Stephen Collier’s Late Bloom into Crime Fiction, Influences, and the Cinematic Dreams of ‘Blind Murder’

A Retired Policeman’s Journey into Crime Fiction

PHOTO: Dive into the intriguing world of crime fiction with Stephen Collier, a retired police officer turned author, as he shares insights, inspirations, and the art of storytelling in this exclusive interview with Reader’s House magazine.

Stephen Collier came late in life to writing. It was only after he had retired from the police service he felt he had the wherewithal and experience of being able to write a book. As a copper, the incidents he attended gave him many opportunities to dig into his memory and pull out some of his darker knowledge. As a business man following on from his police role, but still training officers, he travelled all over the world, spending a lot of time in Hong Kong. Hence, his third book ‘Crimson Dragon,’ (written for his MA). Stephen is currently working on a screenplay of his first book, ‘Blind Murder,’ and writing the third book in the Jordan & Kingsfield trilogy. Stephen lives with his partner, Sarah, in deepest and darkest Northamptonshire and provides support to four ageing cats.

Which writers working today do you admire most?

There are so many talented writers of crime fiction today it is difficult to choose only one. But having grown up with the likes of John Mortimer’s, Rumpole of the Bailey, Simenon’s, Maigret and, of course, Agatha Christie, I suppose all of them have influenced my writing. Today’s cohort of CF writers, which really kicked off my ideas to writing when I left the police service, would include Sir Ian Rankin, Stuart MacBride, Val McDermid, Lee Child, and more recently Anthony Horowitz.

If I had to choose out of those, it would probably be Stuart MacBride, as I can engage with his Logan McCrae character. There is an author Jane Issac, who is local to me and a writer of crime fiction. I find her characters engaging and certainly a page turner.

What genres do I especially enjoy reading?

My genres are very wide-ranging. Other than being a compulsive crime fiction and true crime reader, I’m also interested in science fiction, historical novels with perhaps a paranormal twist – Barbara Erskine for example. I have a fascination with all kinds of paranormal stuff from my childhood which for some reason doesn’t seem that easy to translate into a novel or short stories.

How has my life as a police officer affected my writing?

There needs to be a concerted effort to try to not turn my novel chapters into a formal report. Having written reports and policy documents that went up as far as the Home Secretary, I sometimes read through a chapter I’ve written and it sounds like an interview with a defendant. The more I write though, and the further I get away from that job, the less of a problem it has become.

What can an indie author do to promote their books?

Marketing one’s own books is extremely time consuming, when I really ought to be getting down to completing my work in progress. To be honest for most indie authors it can be expensive. Independent authors do not have the financial resources of a publishing house to promote, promote, promote. Many indie authors I know, have to balance the need to write against maintaining promotion of their books. It is, to say the least a juggling act and unfortunately some excellent writers may feel that it is no longer in their best interest and give up completely.

 How can my previous occupations help budding crime fiction writers?

Most of my time as a police officer was spent around cars and traffic departments, but the fundamental procedures of any offence are the same. Under guise of ‘The Coppers Coach,’ the one thing that I can help with is to provide advice and guidance for those authors who write crime fiction and may struggle to come to terms with police procedures. Having an intimate knowledge of how the police service works I can give some insight to the nuance of detailed investigations.

Why did I decide to get into screenwriting?

I’ve always been a bit of a film buff. Never been into what I call the ‘soppy’ stuff, but action, adventure, sci-fi and the like. Several readers had said to me in the past that Blind Murder would be good as a film/TV show, so I thought, why not give it a go?—Nothing to lose there. So, I’ve finally written Blind Murder as a screenplay. I just need someone to produce it now.

What of the future?

Although I am of retirement age, I’m afraid it’s not for me. I shall continue to write crime fiction. There are a number of ideas in the works. I would like to write a few Short Stories and definitely look at other screenplays, not related to my books. 2024 is in Chinese mythology the year of The Dragon. It is a powerful and auspicious creature representing courage, creativity, and innovation. 2024 promises to be a year full of possibilities and opportunities.

PHOTO: Unveiling the gripping tales of crime and intrigue: Stephen Collier’s literary journey, from ‘Blind Murder’ to the exotic realms of ‘Crimson Dragon’—a tapestry woven with police wisdom, global adventures, and the shadows of Northamptonshire.

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