I was alone in my office, head down, trying to catch up on the editing for Lazy Days, when I became aware of someone watching me from the doorway.
I looked up to find DI David Snow, Kate’s Snowman, standing there looking very fit and well. His retirement/holiday had done him the world of good.
The sound of his voice sliding over my name caused the usual flutter in my stomach, something I was delighted hadn’t changed a bit. “Hi to you too…what are you doing here? I thought you had retired or something.”
“No, I know that was your plan, but I had other ideas.”
I really should ask him in, make him sit down, but that could wait. I was enjoying the view far too much. I could tell he had something else on his mind, so I pushed aside the editing and reluctantly indicated the empty chair beside me.
Before he lowered himself slowly to the chair, someone else arrived and my heart sank when I realised it was my newest character, DS Mallory Davis. He had the lead role in my WIP Payback and was as different a character to David Snow as chalk from cheese. Undeniably sexy, though.
I must have looked surprised, maybe even a bit annoyed, for he began to apologise. “I can always come back later if you’re busy…”
Before I could speak, David turned to face him and invited him to stay. “What I have to say involves you too, so it’s just as well you’ve turned up.”
The atmosphere and testosterone levels in my office had reached dangerous levels, raising the hairs on the back of my neck. This was every author’s nightmare.
They were both looking at me expectantly, waiting for me to say something. In an effort to at least look as though I was in charge, I offered coffee, mainly to give me some thinking time.
“No, we won’t, if you don’t mind. This isn’t a social visit. What I have to say will probably cause you both trouble, but I have to get it off my chest.”
As I listened to David, it occurred to me that Mallory knew all about this, whatever it was. How was that even possible? Knowing I wasn’t going to like any of it, I asked, “Sounds like you both want something, so you had better just tell me.”
David began to speak, quietly and seriously about my WIP Payback. How it should have been his story. That he was my detective and the story was rightfully his.
Mallory listened patiently, his face giving nothing away, but I had the feeling he didn’t like what he was hearing. When David finished speaking, he stood up and walked around the room, and I was reminded again of a tiger stalking his prey. “Payback was never meant to be for you, David. It is a new concept with younger characters…”
David didn’t miss the emphasis on the word ‘younger’ and promptly stood up too. Both men circled around each other, making my office seem smaller by the minute.
I had a decision to make, and quickly before the situation got out of hand. The problem was even bigger than I first thought. Although I loved David, I couldn’t allow him to commandeer the lead in Payback. I had invested a lot of time and emotion creating Mallory, determined he would be a completely different character to David.
Before I could speak, David turned to Mallory. “I don’t mean that you should be deleted. I could never wish that on anyone. It’s just that I don’t want to be retired… and you…” turning to me, “have the power to do something about it!”
I had missed writing about David, but I was enjoying writing about Mallory. There had to be a solution that worked for all of us… and I had to come up with one fast.
Both men were watching me intently and it was important that my next words were the right ones. Thinking on my feet, I took a deep breath and ordered the pair of them to sit down.
“Right… Payback is Mallory’s story, and I will not change that. But there will be a new Snowman story. Not because you demand it David, but because I want to write it.”
I knew David would be the one to ask the question.
I had my answer ready. “Give me a hand with the plot and I’ll write both stories in tandem. Should be fun, don’t you think?”
After they both left, I realised that I hadn’t actually solved anything… just made my life even more complicated, if that was possible. It might be fun, though…