The Haszard stories are classified (by me) as crime/mystery/fiction/black comedy narratives. They're based on a group of friends of the mysterious Haszard, who has an uncanny nack of attracting trouble. The stories are slightly longer than average novel length, and do involve a lot of characters, many of which are spoken to once, and not seen again.
I began writing the series twenty-five years ago. At the time, a TV programme called Lovejoy was first screened, and I loved it. Months later, I was in a bookshop and saw one of the novels by Jonathan Gash. I bought it there and then, and was overjoyed at the fact that it was a narrative, because I used to write narratives in my English classes whilst at school, and according to the teacher, was a good storyteller. My love of writing was revived, and I made the decision to write a full length story. At the time, I was approaching the end of my medical training in Southampton. Throughout that time I spend many of the evenings in the hospital's student bar, which provided me the inspiration for what is now A Light in the Darkness.
Pleased with how it went, I wrote a follow-up, which is now the fifth story in the series. I then moved to Derby, and rewrote the first story, featuring where I was living, rather than where I had been. They were then shelved, put to the back of a cupboard, and were forgotten about until four years ago, when I decided to look at them again, and when I did, I had something of a shock. I'd originally written Haszard to be a womaniser, and a bit of a git, so set to changing him. Haszard is now a mixture of me, what I would like me to be, and what I would never dare to be.
The friends of Haszard are all based upon people I have known. Some may seem rather outlandish, but they are real people, although I do admit to pepping some of them up in certain areas.
The stories vary quite considerably, yet always keep within the basic formula. Some storiesare true whodunits, whereas others possess whodunit characteristics, but that element isn't the raison-detre for the story. Some are centred around a theme, and some follow a trail, starting out as one thing, yet ending up with something completely different. Also, some contain smaller side stories, which interlace with the main plot.
Throughout Haszard's tongue in cheek stories, he will encounter all kinds of problems, such as buried treasure, missing persons, serial killers, lost artefacts, mysterious families, a religious cult, devil worshippers, smugglers and a plethora of other subjects. The plan is for thirty stories, the last of which will see an explanation of who Haszard is and what the mystery and tragedy of his past entails.
Although the stories do have a serious side, they are written to entertain, with white humour as well as black. In the third story, Grace enters the cast, and Grace who's actually based on a real person provides many of the outrageous moments of comedy. Some may find her unbelievable, but the person she is based upon is quite a character and no, I shan't ever divulge who it is.
For me, inspiration comes from many places. On some occasions, something in a painting can provide an idea, while at other times it could be something on television. One example of this is the seventeenth story, which was inspired by a two second clip in ironically a comedy drama. Places I've been can ignite an idea as well. I can be out and about, and see something, thinking, That would be good. Basically, I have an odd mind.
A final note. The stories do run in series, but have been written for anyone to pick whatever story up at whatever part in the series. There is a change to things at some point, but that's a worry for a later date, and will be tackled as and when.