By Rick Reed
GLASS DOLLS begins with Detective Dove Milson investigating the murder of a teenage girl who is found encased in glass. The murder is identical to one committed by serial killer Peter Hayworth. He would be the prime suspect if he wasn’t dead.
Dove leads the case. It’s her first job as part of the Major Crimes Team. She is recovering from a breakdown a few months earlier and still learning to balance her personal life with her job.
Four years ago Dove’s niece was murdered by the Glass Doll Killer. Is this a copy cat killer? Did the original Glass Doll Killer have an accomplice? When the second death happens, she learns the two victims worked at the same strip club—the one that is owned by Dove’s sister. Now Dove’s youngest niece goes missing. Will she become the next victim?
D. E. White is the author of six adult crime books, including a three-book box set of cozy mysteries. She started writing 15 years ago while flying as cabin crew and later for the South East Coast Ambulance Service in the UK.
The Big Thrill had the chance to interview White about writing mysteries, building a career as an author, and more.
Did you always want to be an author?
No, I always wanted to be a flight attendant. I flew for many years after I left college. I didn’t start writing properly until after my first child was born, although I did always enjoy English class at school. As a child, I lived in Wichita, Kansas, for 18 months and attended school out there. The school had a huge library, which I loved—very different to the tiny country village school I had come from in the UK.
What kind of research does it require to write mysteries?
I do a lot of research for all my books. My first cozy mystery trilogy, the Ruby Baker Mysteries, was set in 1963/4 so I was doing historical research as well as geographical. With the crime books, I’m lucky to have a police consultant friend, who recently retired from the MET. He introduced me to Alex, a police source handler who was able to give me the inside view on working with informants, or “Covert Human Intelligence Sources.” She explained the extremes of living several different lives, or “legends,” and how this could impact on your personal life, how you even started to question your own identity. The interviews became the basis for the DC Dove Milson series, which starts with GLASS DOLLS. The background was fascinating and I am always intrigued by professions that many don’t realize exist—the idea of pulling the strings in the darkness is complex and appealing.
Although I’m writing fiction, I try hard to make sure details are correct whether I’m writing cozy mysteries, thrillers, or police procedurals.
How important is a writing routine for you?
When I can stick to a routine I am far more productive. However, I have two children, and with the UK currently on lockdown, working from home is pretty hard. I’ve changed from writing and marketing in the golden hours between 10:00 and 2:00 to grabbing an hour in the morning and a couple of hours late afternoon. Sometimes I’ll wake up at night, creep down to the kitchen (fall over the dog!), and scribble down a few chapters that only ever come at 2 a.m. when your mind is free of clutter.
In normal circumstances, I know on a first draft I have to get 2,000 words down a day, and I know I need to get two books out a year. I’m a businesswoman, and writing is my business. I’m lucky enough to make a living from my writing and I appreciate that every day, even when I’m struggling with a deadline.
What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Be prepared to have your dreams shattered many, many times. But if you’re truly determined, you will find an agent who loves your book, a publisher who adores it, and readers who will become as invested in your stories as you are. It’s a magic combination, and getting there is like a quest through the Forbidden Forest, but if you really want it, you will achieve your dream.
Build your social media, your website, email lists, explore marketing avenues—essentially give yourself a head start with your writing platform.
Also, keep writing, because when you do get everything in line, you’ll need to deliver book after book after book, to the same high standard as your first one. As well as novels, have short stories, novellas, blog posts, articles, all ready to feed out. Writing them is great experience and you’ll eventually need all of them. Finally, don’t be afraid to switch genres—this can sometimes be the best thing you ever did.
Daisy White started writing 15 years ago, scribbling ideas at work on the night shift, first flying as cabin crew and later working for the Ambulance Service.
Her 1960s cozy mystery trilogy, the Ruby Baker Mysteries, was published in 2017 by Joffe Books, followed by psychological thrillers Remember Me and The Forgotten Child (HarperCollins) in 2019.
Daisy’s new crime thriller, GLASS DOLLS, (Joffe Books), is out at the end of March 2020, and is the first in the DC Dove Milson series.
Daisy is a multi-award-winning entrepreneur, and loves inspiring new writers to put pen to paper to start their own creative journey. She enjoys speaking at writing retreats, literary festivals, and workshops.
To learn more about the author and her work, please visit her website.