…
We were ‘proud as punch’ to be signed by David at DHH Literary Agency Ltd. Not only is he a literary agent, but he is also the managing director of Goldsboro Books in London. They specialise in signed books and first editions and when the likes of Lee Child, Bernard Cornwell and William Boyd talk about Goldsboro Books as being their favourite London bookstore you know that it’s something very special…
So, our writing journey continues and we have great news! David has secured the publication of a new novel in the Dylan series by the much acclaimed The Dome Press, and revised editions of earlier books in the DI Jack Dylan series are presently lining up to be released.
Deadly Focus: Ebook out now – Paperback 3rd January 2019
Consequences: Publication date – 17th January 2019
White Lilies: Publication date – 31st January 2019
Our NEW title – which is the prequel to the DI Jack Dylan series and is called Poetic Justice – will be published on 28th February 2019.
All the books can be preordered now.
Sometimes, religious or not, we feel the need to look up to the sky and thank God. I know Bob did in his line of work in the police force, when great police work, hard graft and determination wasn’t catching the perpetrator of the crime, but a lucky find/encounter did. Today Bob and I look up to the sky regularly and thank him for finding us a great agent and we are looking forward to a long and happy career with David, Rebecca and Emily at The Dome Press.
If you’re interested in seeing more of our radio and television work, here are some links:
We were featured on Radio 4 (Steve) PUNT P.I. The Mysterious Death of Flying Millionaire Alfred Loewenstein series 7 Episode Here’s the link: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b0495dsf
CBS Reality – Written in Blood – Link – https://player.fm/series/written-in-blood/written-in-blood-rc-bridgestock
I can’t thank you enough, Carol for readily agreeing to do a piece and this brilliant article is just what we fans crave for! You’re such a sweetheart and I can’t wait to read the prequel to the DI Jack Dylan series – Poetic Justice! There is going to be a massive Virtual Tour organized by The Dome Press and I am so excited to be a part of it!! I KNOW right! What did I do to get so lucky!!! The books are open for Pre-orders and I can’t wait for y’all to read it and enjoy as much as I do!
I am also hoping to discuss with the Authors more about these brilliant Crime Thrillers close to their release, so watch this space! I hope you had an interesting time reading this. Have a lovely day, my dear readers. xx
Wonderful interview and so interesting. They are a fab couple and their books are really engrossing and the characters real and believable. Gripping writing.
Thanks Jane! Yours will the next big thing! ❤️