Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Murder! She wrote. By Ann Evans.


E-book version
We all know that most kids love scary stories, so, 11 years ago when my editor at Scholastic asked if I would do a series of ‘sealed mysteries’ I got my thinking cap on and came up with some story ideas such as priceless articles going missing and people going missing. But then...
    “No,” said the editor. “We want murder mysteries.”
    “Not a nice jewellery theft?” I suggested.
    “Murder!” she repeated.
    “How about an exciting kidnapping?” I ventured further.
    “MURDER!” she roared, her eyes sparking with excitement. (Sorry! Getting carried away.)

So murder it had to be. But as it was for children, it had to be murders without any really yucky bits - no blood, no gore, no actual terror, and certainly our young heroes couldn't be bumped off. Whoever the victim was, he was going to be murdered nicely, without any nasty stuff. And if possible, make it so he deserved it anyway!

I had a year to write the four 25,000-word books,and while I was absolutely thrilled to have got the contract, it was a long hard slog and you really had to plot! Hats off to real crime writers!

Original version
Each of my characters, even the minor ones had to have a motive for doing the dastardly deed, also the ability and the opportunity. They all had to look guilty, so there had to be lots of clues and red herrings throughout the story, plus of course enough real clues to indicate the real villain to the observant reader.

Also, the real ‘detectives’ of the stories were the main characters, such as Daniel and his best mate Jack in Pointing the Finger; or Rachel and her little sister Jessica in Pushing his Luck who were streets ahead of the 'boys in blue'. However, while our heroes and heroines were trying to solve the crime, they were sinking deeping into danger themselves.

After a year of constant writing and re-writing, three of the books were published, but alas the publisher changed their mind about publishing the fourth book even though it was at proof stage.

Now, a decade later all four titles are enjoying a fresh lease of life as my Little Tyke Murder Mysteries ebook editions and a new generation of readers will be getting stuck into a nice juicy murder - but it's murder in the best possible taste!

4 comments:

Karen said...

Sounds fun, Ann. I had a commission to write some detective stories too (The Amy Carter Mysteries) but luckily no one was to get murdered. I agree about the plotting and clues though, not as easy at it looks! Good luck with your Little Tyke Murder Mysteries.

Susan Price said...

After all that hard work - thinking of it makes me tired - I'm really glad that they're getting out there again!

Ann Evans said...

Thanks Karen and Sue.
And Karen I've read your Dognapped Amy Carter Mystery and I didn't get whodunnit! Well plotted!

Karen said...

Thanks, Ann :)