We disappeared off for a grown up weekend and came back with a whole plot for a book. In the first scene I ever wrote in the series, I found two characters in opposition: Jack and a dodgy dealer called Pierce. Book 5 will be focused on Pierce, the strange 'rat-man' as Jack calls him. Bringing a story beyond the main two characters will be fun, especially as I can play with more recent history, and the strange dark energy of Dartmoor. I love new stories, this is the first new plot I've come up with in nearly a year, and I was starting to worry! This means I have two sequels on top of the three books that are sold, and I couldn't sleep for the excitement and had to keep writing notes in the middle of the night.
Finding inspiration for a story can strike from the smallest starting points. In this case, a combination of years of loving cryptozoology - the biology of strange and mythical organisms - has got me interested in why persistent rumours of mythical creatures persists. Take Sasquatch or Bigfoot legends. There is NO biological evidence, no bones, no food detritus, no DNA, no hair samples, nothing that has been definitively identified. Yet the rumours and heartfelt accounts of sightings continue. I'm intrigued by human beings' need to believe. Loch Ness monsters, fairies, unicorns, angels, ghosts, aliens...all have thousands of believers and I am interested in our ability to 'see' the weird, strange and unusual. I'm not judging here, I had an encounter with a ghost back in the late nineties. I tried to explain it in terms of delusion (even while it was there) but the evidence was disturbing. But confined to one person: gullible, suggestible old me. So it was lovely to pull together a series of myths to find a belief system that might answer the question - what exactly is the rat-man?