Today I’m welcoming Dave Siver’s to the blog as part of his Evil Unseen blog tour.
Along the way, he moonlighted variously as nightclub bouncer, bookie’s clerk and freelance writer, as well as picking up a first class honours degree from the Open University. Writing has always been his passion and, since giving up the day job, he has launched a second career as a novelist.
The first two books in his popular Archer and Baines crime series set in Buckinghamshire’s Aylesbury Vale – The Scars Beneath the Soul and Dead in Deep Water – reached the top three in the Amazon Kindle Serial Killers chart and the third – Evil Unseen – has just been released. His other work includes two hybrid ‘crime fantasy’ novels featuring personal inquisitor Lowmar Dashiel.
Dave lives in Buckinghamshire, England, with his wife, Chris.
Dave, thanks for coming onto the blog to answer a few questions about Evil Unseen, the third book in the Archer and Baines series, which is launched today.
For anyone who has not read any of the series, can you tell us who Archer and Baines are?
Detective Inspector Lizzie Archer and Detective Sergeant Dan Baines work together in the Aylesbury Vale division of Thames Valley Police in the part of Buckinghamshire where I live. Baines is a local lad, having lived there most of his life. The first book in the series, The Scars Beneath the Soul, sees Archer transferring into the Vale from the Met after a horrendous incident that left her facially disfigured and shattered her self-confidence.
Where did you get your inspiration for them?
A few years ago I was at Crimefest in Bristol. I knew I wanted to write a crime series set in Aylesbury Vale, and I knew I wanted two cops as my protagonists, but I wanted them to be a bit different. The idea of the two characters came to me during a break on the first day. I’m still not sure where the actual ‘inspiration’ came from, unless it was just the creative atmosphere. By the end of the break I’d scribbled notes on both of them. The defining moment in Archer’s back story is her disfigurement. For Baines, it’s the murder of his wife and abduction of his young son by a serial killer, over a decade before the series begins.
How much research have you had to do for the procedural side of the police story and how do you do that?
I trust a lot to my instincts when I’m writing the first draft. If I need to know whether something is feasible, or how a particular thing is done, I’ll either research it there and then if it’s a show-stopper for the plot, or make a note to check it out later if it isn’t. I use good old Google, or contact either the police at the very station Archer and Baines operate out of or a very helpful CSI at Thames Valley Police. I’ve also been lucky with the latest book to have two members of my editing team who are former police officers. I’ve always found that people in all walks of life are only too happy to share their knowledge and expertise.
How important is getting those kind of procedural details right, to you? For some writers, it’s just fiction, others it’s integral.
An Amazon review of one of the books said, ‘ It seems to me that this is probably the way real police work is done’, and I do aim for that sense of authenticity – but I don’t want to overdo it, either. It’s easy to want to bore the reader with some fascinating facts you’ve learned that just aren’t necessary. And, up to a point, I might not let the facts get in the way of a good story line.
And Evil Unseen, where does this take Archer and Baines?
Readers who are as interested in what happens next to the two protagonists as in the crimes they have to solve will have a sense of their stories continuing to move forward. It’s a tough case for them, and for Baines especially. On one level, the book is all about trust, and here we see Archer and Baines finding out how much they now trust one another. There are changes – some of them big – in their personal lives too.
Are there any surprises in store for our policing duo?
Ooh, they wouldn’t be surprises if I revealed them. But yes – there’s one scene in particular that will mark a real step change in their relationship, which I don’t think either of them see coming.
Can you tell us one thing about book 4 that no one knows yet?
It’s inspired by – but not based on – a story I saw in one of the free papers on a journey home from London. It was something that got me thinking ‘what if…’ I’ve been working on the first draft in between things I’ve have to do to get Evil Unseen to publication, but I’m immensely excited about it.
Thanks for talking to me today Dave. Evil Unseen is a great read as is the Archer and Baines series.
A reformed teenage gang leader is gunned down in cold blood and an angry DS Dan Baines, who knew the victim well, reckons he knows who is responsible. But his boss, DI Lizzie Archer, wants to know the identity of the mystery man who died with him – and whether he was intended victim or innocent bystander.
When an officer from the National Crime Agency turns up and declares the case off limits to Archer and her team, its clear that there is more going on than meets the eye. Several conflicting agendas are in play and the body count is rising.
And Archer and Baines realise that the only people they can truly trust are each other.
“Sivers has created a dark world indeed.”