When I first wrote Visiting Lilly I knew that my main characters, Detective Inspector Jake Talbot and Frankie Hayward, had many mores stories to tell, but I didn’t have a publishing contract, so the ideas sat on the back-burner. As soon as I was published by Booktrope they asked if I had any other novels I’d already written, to which I replied, ‘yes,’ and then quietly slipped in that I’d already scratched out a first chapter of Saving Anna, a new mystery with the same lead characters.
I was advised to prioritise finishing Saving Anna, and to build a series. Finish it? I’d hardly started writing it at that stage. Yipes! But hey, if the publisher wants more, then the publisher shall have more. Who was I as a fledgling novelist to refuse such an offer? As time went by I quickly learnt that this is how it works in the world of being a ‘real’ writer. While we were editing Visiting Lilly I was busy plotting and writing Saving Anna.
Having agreed to write a series, I had to come up with a name for it, so that readers can easily see that the books are associated with each other, and that they’ll find a story about the characters they’ve already become familiar with. After much deliberation I decided on Jake Talbot Investigates which gives a fair idea of what a reader will find between the covers. I then realised that the series title is a little long to hashtag on Twitter, so look out for #JTI as I’ll be using this abbreviation in tweets.
Visiting Lilly is based in Farnham, Surrey, but I spend some of my time down in Dorset, and am very passionate about the local wildlife, history and scenery. For Saving Anna I decided to shift location and have Talbot and Frankie travel to Bridport, Dorset, to carry out an investigation. In truth Talbot starts off being requested to only observe a cult, the Temple of Purple Light, and report back to the Ministry of Defence, but he’s determined to find out what they’re up to as their beliefs pose a threat to his catatonic sister, Anna. Furthermore the MOD also need Frankie’s exceptional computer skills, skills he’s prohibited from using except on the Ministry’s behalf.
Neither man knows what they’re meant to be looking for, but observation turns into investigation when they discover a woman’s body draped over the gravestone of one of Talbot’s ancestors. Soon after, a dangerous piece of evidence slips into Talbot’s hands, the plotters’ desperation to get it back becoming the catalyst for murder.
As they uncover a conspiracy that links psychic manipulation, drugs, and death, the two friends grow from master and apprentice to partners in detection, protecting each other from increasing hazards. The trail leads them into deeper shadows, where Talbot’s old enemy waits to wreak a revenge that is as shocking as it is painful.
How far will Jake go to save his sister?
Each book in my Jake Talbot Investigates mystery series is a stand-alone novel, a complete story in itself. I’m now busy writing Book 3, Finding Louisa, which brings the action back to Farnham. A little girl has gone missing from the ponds and wooded acres of Puttenham Common. As they work on finding Louisa, Jake Talbot and Frankie unearth shocking evidence that links back to an old case.