What My Next Novel Means to Me

Book News, J.S. Strange

Tomorrow, my new novel, Murder on the Rocks is published with Panther Publishing. It’s a murder mystery novel, featuring a gay male private investigator, as he solves the murder of a writer. Based in Cardiff, it has Welsh roots and LGBT themes.

It’s my first novel since I last released Winter Smith: The Secrets of France, a sequel to my zombie apocalypse novel. Murder on the Rocks is a lot different. I hit a wall with the Winter Smith series, and truthfully I don’t know if I’ll ever complete it. A combination of one bad review and poor sales didn’t help my motivation for a third instalment, even though it’s needed to complete the story.

With this wall, I needed to find something else. I wanted to push myself and try something new, and to do that I completely changed my genre. Writing in horror YA was great, but this time I wanted to write a crime novel.

Here enters Murder on the Rocks. A murder mystery novel, with Jordan Jenner the private investigator as the lead protagonist.

I set out to write a gripping crime thriller, with a female lead detective. Half way through, I decided to change from a female lead to a gay male lead. Jordan Jenner had been there all along, but this was his story and his time.

My decision for this was representation. I’ve read plenty of crime genre novels, and I’ve loved a lot of them. But a lot of them are exceptionally male and exceptionally straight. We’re used to the macho man detective, solving crimes and romancing women. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I wanted it to be the case that I was writing a novel where the character was gay, solving a crime, and romancing men along the way.

It was extremely important to me to write representation into a genre I love. I 100% know there are gay leads out there, but there needs to be more, and Jordan Jenner has been added to the mix – I just hope he stands out. To stand out, people have to know about him and read his story.

Murder on the Rocks is the first in a planned series, known as the ‘Jordan Jenner Mysteries’. This is my first book with a publisher, and I’ve noticed the differences. Panther are independent, new, learning and Welsh. I’m their first author, and I’m Welsh, with a book set in Wales, with Welsh characters. It was a perfect fit. Since being with Panther, I’ve had more pre-orders, more media opportunities, and Murder on the Rocks has been in the top 15 list of Amazon’s Hot New Releases in gay fiction. Let’s hope it stays there after release date!

Murder on the Rocks means a lot to me for many reasons. It brings an original setting of Cardiff into literature. I’m proud to be writing about Welsh characters, and I’m proud to have a Welsh setting. I hope people pick it up and experience Wales in the novels. It’s not just Cardiff that appears – we see surrounding towns and counties, too.

It means a lot to me because of the representation. Jordan is gay, but so are the people he knows. There is no tragic coming out story, and no internal sexuality struggle. His sexuality is not a plot device – it is his character. It is him.

As it is with Vanessa, and Mark.

Murder on the Rocks means a lot to me because I feel as though it’s a novel with true potential. Seven publishers requested it in total, and it shortlisted me for Penguin Random House’s Write Now Live Scheme in 2018. It’s a novel that I know has good story potential, good character potential, and Murder on the Rocks is just the beginning.

Murder on the Rocks publishes March 1st 2019 in ebook and paperback format. I will also be selling signed copies, through Panther’s website.

Murder on the Rocks is the first novel to get me a book signing in a high street store – WHSmith. I’ll be signing in Cardiff and Cwmbran.

But for now, join me tomorrow for the publication of Murder on the Rocks, and we can celebrate together. Celebrate inclusivity, diversity, Welsh roots and murder in literature.

Get your copy here: mybook.to/MOTR

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s