Our guest blogger this week is Tracey Shellito, author of "Personal Protection", one of our latest titles in our eCC Creative Crime imprint.
Writing fiction is like game -playing. It allows you to be whoever you want to be. The limitations of deafness, a wheelchair or ugliness, the strictures of height, weight or skin colour, the restrictions of religion, sexuality or gender matter not one whit. You can be a superhero or a heroic cop, a damsel in distress or the dyke on a white charger who rescues her.
So it was for me. I was diagnosed with chronic asthma when I was four, together with eczema and a slew of allergies too numerous to mention. Running around playing with the other kids was a no-no. And so I discovered my adventures and new worlds though books, first reading them, then writing my own.
The asthma and most of the allergies are gone now but it hasn’t changed my love of fiction or of real paper books. Nothing can beat the smell and the feel of a work you’ve written and had published in your hands. But just as writing longhand has morphed into writing direct to a word processing suite, publishing has changed. Like my beloved science fiction, the book you’re reading now is just as likely to be a series of electronic bits, bytes, kilobytes and megabytes as type printed with ink on paper by an offset lithographic printing press.
The shift to electronic publishing doesn’t mean sacrificing the quality of the work. Many of the stories you can now access via your PC, Kindle or Sony Reader were once hardback or paperback fiction, which is where Randall first saw life.
Personal Protection was my entry to the original Search For the Crème de la Crime competition, that lead to an imprint of the same name. Crime has been my literary passion, along with fantasy and science fiction, from just about the moment I learned to read. Being taken to see Goldfinger at the movies when I was six, being named after Tracey Steele - private detective in the Hawaiian Eye television series - and loaning Casino Royale from the library on my mother’s card because the librarian thought I should only be reading children’s stories when I was eight, are some of my earliest memories associated with the genre. It wasn‘t surprising that I eventually crafted my own heroine.
Unlike my earlier heroes and heroines, Randall has a basis in fact. Of all my creations she is most like me. Her looks, temperament, gender and sexuality are mine. (Which led to a few friends asking if they were other characters in the book! No, for the nth time, you really aren‘t.) Incidents that happened in my life, or things I’d like to have happened, together with a healthy dose of artistic licence made the story.
Fiction is still the best lift, for the least money, in the safest fashion you can experience. In a world where we are increasingly stressed by our jobs, lack of money and an uncertain future, communing with your inner hero is something that can make you feel good for a few hours and allow you an escape your problems long enough to get perspective and attack them with renewed purpose; whether you are reading someone else’s creations and empathising with the protagonist’s plight, or writing the character for yourself. I hope you enjoy reading Personal Protection as much as I enjoyed writing it. - Tracey Shellito