Cold Day Dawning is out in the world and getting a great reaction – always a relief. I thought I’d share a little bit of my writing process and how I came to create one of the main characters Antoni Nowak.
Antoni was easy in a way as he had already
appeared in a supporting role in the previous book Deep Waters. I
make detailed notes and bios of all my characters, so I already knew his
backstory. The challenge this time was to discover how his injuries in the last
book had impacted upon him.
Antoni is a photographer who runs a gallery in
the town centre with his brother Roger. He was left in a critical condition at
the end of Deep Waters with serious injuries. When we meet him
again, his physical wounds have healed but the mental scars have left a more
lasting impact. He suffers from anxiety attacks, lack of appetite and has
trouble sleeping, but he’s a survivor and is slowly rebuilding his life with
support from his family and friends.
I found myself digging deep into my own past
for this. I went through an event in 2012 that left me with PTSD for a several
years afterwards. While my own experience was more psychological than physical,
I was able to tap into that to address Antoni’s circumstances in this book.
I plan all of my stories and characters in project books. No modern software or folder structures for me – it’s all done on pen and paper. I use a lot of actors and models to give the physical features for the characters. Again, I’m very old school with this, printing and cutting out photos of people I like.
So Antoni already had a detailed bio and
physical description from my Deep Waters story notes. For this
book I had to update them with what he’d been through since and where he was
When Antoni meets handsome Dalton Caine at a
party, it seems like his life is about to take a turn for the better. But as
they get to know each other and their relationship develops, Antoni and Dalton
are plunged into a twisted mystery that put both their lives at risk.
I’m so proud of Cold Day Dawning and the character of Antoni. I enjoy romance and suspense in equal measures and feel I hit it just right in this book.