Blog Tour: Read about Word Building in @seasick_stu's book, They Shoot Corpses, Don't They? @lovebooksgroup

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An original blend of crime fiction and horror - Zombie Noir.

Pat O’Hare is the only (living) private detective in Farrelton, a crime-ridden city still recovering from the ravages of an undead uprising. Pat is hired to find the missing granddaughter of a rich industrialist. But, what starts out as simple enough job turns into a fight for survival as he finds himself pulled into a deadly mystery where nobody can be trusted. Helped only by a trigger happy ex-cop and a washed up boxer with a pathological fear of trees, Pat has to use every trick in the book just to stay alive. Caught between corrupt police, gun-wielding hitmen and a ruthless crime lord, Pat soon learns that the zombies are not the most dangerous creatures in town.  

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Word Building with Author CS McLean:

Some writers are well known for setting their books in a real place and writing so vividly that the location becomes a character in their books -  whether it is Stuart MacBride’s Aberdeen, Ian Rankin’s Edinburgh or Raymond Chandler’s Los Angeles.

Other writers like to set their books in wholly fictional places.  World building is something that fantasy and science fiction writers do all the time.  It is less common with crime fiction, although there are many fine examples where this has worked – Peter Robinson’s Eastvale and Richard Price’s Dempsey spring to mind.
It is a choice that every writer has to make.  To use an example from comics, do you take the Marvel approach and set your stories in real places, or do you use the DC approach and create cities like Gotham and Metropolis? 

My own novel is set in the fictional city of Farrelton, USA.  So, why did I make that choice?  Well, there are advantages and disadvantages to both.

Creating a fictional setting does give you the freedom to play God.  You can create whatever environment suits your story.  For example, I wanted to write a scene where a character falls into a river in one location, and washes ashore in another district.  It was simple enough idea except that, according to the map I had scribbled on a sheet of flipchart paper, the river didn’t go through both locations.  The solution was simple.  I moved the river.

The disadvantage is that a fictional location may not have the same feeling of place as a real setting.  To counteract this, I try to base every location on a real place, albeit one which is tweaked according to my needs.  In my book, a character can walk out of the Fallen Angel, loosely based upon a real bar in Chicago, and step into the Nite Cat Diner, modelled after a restaurant in Ohio.  

Having a fictional location suits me.  I can move whole districts around, use descriptions of locales that are really hundreds of miles apart, and drop in new locations as the story needs them.

Best of all, I really like Farrelton.  The city is one of my favourite characters.  I just wouldn’t want to live there.

About the Author:

Stuart McLean (aka CS McLean) is a writer currently living in St Albans. He studied Chemistry at the University of Hertfordshire – although, this was back in the days when the Premiership was still called Division One and Hatfield was still a Polytechnic.

He was shortlisted for the first Margery Allingham short story competition, and was twice shortlisted for the Bloody Scotland short story competition.

Stuart was a finalist in the 2016 Bloody Scotland Pitch Perfect competition, in which he pitched his brand of zombie noir to a largely bewildered group of panellists. He was also chosen as one of the 2018 Bloody Scotland Crime in the Spotlight authors, a platform to highlight new and emerging crime writers.

When not writing, Stuart likes to play various musical instruments, all very badly; guitar, ukulele, trumpet and harmonica. But, not at the same time.

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