Something new for the Dorset Book Detective this week- I spoke to crime fiction consultant Stuart Gibbon, Founder of GIB Consultancy and co- author of The Crime Writer’s Casebook to learn more about how he shares his expertise with writers to enhance their work.
Tell me about how you use your experience as a detective to support writers. How did you come to start consulting for author?
I joined the Metropolitan Police as a teenager in the early 1980’s and spent the next 20 years policing the streets of London. I then transferred to Lincolnshire Police where I served another 12 years before retiring from the police service in 2012. A large part of my police career was spent as a Detective, including several years as a DCI in charge of murder cases.
Even though I had left the police I still wanted to help people and share my experience and knowledge. I decided to set up a consultancy service (GIB Consultancy) to help writers to make sure that their police actions and procedures were accurately portrayed. The service is well-established now and I have authors contacting me, normally via e-mail, to ask questions or request a fact-check of their work.
Most of my contacts are crime writers but several have been writers of other genres who want to include a police element such as a missing person or a burglary investigation. Although my specialism is crime I am able to advise on anything police-related.
Can you give me some examples of the authors you have consulted for? Are there any big names you’d care to share with me?
I have worked with a number of very talented writers in the last few years. They include CL Taylor, Sheryl Browne, Barbara Copperthwaite and Carolyn Jess-Cooke to name but a few. It’s very rewarding to be able to help with advice and great to read the finished article which includes your input. I think it helps to get the procedural details right as it’s far more likely to engage the reader.
Have you ever written any novels yourself, or do you intend to start writing them in the future?
Quite a few former police officers now write crime fiction but I haven’t taken the plunge yet. That’s not to say it will never happen but, for now, I have more than enough going on to keep me occupied!
Tell me about The Crime Writer’s Casebook. Who is it aimed at and how do you believe it benefits them?
I first met crime historian Stephen Wade at a literary festival in Lincoln about three years ago. We kept in touch and decided that it would be a good idea to write a book together, combining Stephen’s encyclopedic knowledge of historical crime with my experience as a police officer. ‘The Crime Writer’s Casebook’ was published in December last year. We didn’t think that there was anything similar available which contained so much information about crime all in the same place. The book contains modern-day police procedures together with true crime case studies spanning from the eighteenth century to recent years. Although the book is primarily aimed at crime writers as it contains information about rank structure, murder investigation and other subjects that will help writers to accurately portray these areas, I think it would engage anyone with an interest in crime, whether as a reader or writer. The genre is now the most popular and this is reflected in the rise in true crime and crime fiction being published. We’ve had some really good reviews and feedback so we’re pleased that people seem to enjoy the book and find it useful.
Do you have any projects coming up that you are particularly excited about?
As well as the writing consultancy I’ve been doing some TV work in relation to recent Murder cases in the UK. The series is called ‘999 Killer on the line’ and features true crime cases where the person who called the emergency services turns out to be the murderer. The series recently started on the Crime & Investigation channel (Sky channel 156) at 9pm on Monday evenings. I will be featured in two episodes (Monday 6th and 20th August). If you’re interested in true crime cases I think you’ll enjoy this series.
Is there anything you’d like to add?
If you have read The Crime Writer’s Casebook we would be grateful if you would review it on Amazon. It’s currently available to buy on Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Straightforward-Guide-Writers-Casebook-Guides/dp/1847167500/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1507907264&sr=8-1&keywords=crime+writer%27s+casebook or at most major book stores. If you are a writer needing help with police procedure and you can’t find the answer in The Crime Writer’s Casebook then I can be contacted on Twitter (@gibconsultancy) or via e-mail – firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks very much for giving me the opportunity to talk about my work and our book.
Thanks for taking the time, it’s been great to hear from you.
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