I jumped as the thick metal door slammed shut. It wasn’t just the sound, but the physical force of it closing that affected me. The pressure changes inside the small cell were palpable. I could feel it in my ears, like that feeling you get on an aeroplane, and my heart thudded in my chest a couple of times before returning to normal. If only the rest of me could calm down, things would be a lot easier.
I looked around the cell, taking in the four white walls that would be my home for the next fifteen years. They seemed so close, almost suffocating. The cell was maybe six feet by ten. There was a small window high on one wall with a glow coming through it I knew was from the streetlights outside. I’d considered trying to see out, but even if I climbed up to the window, I wouldn’t be able to see anything through the opaque reinforced glass. The only other light in the room was a bright fluorescent shaft of light from the observation window set into the green metal door. Even though it was my first night in this cell, I knew in about ten minutes that light would disappear as the prison guards turned off the main lights to the wing.
Other than the bunk bed I was sitting on and the bare toilet in the corner, the only furniture in the cell was a small table with a chair and a cabinet bolted to the wall near the window. I lay back on the bottom bunk, wriggling to fit myself into the bed. They weren’t made for people my size. That much was for certain. I’d
been told that my cellmate, who was in the hospital wing for a few days, had already claimed the top bunk. I couldn’t see any point in making a scene about it. Not on my first day, anyway.
The events of the last few weeks ran through my mind as I examined the bottom of the mattress above me. Being arrested, being remanded, and being tried. Being found guilty.
Maths had never been my strong point, but I tried to do the sums in my head. I wanted to know how many times the cell door would slam before I would be eligible for parole. There were three hundred and sixty-five days in a year, so I needed to multiply that by fifteen. When I realised it was over five thousand, I gave up trying to work it out. Fifteen years was a long time, but it was the minimum term for my crime.
What inspired you to write this book?
In one word, insomnia!
I was working over in the Middle East for a 6 month fixed period, and I was living in a very small accommodation. Basically, it was a tiny shipping container with a door, not unlike a prison cell. I couldn’t sleep, and was lying there one night comparing it in my head to being in prison.
Now I’ve never been in prison, but one of the things that I thought about while I was trying to get to sleep was what would it be like to actually be in prison? Then, from there, what would it be like to be in prison for a crime you didn’t commit! And from there, Blind Justice was born.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m currently writing a dark comedy called ‘Meat’. It’s a very different book to Blind Justice, but it’s such a good story that I just have to get it out there! It’s set in a post-Brexit United Kingdom, and involves pig farming. I’m not going to say any more than that, other than the tag line for the book is ‘That Wasn’t Pork’…
How did you come up with the concept and characters for the book?
It was more a case of they came to me. Once I had the overall concept, some of the characters were obvious. I introduced one a bit later on – Laura Flynn – to avoid having an all male ‘cast’, and she quickly became one of my favourite characters. We’ll definitely be seeing more of her in the future!
Where did you come up with the names in the story?
I use a fantastic writing tool called Scrivener to write with. One of the features it has is a character name generator. I used it to come up with names that I liked, and that I thought fit the characters.
What did you enjoy most about writing this book?
Finishing it! Seriously, it turned into a bit of a slog in the end, because I wanted the book to be as good as it could be.
Tell us about your main characters- what makes them tick?
My main character is a man called Gareth Dawson, and I guess to an extent there’s elements of me in the character. He’s not particularly complex, just a normal man in abnormal circumstances. With respect to the other characters, I would say there’s an undercurrent of fairness within them all – they all want the right thing to happen, but their motives are different.
Who designed your book covers?
I used a company called The Cover Collection. Their work is fantastic, and Debbie – the designer I worked with – was lovely.
If you could spend time with a character from your book whom would it be? And what would you do during that day?
It would have to be Jennifer, Gareth’s wife, just to see if she’s as perfect as Gareth thinks she is! I would like to take her out for a meal to try to find out what makes her tick.
What did you edit out of this book?
There was a lot that ended up on the editing room floor. The first draft came in at way over 140,000 words, which is far too long. It’s difficult to go into too much detail about what was cut as this would give away parts of the story that I want readers to enjoy.
novel, Blind Justice, was published in March 2018.
has a Norwich City football club season ticket, and is the proud
part-owner of a Daschund puppy called Bertie.
dark post-Brexit comedy. It’s currently scheduled to be released in
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