Blog Tour - Cut to the Bone by Alex Caan
For fans of THE FALL and Sarah Hilary, this slick, dark contemporary thriller will have you on the edge of your seat...
Ruby is a vlogger, a rising star of YouTube and a heroine to millions of teenage girls. And she's missing. She's an adult - nothing to worry about, surely? Until the video's uploaded. Ruby, in the dirt and pleading for her life.
Who better to head up the investigation than the Met's rising star, Detective Inspector Kate Riley? She's leading a shiny new team, high-powered, mostly female and with the best resources money can buy. It's time for them to prove what they can do. Alongside her, Detective Sergeant Zain Harris - poster boy for multiracial policing and the team's newest member - has his own unique contribution to make. But can Kate wholly trust him and when he's around, can
she trust herself?
Ruby's millions of fans are hysterical about what may have happened to her. The press is having a field day and as the investigation hurtles out of control in the glare of publicity, it becomes clear that the world of YouTube vloggers and social media is much, much darker than anyone could have imagined in their worst nightmares.
And the videos keep coming...
Coming up with an intricate plot is key to writing a great novel I think, it’s the backbone the rest of the book hangs from. What makes each novel unique, and really hold its own, are the characters chosen to act out that plot. Sometimes just one character can hold you completely, and take you through a story, whereas other times it takes a group of characters to mesh together to make something work.
When writing Cut to the Bone, I wanted every character to have some depth, no matter how fleeting their appearance or how pivotal they were. People in life are usually complex, and trying to capture that is intriguing for any novelist. I love my heroes with plenty of shade, and I love my villains that have their vulnerabilities. That’s where the challenge is, the balancing act.
Below are just some rules I found useful for writing characters, and things that appeal to me in other people’s novels.
1. If you’re intending to write a series, give your characters a very complex and layered past. Every author hopes to be writing a series that might last, but to keep a reader engaged not only do you have to come up with interesting stories, but also keep them wanting to know more about your leads and spend time with them. I race to buy my favourite series, just to be in the company of my favourite characters again, to see how their personal lives and relationships are developing. Mulder and Scully are the ultimate pairing for me for this very reason. So plan ahead, even if you don’t write a full backstory or reveal everything in any particular novel, have enough secrets up your sleeves to keep people guessing and surprised if you need to. Flawed characters might be clichéd and overused, but for me I LOVE reading them and writing them. The more flaws/trauma/drama your lead characters have, bring them on I say.
2. Use your personal experience to colour in your characters, and the experiences of people you come into contact with. Magpies. That’s what writers are. Someone might tell you an anecdote that happened to them, or an experience they had. If it fits there is no harm in making it a trait/experience for your own characters.
3. Think what your characters might do in their time off. You don’t have to write a list of their favourite food, TV, books or music. But be aware of what they might do off the page. Zain Harris has a fondness for Opera music, without the singing. It’s at odds to the rest of his character, but there is a reason he needs it. To be revealed.
4. Give your characters individual rhythms of speech. Just the odd phrase or way of speaking which will be particular to them. It helps when there is a group conversation going on, and also lets you ‘hear’ the character in your head while writing them. This makes them really come alive on the page.
5. Work out what makes your characters thrive, and conversely what debilitates them. Why do they exist, what gets them out of bed every morning. Kate Riley has a need for justice, but there are things from her past which can emotionally wreck her in an instant. Zain is in limbo, and his lack of purpose is key to how he behaves in Cut to the Bone. It’s a journey I hope to go on with them both and hope readers will join me.
My favourite advice to writers is always come up with your own rules/tips on what works for you and what you want to say in your novel. These are just some of the things that I hope make the characters I create some that will stay with people and keep them coming back for more.
To purchase a copy of Cut To The Bone Click here