When I wrote my crime novel, If It Bleeds, did I know it would be Book One of The Ravenbridge Trilogy?
I thought that the story, centred around press photographer Jude Baxendale would be a standalone. But my original publisher liked Jude so much, she wanted a sequel that featured this determined, bloody-minded woman, with her strong sense of loyalty and powerful need for justice. The idea I had for my next book was easily adapted into a further story set in the northern town of Ravenbridge, with Jude fearlessly chasing down the truth once again. I really enjoyed revisiting the places and the people I’d set up in the first book, and Body Language was born.
Did I decide that Body Language would be Book Two of The Ravenbridge Trilogy?
But I realised that I was now writing a series, and that might mean any number of novels about Jude. I wasn’t quite sure how I felt about that because I’m a bit ambivalent about crime series. I love Michael Connolly’s Harry Bosch books, but I think some other series go on too long, and the stories get a bit tired. With that in mind as a warning to self, I happily began writing The Hemp House, the third crime novel featuring Jude Baxendale, still working hard for her local paper, still getting into trouble, still refusing to let bad people go free.
In the real world, things are changing fast in the newspaper industry. The sale of printed copies is in decline, while readers increasingly access news online. Local papers, like the one where Jude works, are having to adapt to the digital age, which has led to a reduction in staff. I reflect this in The Hemp House, where Jude must compete with her colleagues to keep her job.
It’s a watershed in Jude’s life, and as I was writing, I came to understand that this would be the final book about my awkward, persistent, but good-hearted heroine. Oddly, I noticed that I had sown seeds in the earlier books that reached a kind of resolution in the last one, and that was very satisfying. So no longer Hey Jude (she hates it when people sing that to her), more Goodbye Jude. I miss her very much, but it was time to let her go.
I have a new character and a very different setting for my new crime thriller. Is it a standalone?
But hold on… good things come in threes, don’t they?
So, you never know…
Dive into The Ravenbridge Trilogy HERE!