Would someone murder an entire family to get their hands on a lottery ticket worth £18m? That’s the premise behind my crime novel, Rollover.
The idea came to me one Saturday night while watching the National Lottery draw on television. Within a week I had the outline of a story and eight months later the typescript was submitted to Robert Hale Ltd. Since then I’ve written another book, entitled Urban Myth, which features the same detective from Rollover and is published by Hale in September. Both books are set in and around Hampshire’s New Forest and my home town of Southampton.
It’s a great thrill to have two books published – especially since it marks the re-launch of my writing career after a gap of some thirty years!
I was barely out of my teens when I first became a published author. I wrote four thrillers in quick succession – all of them published by Hale – and I thought naively that I was destined to become a bestselling writer. All I had to do was carry on producing books.
I was a news reporter in those days and worked for a string of papers, including The Sun and The Mail. Somehow I always found time to put pen to paper, despite the fact that I wrote on a small portable typewriter and every draft had to be re-written from scratch. I even took a couple of years off to complete the first two books, and earned a living by doing a ‘Del Boy’ – selling jewellery from a suitcase in the streets at weekends.
But when my wife and I started a family I was forced to get a proper job again and that’s when I got into television as a script writer on a regional news programme. We had three children and my career blossomed. I went from script writer to producer, then to programme editor and Director of News and Sport. All well and good, but it left me hardly any free time. Gradually I lost the will and the passion to write. Eventually I stopped altogether. It was a great shame because I’ll never know how successful I might have been if I’d stuck with it.
I was happy in my career and went on to fill a group role in ITV, overseeing the news divisions of Meridian, Anglia and HTV, as well as a large sports programming department that took me all over the world.
But there was always something missing.
The urge to write returned briefly about twelve years ago when I decided to have a go at a screenplay. It was actually bought by United Productions, who intended to turn it into a one-off drama for ITV. But despite a long development process, it never got made and I became disillusioned.
The desire to write again came back with a vengeance early last year when I got the idea for Rollover. I suddenly realized what I’d been missing. And the good thing is that these days I can devote virtually all my time to it. As a director of my own television production company my workload is no longer demanding.
Having a book published is all the more exciting now that I’m older and able to fully appreciate it. Also, unlike in the late Seventies and Eighties, there are far more opportunities to get involved in the sale and marketing of my work.
I may not get to see Rollover piled high in book shops, but it’s on most online sites including Amazon, WH Smiths and Waterstones. And I can draw attention to it via my own newly-created website. None of this was possible when my earlier novels were published.
What’s more, I’ve produced a short video trailer for Rollover which I’ve uploaded to Youtube and Facebook. It’s already been viewed by hundreds of people so I’m hoping it will encourage at least a few of them to buy the book. Meanwhile the ebook edition of Rollover is published in August and I’ve already updated two of my earlier novels with a view to turning those into ebooks too.
So for me the second time around as an author is proving to be a lot more interesting and much more fun. I can get involved in the whole process, like helping to promote the book. It’s also much easier to monitor feedback through online reviews and such.
I’m already working on my next book and hoping that there will be many more in the future.
- James Raven
For more information on James Raven you can check out his website here.
Rollover is out 30 March 2012 in Hardback. Urban Myth is scheduled for release in September 2012, also in Hardback.