What’s your writing background?
RC Bridgestock is actually husband and wife team, Bob and Carol Bridgestock. Their writing comes from a unique perspective of collective real life experience of high level policing of 47 years. Carol and Bob started writing quite by accident. Neither of them every had any intentions of becoming authors, but others found their verbal stories thrilling, especially Bob’s real life stories of investigations into murder, shootings, suicide intervention, negotiation, terrorism and extortion, which led them to put pen to paper.
When did you begin writing and what inspired you?
Carol says, ‘Friends and acquaintances had always told Bob, he should write a book with all the stories he could tell of real life events he had been party to, in his 30 year career. One day Bob saw an advert in the local press to join a college course to help you, ‘Write Your First Novel.’ He enrolled us both to my surprise and at the end of the first course we had our first draft for ‘Deadly Focus’ – one hundred and twenty thousand words in long hand!’
‘There is no magic formula to our writing,’ Carol says. ‘Once Bob has a crime scene in his mind he can then write about the enquiry till he captures the perpetrators. just like he did in real life, including all the highs and lows of the investigation that he was duty bound to take charge of. When his first draft of around 70,000 words is complete he passes it to me.’
‘Carol then adds the emotion. She draws out of me my feelings,’ says Bob.
‘Not an easy job from someone who has hidden behind the ‘detectives mask’ for so long and sometimes they are really harrowing descriptions,’ says Carol. ‘I think its cathartic for Bob though. He says its work!’
‘There is never the case of not knowing how to move the story forward or writers block because the investigations open up automatically just as they did in real life,’ says Bob.
Did they say there’s no magic? Maybe they’re wrong, because suddenly they have a fictional story with the real life feelings of the man in charge, who happens to be called Dylan in their books and his partner Jen, who are very loosely based on themselves.
‘One of Bob’s pet hates is to watch a TV series or read a crime novel and the police procedure is wrongly portrayed,’ says Carol.
Their writing is about the truth of feelings and correct police procedure with some version of reality in the crimes. ‘We would never write about factual murders as we don’t feel it would be fair to the victims’ families who have already suffered enough. But, there is something about writing something we know,’ says Bob.
How often do you write and how do you fit in writing amongst other commitments?
‘We are both committed to writing full time,’ says Carol.
‘Writing is an addiction and once the characters are alive in a book it is exciting to live with them to the end of the crime investigation,’ says Bob. ‘We aim to write everyday and if the writing is flowing we go with it. Writing about taking charge of murder enquiries is easy because I have been there and done it as well as worn the T –shirt as they say. How we use that experience in our writing is more daunting, partially because there’s no answer that comes easily to mind, no formula but, requests from our readers for another novel spur us on.’
The couple have daily rituals like anyone else. They walk the family’s Springer Spaniels, clean the house, do the laundry, drink coffee, eat pizzas and love chocolate; turn onto Emmerdale Farm and Coronation Street at night to relax and love films with a romantic twist. Carol’s office is above the lounge where Bob works at the sitting room table on his laptop. The white noise is a necessity to writing creatively for Carol. Bob can write with the radio on. Once focussed he’s not easily distracted.
In between the writing Carol and Bob run a writing competition twice a year with their writing circle. The Wight Fair Writers’ Circle to encourage others, especially children to read and write –www.iowwritingcircle.co.uk. The sponsorship Carol has found allows some great prizes and all monies go to local charities.
In which genre do you most enjoy writing and what draws you to that genre?
‘I guess that might be obvious now, Crime fiction, Thrillers, Mystery’s – but with the up to date feel of real life feelings of the detective and his partner; we write what we know best.
Bob was a detective for 28 years of his 30 year service and has performed every role of a detective in the CID office in that time. As you can imagine he has a lot of incidents to choose from. He was a senior detective for 18 years. In his last three years as a Detective Superintendent he took charge of 26 murder investigations, 23 serious incidents including shooting, serious rapes and attempted murders as well as over 50 suspicious deaths. He was also a hostage negotiator taking charge of kidnap, extortion and suicide intervention cases. Carol worked for the police for seventeen years as an admin support worker in various roles.
‘Our work though is fiction. It’s about entertainment for the heart and the head. From the safety of the readers own surroundings they can become a detective and hopefully gain a sense of what it is really like to be an investigator and have demands upon them from the home front at the same time,’ says Bob. ‘In our view crime fiction shouldn’t be about glamorising the use of violence, firearms, drugs or anything that would encourage others to indulge. With fiction we can ensure that good overcomes evil. We try to educate and amuse people with our writing as well as humanize the role of the man in charge of murder enquiries and major incidents. To show the individual as an ordinary family man who in his daily job deals with some horrific traumas where others would fear to tread. But it’s no different from any person who works for an emergency service. Through our books we can give an insight into those issues.’
Can you tell me about your current projects and plans for the future?
‘Oh, gosh becoming writers has opened up a whole new world for us. In the last five years we have written five novels in the DI Dylan series and four of them are with our publisher Caffeine Nights. ‘’Deadly Focus’ was published 2011 in paperback & kindle. In 2012 it was published in audio book read by actor Paul Ansdell. ‘Consequences’ was also published March 2012 and on March 25th 2013 ‘White Lilies’ is to be launched. The rights for ‘Deadly Focus’ have just been sold in South Korea brokered by our foreign rights literary agent Monika Luukkonen and at present we are working on a BBC 1 commissioned kidnap drama 6 x 60 series called ‘Happy Valley’ with scriptwriter Sally Wainwright and Red Productions.
We are booked to do various events and talks this year including the Isle of Arts Festival on the 19 April 2013. http://artsisle.org/events/16-life-in-crime-fiction.
Our new look website is about to be launched to coincide with the publication of ‘White Lilies’ 25th March 2013 and our northern tour of ‘White Lilies’ book signing events from 29th April – 4th May in Waterstones book stores in Leeds, Bradford, Huddersfield, Wakefield and WHS Halifax before we move to Stratford Upon Avon Waterstones 6th May.
‘Taking charge of our life, especially when we left the police force means there is no boundaries. It’s time to create positive change and we will continue to go for it and have fun writing as well as having a go at anything else that comes our way – you only live once!’ says Bob.
Where can people find out about you?
We have a website: http://www.rcbridgestock.com – with contact details.
Our publishers website: http://www.caffeine-nights.com.
Linkedin: Bob Bridgestock