Today, Carol and Bob Bridgestock, the authors behind the name RC Bridgestock talk about their book Deadly Focus.
Carol and Bob were both born and lived in West Yorkshire until they relocated to the Isle of Wight in 2003. Between them they have 47 years employment with the police, Carol being a member of the civilian support staff and Bob being a police officer. They never had any inclinations to become authors, but others found their verbal stories thrilling, which led them to put pen to paper.
Bob was born in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire in 1952. He left grammar school at the age of 15, served an apprenticeship as a butcher, then spent two years in dye works before joining the police force in 1974. In 1981, he was awarded the much acclaimed ‘Denis Hoban Trophy’ for outstanding detective work. On retirement, he received a Certificate of Loyal Service from West Yorkshire Police in appreciation and recognition of 30 years of ‘Loyal and Devoted Service to the Community’. As a career detective, he worked in the CID at every rank.
For over half of his service, he was a senior detective, retiring at the rank of Detective Superintendent. As a Senior Investigative Officer (SIO) in charge of homicide cases, he took command of some twenty-six murder investigations, twenty-three major incidents, including shootings and attempted murders, and over fifty suspicious deaths and numerous sexual assaults, some of which were extremely high profile in his last three years alone.
He received numerous commendations from high court judges and chief constables who credit him with personal commitment and professionalism, expertise and diligence, as well as competence with skilful leadership in sensitive, complex high profile cases with the subsequent presentation of compelling evidence. He was a Force Hostage Negotiator and was also commended for his work into the investigation of a protracted, high profile investigation of police corruption in another police force.
Carol was born in Halifax, West Yorkshire in 1961. She left grammar school at the age of 16 and went on to study hairdressing at college. At twenty, she was running her own successful salon as well as teaching at the college. In 1988, Carol commenced working for the police as a member of the support staff in the administration department. As a supervisor, she received a Chief Constable’s commendation for outstanding work for her determination and drive creating a poster competition for an Autumn Fall Crime Initiative involving local schools. Carol is the Chairperson of Wight Fair Writers’ Circle which developed from that course.
Please tell us about your current release, Deadly Focus.
Harrowfield is in uproar as Daisy Charlotte Hind vanishes without a trace. It’s up to Senior Investigating Officer Jack Dylan to find her.
Dylan’s worst nightmare is confirmed as a body is discovered and another child goes missing. Is this the work of a serial killer with a deadly focus? Dylan’s nerve is put to the test. He is attacked on the job and finds his health under increasing strain.
Live the story and the tension of the investigation as Dylan struggles to find a balance between his passion for his job and his love for his partner Jen.
We self-published Deadly Focus in July 2009. It will be re-launched by Caffeine Nights Publishers soon as a platform for the second book in the Dylan Series.
What inspired you to write this book?
Carol: I always knew Bob could tell a good story because of the experiences he had had in his life, but my nagging fell on deaf ears until 2008 – when out of the blue, Bob enrolled us in a college course to ‘Write Your First Novel.’
One of Bob’s pet hates is to watch a TV series or read a crime novel and the police procedure is wrongly portrayed. Our writing is about the truth of feelings and correct police procedure with some version of reality in the murder.
Bob: 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.
What exciting story are you working on next?
Consequences, the sequel to Deadly Focus will be published in the Summer 2011 by Caffeine Nights Publishers. Although both books can be read in isolation, the reader can follow Dylan in subsequent investigations in this book and his home life.
A brief blurb about Consequences: Detective Inspector Jack Dylan’s list of things to do is getting out of control. He has two unconnected murders to solve of a small child and a young woman, plus a missing detective to find. Long hours are part of the job, but does he have the time to figure out the pieces to the crime jigsaws, and save his relationship?
Book 3 is at the final re-writing stage before we submit it to the publisher. It follows Dylan and his colleagues who deal with more heinous crimes.
Please tell us a bit about being co-authors:
Carol: There is no magic formula to our writing. Once Bob has a crime scene in his mind, he can write about the enquiry till he captures the murderers, as he did in real life, with all the highs and lows of any investigation he is duty-bound to take charge of. When his first draft of around 70,000 words is complete, he passes it to me.
I add the emotion. I draws out his feelings and write the scenes from his sometimes harrowing descriptions. It’s cathartic for Bob. Bob says its work.
Bob: 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.
Did we say there’s no magic? Maybe we’re wrong, because suddenly we have a fictional story with the real-life feelings of the man in charge, Dylan, and his partner Jen, who are very loosely based on ourselves.
Do you write full time?
Carol: We are both committed to writing full time.
Bob: 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. 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 magic, like we said before, no formula. But, requests for another novel spur us on.
We have daily rituals like anyone else. We walk our three dogs, 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: My office is above the dining room where Bob works at the sitting room table on his laptop. The white noise is a necessity for me to write creatively. Bob can write with the radio on. Once focused he’s not easily distracted.
In between the writing, I am the Chair of the Wight Fair Writers’ Circle that meets on a monthly basis. Every six months the Circle runs a writing competition to encourage others, especially children, to write. The sponsorship allows some great prizes and all monies go to local charities.
In our spare time we help raise money for three hospices: The Earl Mountbatten Hospice’ on the Isle of Wight, Overgate Hospice, and Wakefield Hospice in West Yorkshire. They also benefit from our talks and book sales.