On Track For Murder by Stephen Childs

Stephen Childs [author spotlight]

BlogivalI am so pleased to today have author Stephen Childs on the blog, sharing the inspiration behind his new novel, On Track For Murder. It’s set in the 19th century and follows 18 year old Abigail as she tries to track down her father’s killer. With lots of mystery and adventure, it sounds like a great read!

It’s all part of Clink Street’s Blogival, which runs from 1- 30 June; find out more here.


On Track For Murder

Author Stephen ChildsOn Track for Murder is my debut murder mystery novel. Set in 1889 in Western Australia, the main character is eighteen year old Abigail Sergeant, freshly arrived from England with her younger brother in tow, dreaming of a better life.

My plan to author a full length fiction work was born of my own sea change. My wife and I had made the decision to leave behind our corporate executive life and head for warmer climes in search of much needed quality time for ourselves and our family. Perth, in Western Australia, became our new home. And I was instantly inspired.

Inspiration is a wonderful thing. It’s like a seed, the promise of magnificent blooms secured within. Yet without motivation and action, inspiration remains dormant; the seed stays dry in its packet. My love of storytelling had remained dormant since I was a child. Now, with time available to spend with my family, that love was to be revived.

How did it happen? We had taken a trip to a local railway museum. As we wandered around my son began regaling me with tales of exploding boilers and runaway trains. His mind was awash with fabulous stories. It took me back to my own childhood, when I would bombard my parents with equally bizarre fabrications. On that trip I spent considerable time – more than my son felt reasonable – staring at old black and white photographs: early train crews forging routes to remote outback towns, defying the harshness of the environment in their resolve to expand the colony. My interest had been piqued.

With time now my friend I set about searching the West Australian records. I was entranced. Most people know of the establishment of Sydney as a British penal colony. Yet few know of the growth of Perth and Albany as essentially commercial enterprises designed to secure the region for the British Empire. I couldn’t ignore this fascination. I was moved to action.

On Track For Murder by Stephen ChildsOddly, it was a diversion from Australian history that brought about the idea for a young female lead character. I was perusing old transport records when I stumbled upon a compelling historical account. Unrelated to Australian history it was the story of Bertha Benz, wife of Karl Benz, inventor of the Patent Motorwagen, the first successful automobile. Bertha had been inspired by their invention and had embarked, without her husband’s knowledge, on a mammoth 65 mile journey across Germany, taking two of her children with her. During the journey she managed to effect necessary repairs to the vehicle and arrived unscathed at her destination, hailed as a heroine. This story inspired the creation of Abigail Sergeant: a woman for whom the impending journey appears impossible, yet driven by her self-belief she manages to overcome and succeed.
I was inspired and motivated. I had my location, time period and main character. Now what to do with them?

I have always been fascinated by the way we humans communicate. As part of my work in the business world I am called upon to create and edit documents that form the basis for decision making. These need to be formed with minimal ambiguity to avoid any possible misinterpretation.

It was essentially rebellion against this premise that drove my decision to pursue the mystery genre. I love the idea of presenting readers with evidence that can be interpreted many different ways, then tempting them with side issues and red herrings. I find this freedom to explore ambiguity and misdirection incredibly refreshing. A complete turn around from my conclusive work in the business world.

Thus I had my character inspired by Bertha Benz, my time period and location inspired by the amazing Western Australian landscape, and a genre inspired by a desire to break free from the confines of business writing.

I was inspired and I had the time to sit at my computer and write. Abigail Sergeant was created and On Track for Murder saw the light of day.

I love writing. I love seeing the story unfold as I type. So I continue to write. Abigail’s next adventure is well underway. I’ve also commenced work on an audiobook version, which will be perfect for those rush hour traffic jams.

I hope you enjoy reading On Track for Murder and the subsequent tales to follow.”


On Track For Murder is out to buy now from Amazon. View it on Goodreads here: On Track For Murder

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