Name Carol & Bob Bridgestock
Age Carol 50 and Bob 60
Where are you from West Yorkshire, England
A little about your self `ie your education Family life ect
We were both born and lived in West Yorkshire until we relocated to the Isle of Wight in 2003. Between us we worked for West Yorkshire Police for 47years. Carol being a member of the Civilian support staff and Bob was a Police Officer.
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 a dye works before joining the police force on the 28th January 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 30years ‘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 the age of 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.
We have four children and two grandchildren.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news?
Following the success of ‘Deadly Focus’ (the first in the RC Bridgestock series of crime fiction novels), our publisher Caffeine Nights Publishers http://www.caffeine-nights.com are publishing our second novel ‘Consequences,’ in March 2012. Our third book ‘White Lilies’ is with the publisher, our fourth ‘Snow Kills’ is being finalised and book 5 ‘Predators’ has been commenced. We have also just been signed up by a Literary Agent who covers South Korea and Japan.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Quite by accident! Neither of us every had any intentions of becoming authors, but others found our verbal stories thrilling, especially Bob’s real life story of an investigator into murder, suicide intervention, negotiation and extortion, which led us to put pen to paper.
Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I suppose when we got our first review from a National newspaper. It was a great thrill to be telephoned by the ‘Book Reviewer’ from England’s biggest selling newspaper to say, ‘Deadly Focus is in today’s paper – I love it!’
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
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 a draft for ‘Deadly Focus.’
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style?
We write about what we know. We also write from the heart and we write together. DI Jack Dylan is loosely based on Bob. Jennifer Jones (Jen) is loosely based on me. Although the narrative is fiction the feelings of the lead characters and the scenes are very much drawn from experience.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
We choose our titles to summarize the entire novel. Critics have said we have got the titles of our two published books ‘bang on’ which is nice. ‘Deadly Focus’ started out as ‘The Ground Beneath Your Feet,’ which is an ‘age old’ saying for a detective who must clear the ground beneath their feet before they start to widen the net of investigation. But before it was published we decided the title should be something that everyone understood.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Not really a message, more like we ‘tell it how it is,’ and this has been greatly received by working/retired police officers and civilian staff who have given us fantastic reviews. One said, ‘It was like being back in an incident room and reliving the trauma of a murder all over again. Never read anything so true to life.’
Another, ‘It was like being back at work! Well done!’ And also - ‘Having been engaged on several Murder Reviews I think I have a rather critical eye. I enjoyed the plot and look forward to your next book. I also learned a little I didn’t know about murder investigations and only wished my SIOs had been more open.’
Well known Script Writer Peter Hammond of Midsomer Murder and Sapphire and Steele fame amongst others also says... ‘It reveals so much about working coppers' problems with the system. I know this sort of thing has been dealt with in previous police stories, but you bring a deeper insight to it without being preachy or pretentious. Most importantly, the police characters are believable and one cares about them. The mortuary viewing scene with the dead child is heartbreaking. In fact, it's a difficult book to put down.’
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic? Fiona: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
All the books in the RC Bridgestock series are based on real life experiences, although the storylines are fiction. The scenes and feelings of the Senior Investigative Officer (DI Jack Dylan) and his partner Jen are drawn from reality. One of the reasons why Bob had reservations about writing a book was that he didn’t want to bring more trauma and upset to the victims of crime by talking about the investigations he took charge of. The last thing he wanted to do was open up ‘old wounds’ for the people involved. Writing like we do seemed to be the solution – fictional stories with correct police procedure and the thoughts and feelings of people who have lived the life in reality.
Fiona: What books have most influenced your life most?
Anne Frank was the first book that Carol read as a teenager, which was written about a true life experience. ‘It had a profound effect on me,’ she says. ‘From that time I started to read and enjoy autobiographies and works written by people who had ‘been there, bought the T shirt and worn the socks,’ as they say.
Fiona: If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Carol says, ‘An author many people would probably not heard of called Warwick Deeping. The description of the scenes he writes and his characters are ... simply amazing. I picked up my first Warwick Deeping novel, Sorrell and Son, at a charity event. Whilst standing at the book stall I opened the old green hard back, tattered looking book and saw the ‘Isle of Wight’ mentioned. That sold the book to me as it is the place we live. I went onto read the narrative, loved it and sourced many more of his novels on line. It was as though it was meant to be, as sometime later I found that Warwick Deeping was in fact the name of a sailing ship that had sunk just off the Isle Of Wight, near where we live, at a point called St Catherine’s and not only that but it was also built in a dockyard, in Hull near where my Dad was born; fate?’ Some memorabilia is displayed a couple of miles away from us in a museum at ‘Arreton Barns’.’
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
Carol says, ‘I’m reading a fascinating book called, ‘The Manipulative Man,’ by Dr Dorothy McCoy, who is not only an author but a speaker and trained psychotherapist – she’s an amazing woman! This book is a groundbreaking prescription for dealing with the manipulative man in your life.’
Bob’s reading a re-write of ‘Snow Kills’ – the fourth book in our series before it hit s our publishers ‘in box’!
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Oh, gosh so many! Caffeine Nights Publishers have a stable of new authors who are absolutely brilliant. Nick Quantrill, Ian Ayris, Alison Taft, Darren Laws and so many more... You can read all about them on Caffeine Nights website or subscribe to Caffeine Nights Publisher e newsletter for book news, latest reviews and book signing events.
Fiona: What are your current projects?
Carol says, ‘I ‘Chair’ and Bob is a member of the Wight Fair Writers’ Circle and we run two competitions a year to try to encourage others to write especially children. The Christmas short story competition has just finished and we start with the ‘Crime & Intrigue’ competition in March. You can read all about them, read winning stories and see pictures and watch film clips from past events @ Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.
Carol is still working on ‘Snow Kills’ and Bob is writing his draft of the ‘Predators’ which is our fifth novel.
Fiona: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Our publisher and fellow Caffeine Nights authors – they are all fantastically supportive, our writing circle members, the local media and our friends.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, definitely it is our new profession – although I’m sure people see writing from home as a hobby! Ask any writer/author though and they’ll say writing is hard work – but we love it!
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
No nothing at all. In the second book of the series Detective Inspector Jack Dylan makes the choice to save a ‘jumper,’ never giving a thought to the consequences of that action. A blackmailed woman turns to a flawed policeman for help, the consequences of that choice leading to betrayal and a creepy death. ‘Consequences’. is dedicated to piecing together a puzzle set before you and allows the reader to watch the inner workings of the police force as very few books ever do.
Fiona: Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
We obviously have so much information and material in our joint experiences to write for a long time, but conveying that written word to paper and for it to be interpreted in the way we want it to be is, another ‘kettle of fish,’ as they say in Yorkshire. We want people to feel through our writing what it’s really like to work in an incident room on a murder investigation, with all the pressure and inner workings at the sharp end of the British police service.
Fiona: Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
No, luckily we don’t. We lived in West Yorkshire for most of our lives so know the areas well that we write about. Harrowfield is a fictional town but based on Halifax and Huddersfield and their surrounding areas.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
Andrew Beckwith a young and very talented web designer who designed our website and the cover of the first edition of ‘Deadly Focus’ in 2009. You can find him @ http://www.andrewbeckwith.com/ . Our subsequent book covers have been designed by Mark (Wills) Williams via our publisher Caffeine Nights.
Fiona: What was the hardest part of writing your book?
I think that the hardest part of doing anything worthwhile is to keep at it. It is so easy to give up when the going gets tough. Writing is a skill and you have to learn that skill.
Fiona: Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
Oh yes, we learnt so much! We had no idea how many times a writer would edit his/her work! Deadly Focus had about sixteen re-writes. Then you have to learn to write a summary, the blurb, the synopsis, the letter to the Literary Agent/Publisher. The learning never ends and is so much more than ‘just’ writing a novel!
Fiona: Do you have any advice for other writers?
Don’t give up! Believe in yourself.
Fiona: Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
We bring reality of the real life investigation to crime fiction. You’ll find our narrative ‘down to earth, funny, moving and captivating’ so we are told. The central character – DI Jack Dylan is typical of the average Yorkshire detective. You will be gripped by the murder cases as well as the relationship between Dylan and his secret lover in ‘Deadly Focus,’ leaving you wanting more about the two.
The attention to detail to Police procedures as well as portraying the personal emotions of dealing with such horrific crimes is very important to us. We hope it keeps you hanging on for more and gave a sense of realism than some other novelist could never convey.
Fiona: If you were not a writer what else would you like to have done?
Besides our writing we also support three Hospices and other local charities on the Isle of Wight so I guess if we weren’t writing we do more of the same. Working with people who are less fortunate than your self is very rewarding. Being published authors has opened so many doors to help others.
Fiona: Do you have a blog/website? if so what is it?
Check out our website http://www.rcbridgestock.com or http://www.caffeine-nights.com
You can also follow us on Twitter @ RCBridgestock & @ Linkedin Carol & Bob Bridgestock
We are also on facebook @ Carol Bridgestock or R C Bridgestock and have a ‘Deadly Focus’ Group site http://www.facebook.com/groups/57681551283Click to add text, images, and other content