The Crime Readers' Association

 ‘From Trilogy to Series – how a forgotten manuscript in a drawer led to publishing success’ by Anne Coates

31st January 2020

Perdition’s Child, the fourth book in my Hannah Weybridge crime thriller series is published on 6 February, 2020 and my protagonist, a freelance journalist and single mother in her 30s, has come a long way from the first version of Dancers in the Wind that I wrote in 1993 – yes that long ago. Everything comes to she who waits.

Although I had some interest from various agents, Dancers in the Wind didn’t find a home so I put it away in a drawer and continued with my freelance editing and journalism (plus writing non-fiction books) as well as short stories which were published in Bella, Candis and other magazines.

Fast forward to 2015: I discovered the manuscript and, with an afternoon free, sat down to read it. It wasn’t bad but I thought it could do with some rewriting. This I did and changed quite a bit of the storyline but not the time it was set in. Too much had changed since then. I had also drafted three chapters of a second book although I had no idea where exactly that one was going.

Publishing too had changed dramatically with the arrival of ebooks and smaller, independent publishers. I approached a few and a couple were interested. I was delighted when Matthew Smith at Urbane Publications not only wanted Dancers but saw it as the beginning of a trilogy. Thus Death’s Silent Judgement and Songs of Innocence followed.

Now Perdition’s Child continues Hannah’s story and her interaction with other characters that have become part of her world. Here were find out more about Janet, the nanny, and her mother. Plus Lucy, one of the homeless sleeping rough in the Bullring in Waterloo – Cardboard City – who helped Hannah in book two, finds herself moving to centre stage when her brother is found dead.

The series is set in 1990s London, the murder investigations moving from King’s Cross to Waterloo to Peckham Rye and then Dulwich Library in this last episode. I love writing about my home city and my own part of it, having been born in Clapham and returning to the city after graduation living in Ealing, Fulham and then Dulwich.

In each of the books there is a miscarriage of justice and none more so than in Perdition’s Child. Loss and hurt, lies told and lives changed forever when children were shipped over to Australia as part of the Child Migration Scheme after the Second World War. Some return as adults to trace their relatives and some end up dead as a result. Hannah, in a desperate race to find the perpetrator, becomes a target of the killer who has stalked her…

You can find out more about Anne and her books on her Find an Author CRA profile page.

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