Writing – The Journey (Blog Post No 3) – Mike Layton

‘Black Over Bill’s Mother’s – A Storm Is Coming’ – what on earth does that title mean? In fact its a perfect introduction to a book which has Birmingham at its very heart. The version of the saying which co-author Steve Burrows and I choose to use is that ‘Bill’s Mother’ was in fact William Shakespeare’s mother with the obvious connection to Stratford Upon Avon. In years gone by Brummies’ used to look across in the direction of Stratford and if rain clouds were gathering they would utter the phrase. This is the first historical crime fiction book written  by Steve and myself. It is a book to which we are both emotionally attached and in which we have 100% belief in the depth of the story lines. We were both born in Birmingham, and worked in the police in Birmingham – our roots are imbedded in the UKs second city and we are proud of our heritage. Most books are about 80,000 words but this is a big book spanning a period of time between 1943 and 2004 and over 140,000 words. When we were planning the characters we settled on three main figures – the Docker twins and Patrick Quinn. In his teenage years Steve was an enthusiastic biker and it was only natural that he would take on Patrick Quinn – a hardened biker who was also an IRA assassin and a born survivor who ultimately had no choice but to tread a path of violence. For my part I wanted to develop the character of Rob Docker – a white twin who went on to become the epitome of corruption within the police service. Not to be confused with ‘noble cause corruption’ there is nothing about Rob Dockers character that could offer redemption and there are absolutely no depths to which he will not go in pursuit of his personal agenda. He is a character that readers can dislike with a passion but if he were real he would in fact care less. That left us to deal with Joe Docker the black twin. In this case Steve and I decided to share the development of his character. The reality is that in many ways he never stood a chance as a he faced sexual exploitation and racism at every turn. A man who was a victim as well as a deadly killer and gangster figure, and yet retained so much dignity and decency within his soul which still at times fought its way to the surface.There are more murders in ‘Black Over Bill’s Mothers’ than fingers on two hands and this is not a book for those searching for a relaxing read. It is not meant to be violently gratuitous in terms of the style of writing but it is deliberately tough and uncompromising. Steve and I both believe that the journey these characters embark upon would make a brilliant TV series or feature-length film – another generation of the Peaky Blinders concept – and we remain hopeful that one day someone will give it a rightful home in pictures. By 2020 ‘Black Over  Bill’s Mothers’ will form part of a four-book series – who is still standing by the end of the last book will be for readers to discoverblack over bills mother ebook cover!

‘Black Over Bill’s Mothers’ is available on Amazon in either paperback or as an E Book and currently has fifty-seven great reviews, many from female readers, with a massive score of 4.9 stars out of a maximum of 5.  https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01HQN8Q2W/

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