Novel Launch – She’s Out There Somewhere

My novel ‘She’s Out There Somewhere’ is launched on Kindle today.

You can view it here.

Thanks to everyone who helped with viewpoints about the cover. I received a lot of feedback on wordpress, Twitter, and good old-fashioned word of mouth.

The vote was quite tight, but came out as a tie between the black and white photo cover of the gatepost, or (following advice and discussion) development of a template. After careful consideration I opted for a template and this is the result below. I think it has the air of a thriller and hope the design gives the impression of a missing body/person and broken or failed communication.

The story outline/tease is here:

A chance discovery leads to Chrissy Clews investigating the disappearance of schoolfriend Laura, who went missing thirty years ago. The case was shrouded in secrecy with rumours about the involvement of a group of local men, and even Chrissy herself, in Laura’s disappearance.

After her release from care Chrissy is quietly rebuilding her life working at a motorway service station when her former teacher walks in and tries to discreetly buy a porn magazine. He doesn’t recognise her, but when he drops his wallet she hides it and can’t resist looking inside. She’s shocked to find a tatty passport photo of Laura Duggan, a school friend who went missing 30 years ago and was never seen again.
Chrissy decides to investigate but, with a troubled past and history of violence, how will she find Laura and get at the truth of what happened? Laura was a friend of Chrissy’s, but they fell out. Is it possible she had involvement in Laura’s disappearance? If she can find out the truth will anyone believe her?

I am sorting out a few review copies as requested, so please bear with me (also as I sort teething issues and Amazon profile etc.)

Once again, thanks for all your support and interest and comments.

Can you help me choose the cover?

If you have a few seconds free, I’d really appreciate your opinion…..

I’ve written a book which, subject to any late changes, I’m going to self publish in the coming weeks.

It’s a suspense/thriller novel of around 95,000 words called ‘I Know She’s Out There.’

I’m preparing the cover and tidying/editing the text at the moment.

To assist I’ve included the elevator pitch below:

After her release from psychiatric care Chrissy Clews is quietly rebuilding her life working at a motorway service station when her former teacher walks in and tries to discreetly buy a porn magazine. He doesn’t recognise her, but when he drops his wallet she hides it and can’t resist looking inside. She’s shocked to find a tatty passport photo of Laura Duggan, a school friend who went missing 30 years ago and was never seen again. She decides to investigate…

I’ve taken some images and mocked up covers. Obviously, I’m an amateur at this kind of thing (very much Sunday pub league), but please let me know if you have a preferred option, or indeed, if another approach is required.

When I publish I’d be delighted if anyone wishes to have a copy to review.

Thanks for your time.

Where do you write?

Where do you find it easiest to write? I can write in noisy and crowded places. In fact I often find it easier to write when there are things going on around me. I wrote many short stories and a few non-fiction pieces when I was working on the railway. I would often be in crowded trains travelling between Euston, Birmingham or Milton Keynes. I still managed to write. I think train carriages are great as the view is always changing and there’s (usually) an unwritten understanding that you don’t interrupt the peace.

Cold Meece

Occasionally, for similar reasons to above, I write at the motorway services near Stafford. It’s not far from where I live, there is always space and I find it easy to concentrate. It’s a bit of a secret as most people stop at larger nearby services but the grounds here are great and not used much even in summer. Below is the fountain and lake and above the perimeter view towards Cold Meece.

Water way to travel

I like writing at home too – the kitchen table and soon the garden office we’ve built – as well as coffee shops in town. I’ve heard that some writers require a wall in front of their desk and silence. Stephen King writes with rock music playing. Hemingway famously wrote standing up.

Notebooks on the kitchen table

I’ve just completed a novel called ‘The Last Photo of You’ which took many, many months of labour. It’s weighed in at 98k words and is out there with agents so fingers crossed. I’m about to begin planning another book. As we spend so much time writing the right environment is critical.

How do you write? Do you need silence, or music, or coffee? Do you need a desk? Do you write on the move?


I write poems from time to time and also capture memories of growing up in my series Fade to Gravy.

I’ve written about the importance of keeping notebooks elsewhere on this blog. I have a shelf full of them going back to 2006/7. It’s interesting to see many of my ideas recur, perhaps giving them weight. I also collect memories and anecdotes such as this. You never know when they may be useful.

I’m planning to write longer fiction again, perhaps a novel. This is inspired by a recent change in direction and fresh desire after a difficult time.

I’ve been reading happier fiction and it’s helped my mindset – always PG Wodehouse, but writers such as David Nobbs, John Mortimer and Rachel Joyce too.

Keeping notes and ideas is vital. Writing a novel is very hard to sustain. Ideas and sparks of imagination give it life and direction. Then there is only the easy bit of managing story, structure, development.

I wrote a story some years ago that was published in the Cheshire Prize for Literature. It’s a brief memory/experience but one I’ve always remembered.

You can read it here –

I’ve also recorded a few thoughts. Perhaps it’ll find a place somewhere……

What do we do with our (empty) historic buildings?

This is the former County Fruit Stores in Mill Street, Stafford. As you can see it was built in 1610 – during the reign of James I – and was a home up until 1900, when it was converted to a shop.

It closed a few years ago and was a community venture for a while but I hope this beautiful shop can find another use.

My hometown of Stafford isn’t as celebrated as the neighbouring county towns of Chester and Shrewsbury, but has some wonderful buildings, such as the Ancient High House, almshouses and Shire Hall. We can’t afford to let our historical buildings fall into disuse and disrepair, but we must find uses for them.

Similarly, Stafford’s Shire Hall (above) remains unused, or has for most of the last few years.

Work began on the hall in 1795, replacing an earlier structure. It was designed by John Harvey and built in a classical style from stone quarried a few miles away at Tixall. Inside there are numerous rooms, a gallery space and the old courtrooms. Sadly, the building ceased to be used as an excellent gallery space for art, with a great coffee shop alongside. It also had access into the former library, now moved to Staffordshire Place.

There is a real atmosphere inside and important history. Men were sent in chains from this building to penal colonies in New South Wales and Tasmania for stealing a chicken or loaf of bread.

Seemingly without a purpose the Hall has largely been disused, which is extremely sad. It forms a focal point for the town and I’d love to see it occupied again. Buildings need to be loved and enjoyed, and not just by pigeons.

So, what can be done?

Wen I worked in Carlisle a former mill was used as a safe space for young people to play music, try out poems and comedy, and chat. There was no alcohol, and minimum supervision. I’d love it if the council, perhaps backed by businesses, would consider using the Shire Hall in this way, even for one or two evenings a week. A business case can’t be evidenced, but we might produce future artists, musicians and comedians and we’d bring laughter and music back to this wonderful building.