The inspiration for The Silent Quarry came from walking the dog up a footpath that runs alongside a disused quarry. It can be quiet, shadowy and eerie along this route and more often than not you don’t pass a living soul. Like most writers I have a vivid imagination and as I walked I would start at every snap of a twig, glancing around to see if anyone was lurking behind a tree. I should have been comforted by the fact that Blue, an enormous Siberian husky was close at heel but he was as much use as a mouse and more likely to run away faster than me from any threat. As I walked further along the path my mind turned to the murder that occurred in this spot in the 70’s and I wondered what would happen if the dog was to arrive home without me. Would my family know where I was? Would they send out a search party? From this spark of an idea I developed the plot to The Silent Quarry.
Ideas for the book came faster than I could write but as I outlined the chapters and built my cast I struggled to find my protagonist. I wanted a detective that the reader could connect with, full of personality and complete with fears and faults.
I set about naming and creating the main character and built in a background story adding a career history, family and birthday until the profile was complete. Slowly DI Lester came to life, I didn’t have an instant connection to him but thought I would give him a trail run, a bit like a probation period in a new job. As the story grew I realised that no detective is complete without a side kick. The book was put on hold while I set about creating Lester’s partner.
I wanted a character to contrast with DI Lester and bring a different perspective to the story. To achieve this I started with the character’s background story. I chose an unconventional upbringing, home educated and raised in a commune with a hippy mother and absent father. Next I needed to find the perfect name to sum up the character. After many hours of pondering, Winter Meadows was born, mild mannered, fair and compassionate with a hint of intrigue he was the complete opposite to DI Lester and I felt an instant connection. But rather than complimenting Lester he posed a new problem. Winter Meadows fascinated me and was so much more interesting than DI Lester.
I instantly promoted Winter to lead character. Very quickly he took over the role and came to life, often dictating the direction of the story. It really is true when writers say that a character can take on a life of their own and they don’t always do what you want.
As for DI Lester he still makes an appearance in the book along with Blue the dog.
In 1987 a quiet Welsh village was devastated by a brutal attack on two schoolgirls, Bethan Hopkins and Gwen Collier. Only Gwen survived, with horrific injuries and no memory of the attack. The killer was never caught. Now, nearly thirty years later, Gwen has gone missing and DI Winter Meadows is assigned to the case. Charismatic and intuitive, he has an uncanny gift for finding the truth. But in this small and close-knit community, the past is never far away, and those who have secrets will go to any lengths to keep them. Tensions run high as old feelings and accusations are stirred. And DI Meadows has to battle his own demons as he uncovers a truth he wished had stayed in the past …