British Author Daniel Cole is here today to talk about writing and his new novel, Ragdoll. Cole has an eclectic background having worked as a paramedic, an RSPCA officer, and most recently for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution. Ragdoll is his first novel.
How did your background as a paramedic and an Animal Cruelty Prevention officer inform the story of Ragdoll?
More than anything else, I think my experiences from working within the emergency services really set the tone of the book – living in that perpetually exhausted state from the relentless shift work, the world-weary attitude and accompanying dark humour, that sense of isolation and, on occasion, even jealousy of people with more normal lives.
Each of the book’s characters handle it differently but it’s undoubtedly there in everything that they say and do.
What compelled you to write the book? How long did it take you to write it?
Ragdoll started life as a rejected television screenplay I wrote about seven years ago. I thought that it was dead and buried and moved on to other things; however, my mind kept returning to it. I loved the premise, was incredibly fond of the characters, and it always made me laugh.
Years later, when I finally decided to take the plunge and try my hand at a novel – it was, without question, the story that I wanted to expand and finish. I wanted to know how it ended.
What is the best mystery novel that you've read in the past year?
Because I’ve been working hard on book 2, I haven’t had chance to read as much as I would have liked; however, I did read and adored Himself by Jess Kidd. It’s a beautifully written book about murder and ghosts with such a strong sense of place, capped off with the very darkest of humour. It’s wonderful.
What is the best thing that has happened to you as a result of writing Ragdoll?
It’s very difficult to pin it down to just one thing. It’s been such a surreal year for a number of reasons. I think perhaps one of the best things to come out of it and the overwhelming response that it’s received - is having a reason to continue the story. I have finished my first major rewrite on book 2 and I am absolutely delighted with it. There is so much more to explore with Ragdoll’s assorted cast of characters and it feels a very natural progression from the first.
So, the best thing that’s happened… is that I get to keep on writing.