When I was asked to write a crime thriller series for young adults I was delighted. There is always a crime of some kind in my books. I love mysteries and secrets. And because my last book had been about a girl, I decided that my crime thrillers would have a boy as the hero. But how to get a boy who could follow people, move from place to place, keep his identity a secret? After all, most boys would have a curfew, someone waiting at home for them, school to go to during the day? I wanted to find a way round that.
So, I thought, what if my boy was a runaway?
And as soon as I think, ‘ what if’, I know a story is beginning to grow in my head.
If he’s a runaway, no one is waiting for him at home, he doesn’t have to go to school, and he can move from place to place.
So the next question was…why is he on the run?
I hadn’t a clue so I thought, ‘what if’ my boy hasn’t got a clue either? He wakes up in the very first book, from a terrible nightmare, not knowing who he is, where he is, or how he got there. All he knows is he has some awful secret locked in his head and a Dark Man coming after him. Then, in each book, a little of his memory comes back, and he has to keep out of the Dark Man’s clutches.
So I had my overall story of Ram, the boy with no name and no memory. I decided to call the series, NEMESIS, because Nemesis is the Greek Goddess of justice and retribution, and in each book, Ram brings justice and retribution to the villains. And in each story, as well as learning a little more about his past, he has to solve a completely separate mystery.
In INTO THE SHADOWS, the first in the series, Ram finds a dying man in a lift and is accused of his murder.
In THE BEAST WITHIN he is found by a couple who claim he is their beloved nephew, Noel. At first, he thinks he might be indeed, but a boy is missing, a body is found on the moors, and some kind of wild beast is roaming there. I had a great time writing that one!
In SINISTER INTENT Ram sees strange lights in the night sky, and creatures that don’t look human. He is rescued by an old woman, Bella Bartell. An old woman with a secret who lives in a small town where people are going missing.
The final book in the series, the one where Ram remembers the terrible secret, and finally gets his memory back is entitled, RIDE OF DEATH
I’m still putting the final touches to this one. But it has a surprise at the end. I love surprise endings!
I’ve grown very fond of Ram. He hasn’t any special powers. He has no gadgets to help him. He’s not a boy spy, nor has he been trained by the SAS. He’s just a boy who has to rely on his wits, his intelligence and his courage to get him out of all the tricky, dangerous and terrible situations I put him into.
Also in each of the books, you will see that by the end, no one has actually seen him except a special few, his own age. In INTO THE SHADOWS, it is Gaby and Zoe. No one else in the town actually believes he really did exist. Except the young policeman, Lewis Ferguson, who didn’t ever see him.
In THE BEAST WITHIN he really does step into someone’s shoes and steps out again without anyone admitting he was even there. In SINISTER INTENT, well, I would be giving too much away if I told you how he disappears without a trace in that one.