Tag Archives: manuscripts

Don’t Quit the Day Job: Paul Harrison

Lots of people don’t realise that although you may see work by a certain author on the bookshelves in your favourite shop, many writers still hold down a day job in addition to penning their next novel. In this series, we talk to writers about how their current – or previous – day jobs have inspired and informed their writing.

It’s my privilege to welcome Paul Harrison to the blog today to talk about how his work in the criminal justice system has influenced his writing. If Paul’s post catches your interest, drop him a tweet or look him up on Facebook

Vic x

paulblackandwhite

Thanks for inviting me to speak on the blog. For me, bloggers are one of the most influential part of being a writer these days, so I’m well chuffed to be here talking about my previous life. I’ve been called Britain’s Mindhunter by the world’s media, because of my work with serial killers. However, I much prefer to be Paul Harrison, not some media invention.

When I joined the police service back in the late 1970’s, never, did I anticipate that my working life would be so exciting and filled with mainly positives, there have been a few negatives, but I’ve learned from those. Anyone who believes the British police force is behind its global counterparts, is wrong. I have over a century of policing within the family tree, my grandfather, father, myself and currently my son have been so employed. Even my great grandfather was so employed. Back in Victorian times he was probably the first criminal profiler in history. He’d hang about with criminals and felons and draw up social profiles on the in an attempt to understand who likely victims were likely to be, then he’d sell that intelligence on to the police. He was a big writer and storyteller, so his genes have definitely been passed down to me.

My own police career lasted over three decades and I was fortunate to serve in just about all the specialised fields I aimed for: Dog Handler, Firearms Officer on Special Escort Duties, Promotion, Intelligence Officer and of course, much later, my association with the FBI and profiling. I worked hard to get where I wanted to be, and advise everyone, no matter what they are doing to follow their dreams.

I began writing during my police career, mainly true crime books but the odd football book also crept into print too. These were the days before e-books so it was traditional publishing only, it was difficult trying to sell manuscripts to publishers and hold down a regular job.  I was lucky, I guess, and managed to get seven books published during my time in the police.

When I retired from the job I went to work with the Judiciary at the Royal Courts of Justice in London. What an eye-opener that was! Seeing the criminal justice system from the other side, was shocking. Needless to say, I often questioned judgments and tariffs handed down to serious (vile) offenders. I didn’t last long, and I moved on after a couple of years. I took up work in the voluntary sector, helping child victims and survivors of sexual harm. The scale of the matter was shocking and I set up my own service, called SAM (Systematic Abuse of Males) as a signposting agency directing victims to services in their area. As a result of this I was awarded the Outstanding Individual of the Year Award for my voluntary work in this arena.

All the time I was writing, more true crime and finally I went full time, and have moved onto novels. I’m so proud to be part of the Urbane Books team and have just signed a contract with them that I hope will last several years. Of all the publishers I’ve worked with in my time as a writer, covering thirty four books, Urbane Books stand out head and shoulders above the rest for their care and attention to detail. They like great writers, but are focused on producing quality books for the reader. 

Over the years, I’ve met some of the world’s worst killers, looked evil in the eye and confronted it. Nerve wracking stuff, however, let me tell you, there’s nothing more worrying than waiting for a publisher’s response to a book submission.

Writing has been incredibly cathartic for me, as is the sense of support that runs throughout most of the crime writing community. There’s a lot more books in me yet, and my fictional detective, Will Scott (named after my grandfather) will go on to endure many more adventures.

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Review of 2016: Katheryn Womack

Today on the blog is Katheryn Womack, she’s here to review her year. Thanks for being involved, Katheryn. 

Vic x

Do you have a favourite memory professionally from 2016?
The only thing I can think of professionally is that I wrote a short science fiction story.  I have never written science fiction in my life, but I really loved this story.

Unless you count the fact that I have worked here for three and a half years and never taken a vacation, so this May, I took a month off to go to my hometown.  I hadn’t seen anyone for so long, and they hadn’t seen my girls since they were preschoolers.  It was the most wonderful month, maybe of my life.  Every day was packed with visits, parties, get-togethers, events museums, picnics, shopping, you name it.  It was a month of warm, fuzzy, love.

And how about a favourite moment from 2016 generally? 
My favourite moment was when I took my girls to Shanghai Disneyland.  I became a single mother when my youngest was one and half, and my oldest had just turned three.  It was a horrible struggle financially and physically.  I had promised them I would take them to Disneyland when they were out of diapers and didn’t need naps.  It took me a long time to recover from cancer and an even longer time to recover financially, but I finally took them two weeks ago.  It was my proudest mommy moment.   

Favourite book in 2016?
I have read a few good ones, “Everything I Never Told You” By Celeste Ng.  Seems to be sticking out though.

Favourite film in 2016?
I’m about to go see “Dr. Strange” in a week and I’m hoping it will be the one.

Favourite song of the year?
I rarely listen to new music.  I will say, I saw the kids from “Stranger Things” do “Uptown Funk” and I could listen to that over and over.  

Any downsides for you in 2016?
I have two best friends going through horribly distressful times that they are having a very hard time handling, and I can’t be there physically for them.  I hate that I don’t know what to do or how to help them.

Are you making resolutions for 2017?
I will submit more manuscripts to more places.  I need to get more proactive with that part of writing.  Maybe apply for a few jobs in the states.

What are you hoping for from 2017?
I’m hoping to finally get new glasses.  I hope my mom comes out of cancer treatment with flying colours.  I hope I’m able to save money.