An author from Alderwasley is to publish her second crime fiction novel next month, just one year after her debut took the literary world by storm.
Dead Man’s Daughter is the second in a series by Roz Watkins, centred on Detective Inspector Meg Dalton and grisly goings-on in the Peak District.
Roz, 50, said: “The story opens with a 10-year-old girl running through the woods covered in blood, and it turns out her father is at home with his throat slit.
“It looks like the daughter may have killed him, but then there seems to be something curious about the girl’s recent heart transplant and bizarre dreams since – which challenges DI Dalton’s usual scientific scepticism.”
Pitched between a police procedural and a psychological thriller, the story develops a style which arrived almost fully formed in Roz’s debut The Devil’s Dice.
That garnered a book of the month accolade from The Times, a shortlist spot for the Crime Writers’ Association Debut Dagger award, and is now in development by ITV.
Her achievements are all the more remarkable because Roz had not written at all since her school days.
She previously worked as a patent lawyer, and only began collecting ideas for the stories during a spell of manual work.
Roz said: “We were renovating a cottage so I was doing a lot of manual work which gave my mind a chance to wander. The Peak District is full of myths, dark holes, and isolation.
“The first story started with a body in a cave—which came to me while I was walking my dog—so I had to bring in a detective, and she became more and more central with some help and advice from Derbyshire Constabulary.”
Roz added: “They don’t have to be read in order, they are separate cases but there are threads in Meg’s life which continue between the two.
“It develops her character too. She’s quite feminist with lots of strong opinions and family tensions.
Roz started work on the second book before the first was even published, which Roz says helped her to avoid some of the difficulties which often come with following an early success.
She said: “There was no pressure to live up to the reviews and I was riding a wave of euphoria with a book deal.
“Given the first book was the first time I’d written anything, hopefully I’ve improved. People who have already read it say they like it even more.”
She added: “I’m now writing the third and that’s more of a challenge. I put so many of the things that have always interested me into the first two, and now I have to dig deeper to do something original.
“That’s probably the most enjoyable part though, the creativity – that, and the catharsis of writing out things that anger me, or taking revenge on someone I know in real life by putting them in the book.
“It’s easy to think of ways to kill people, but it’s hard to find good reasons which could move someone to murder.”
The book can be pre-ordered online or from all good book shops, in Kindle, paperback or hardback formats.