THE STATE TRILOGY A-Z GUIDE: D

My A-Z theme this year is a guide to my trilogy of novels called ‘The State Trilogy’. Set in an unnamed island country known only as ‘The State’, in the imagined near future, the books follow the intertwining stories of a number of characters, principally a State police detective named Danny Samson and an assassin, Gabriella Marino, over a period of six years. It begins with the assassination of an elected official and spirals into revolution and civil war. Part political thriller, action story, war story and dystopian science fiction, the trilogy took three years to complete and the books are available to read now – you can find links to purchase them HERE

In The State Trilogy, ‘D’ stands for:

Danny Samson: Detective Danny Samson is the central character of The State Trilogy. His name is not an accident – he has to go through a number of trials through the course of the years covered by the story, and before we meet him he has already had to cope with tragedy in his own life. While detectives are of course some of the most famous and over-used characters in fiction, I wanted to make sure Danny was a well-rounded person, and unlike many other detectives in fiction, he is not exceptional at his job. He is no Sherlock or Poirot or even a Rebus. He is an everyday officer who has risen through the ranks without ever excelling. In the future world that the stories are set in, being a police officer is unlike the present day version. Most crimes are solved by science without any real detecting needing to be done. The murder rate and crime rate is very low. Few detectives have ever really had much experience of handling a full investigation. I also wanted Danny to reflect a real person in his physical appearance and ability. He is a bit overweight in his middle-age, he is balding. When it comes to using a gun or fighting or running, he is no expert and relies on his colleagues with military backgrounds to get him out of sticky situations. As he moves through the story and the times, he adapts and improves at these things, as needs must. He has lost a wife, his children and his friends. He is a lonely character seeking a purpose, and he finds it in his duty to expose and fight against the corrupt State.

Donald Parkinson: A Consul in the local Central City Parliament. An experienced and well-known Central Alliance Party politician whose assassination at the start of ‘A Justified State’ begins the story. The investigation of his death by Danny Samson reveals the dark secrets that lie at the corrupt heart of the State.

Diabetes: When I wrote the first novel in the trilogy, ‘A Justified State’, in 2017, I knew a little about diabetes – my mother-in-law and brother-in-law are both type-1 diabetics. It never occurred to me to include a type-1 diabetic character in any of my books. Not many novels feature characters with this auto-immune illness, and when they do, it’s usually type-2 diabetes (see the Inspector Morse novels by Colin Dexter). Then, just as I was starting to think about a follow-up to my first book, my own son developed type-1 diabetes at the age of four. Suddenly, our world revolved around it. After a week in hospital, we settled in to a new life of blood tests, finger pricks, insulin injections and carb counting. It’s hard not to be over-whelmed. It’s hard not to be anxious and worried. Like many writers, one outlet for my new world of anxiety was through writing. Book two, ‘State of Denial,’ follows Danny as he lives in the wilderness and befriends a woman with a diabetic son. Soon, it is up to Danny to save this boy by getting him back to the city and to hospital. As well as helping me deal with my own anxiety, it felt good to include a character that can help educate others about this awful incurable and unpreventable disease.

Next up – E is for: Eilidh, Elections, Editing, European Union and Elisabeth Sand.

All the entries in the A-Z of ‘The State Trilogy’ can be found HERE

The books are available from a wide selection of online retailers, including AMAZON

46 thoughts on “THE STATE TRILOGY A-Z GUIDE: D

  1. Following your A to Z makes me realise how much research and thinking goes into developing the characters. And that’s only one part, then there’s the plot, the locations, etc. It’s very interesting to get an insight in your work like this!

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    1. Thanks so much. I often think people forget that side, especially when they give negative feedback or reviews that can sometimes seem nasty, they’re forgetting how much work someone has put into it.

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  2. Thank you for sharing that personal detail about your son. I feel like it balances with your idea of a detective who is good at his job but not magically good. I have never thought about detective fiction quite that way before and it feels really fresh. Thank you for that.

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    1. Thanks Anne. I always find I am drawn to characters who rather than being smarter than everyone else, or superior, are actually just like anyone else trying to do their best and working things out along the way.

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  3. Hari OM
    A condition with which I am all too familiar, my grandad (dad’s side) was Type 1 – and of course, quite a few relos are Type 2. Also had two friends with Type 1. It’s scary when things go out of balance – for the carrier AND those in attendance!

    I love the idea of making the hero less than one… in the conventional sense. Allowing room for ‘everyday hero’… YAM xx

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  4. I can’t even imagine what it must have been like when your son’s condition was diagnosed.

    I like the fact that Detective Samson is your average kind of guy. So many fictional detectives are over the top, but yours brings a touch of realism to the story.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Exactly Keith, although I have had the odd bit of feedback that they wished Samson would be more proactive and take control, but I find most people are not like that, and that is the journey his character has to go on.

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  5. I’m a type II diabetic, it came on when I was 40. Prior to me, there was nobody in the family who had it (that anyone knew of). My mother and her eldest sister both had geriatric onset diabetes though. Now three of my cousins on my mother’s side have been told they have it, and I have one sibling that might have it but is in denial about it. I don’t know how people who have type I and the onset is in childhood or even at birth can stand the mental anguish of the danged disease. Maybe since they have to use insulin and are on a restricted diet from the get-go, it’s easier, but I bet it’s not. Thankfully research continues and there are so many more medications and regimes now. My own diabetes is not ‘normal’, I suspect in the future the doctors will find that there’s a spectrum to diabetes, just like they’ve found for autism and other conditions. I think drawing from real-life experience adds a dimension to your story that wouldn’t be there otherwise.

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    1. Thanks Melanie. There is definitely a spectrum for diabetes. We often complain that type-1 and type-2 are both referred to as the same thing ‘diabetes’, when in actual fact the causes are very different. For my son growing up, I want to make sure the stigma associated with type-2 is not attached to him, such as unhealthy diet and lifestyle, because they have nothing to do with type-1 diabetes! Hope you are well.

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      1. Type II diabetics have to deal with the stigma and false information that they have type II because of their diet and exercise regime, but it’s patently false. There are very healthy people who eat right and exercise vigorously who get type II. It’s genetics. My sibling who refuses to even find out if he has it (his sugar levels are borderline) runs every day and works at a very physically demanding job. He’s never weighed more than 10 pounds over what he ought to either. Me? I’m the poster child for someone who has abused her body by lack of rigorous exercise and diet, so maybe for me the stigma isn’t such a lie, but it’s not entirely true either.

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  6. You are right – the detective is a very overused figure – my character Jack seems to have been co-opted by Stig who is more of a guardian (to Hawaii 2) than a detective. Still, your post has made me think that I need to develop Stig’s back story a bit. I realised I had repeated Chapter 3 this morning – Chapter 4 is there now… Doh!

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    1. Yes, the key is to make your detective stand out somehow, be different. In a crowded marketplace it’s tricky, but there’s always room to innovate!

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  7. I love the insight into how you developed your characters. And that you included a character living with diabetes – I do think fiction novels can be a great way to educate people and raise awareness. Hope your son is doing well!

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  8. I like how you incorporate your real life situations into the storyline. Like you said it helped you process your son’s situation. I just watched a movie, “Greenland,” where the young boy in it has Type I diabetes. It’s a disaster film where the family is trying to get to safety but his condition features pretty prominently.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, we saw that one too and could relate to the parents a lot! The only bit we found unbelievable was when they left his insulin in the car – no parent of a diabetic child ever leaves house or car without triple checking the insulin is in the bag!! 😉

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  9. I like that Danny is a “regular guy.” I had Type 2 diabetes (started with gestational diabetes when I was pregnant) but after I lost weight I was able to get off all meds and now don’t have it anymore. I know Type I is worse. Positive thoughts for your family.

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    1. Thanks Janet, that’s amazing that you were able to turn it around, well done. Yes, the worst part of type-1 is definitely the unrelenting part of knowing there is no cure, no break, just the same regime for every day for the rest of his life – it makes it daunting when we think about it in that way – so living in the moment is a much better way to deal with it mentally! Who knows, one day they might find a cure.

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  10. Stopping by from the A-Z today, I’m definitely intrigued by some of your characters and am going to go check out some of the other posts. I think its great you’re incoorporating something that many authors haven’t. This adds a great element of “real life” in the story.

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  11. Its nice to meet Danny given his centrality to the stories. I agree with many of the other commenters — its brave and generous of you to share the story of your son, then build it into your books. It makes a story richer and realistic.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I like the level of detail you have put into your detective. I also love that you are bringing real-world struggles like illness into your world. I think it is so important for readers who have these life struggles to see themselves in the world of fiction.

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  13. I think what I’m most curious about is how police work would be different in a world with lower crime and less “detecting” needing to be done, especially given the recent focus on police reform.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, it’s interesting. I explore it more in the first novel. In a world where science and technology can answer everything, we lose the judgements of instinct and problem solving – a bit like calculators replacing mental arithmetic. Thanks for stopping by.

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  14. I am liking the detailed research you have put in developing each character in your novels and also the personal angle and experiences add to it.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Your incorporation of Diabetes has certainly struck a chord as I see from all the emails showing follow up comments. My step-son became Type 1 shortly after his mother and I got together and yes – you rapidly become an expert.
    On the subject of characters, not for this novel but for the first one I started (and still hope to complete) because the time span of the plot is much greater, I had to resort to an Excel spreadsheet to keep track of characters and their timelines…

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  16. “Write what you know” they say, and oh my did it work so well here, as clearly you were able to depict not only the practicalities but the emotions involved in having a child with type 1 Diabetes.

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  17. Oh, this is such a cool idea, and I love how breaking down your characters helps us know a little bit more about you. Type 1 and 2 diabetes run in my family, and the most fascinating thing I learned is that adults can also get type 1 diabetes, that it’s not necessarily “juvenile diabetes.” I’m glad writing helped you cope with the anxiety of your son’s diagnosis, and I am very intrigued by your detective and his everydayness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Akilah, glad you are enjoying the posts. Yes, my mother-in-law developed type-1 in her thirties, my brother-in-law in his teens, and my son when he was 4 – so it can happen at any age!

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