Writers' Club

Jude Tresswell

This week we caught up with Jude Tresswell to discover the influences for her Poly-Crime Series, the County Durham Quad. She is keeping very busy with the series, and with her Blog, but also finds time to indulge her passion for rocks!

Who are you? Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m Jude Tresswell. I find it hard to imagine plots that involve females and so, although it’s not the only alternative, I write about men — four gay, polyamorous men. They live in County Durham, North-East England — hence the title of my series, County Durham Quad —and they keep getting themselves mixed up in crimes.

I live with my husband in the south of England, but I’m a northerner myself, and I do miss the sights and sounds of the north.

What first inspired you to start writing?

Fan fiction. One of my favourite characters was Edgar Wield, the gay, biking detective sergeant in Reginald Hill’s Dalziel and Pascoe series. Reginald Hill died in 2012. I always felt that Wield’s story was unfinished, so I decided to complete it. I wrote a sixty thousand word novel, just for myself. I really enjoyed doing it. With a great many changes, partly so that I wouldn’t be accused of copyright infringement, that story became Badge of Loyalty, which was my first one for Rowanvale.

What made you want to work with Rowanvale and be published?

I would re-read my story on disk and think, “Oo, I’d like a proper copy of this!” so I started looking for someone who would help me to publish a paperback. To be honest, I didn’t think about eBooks, although I do now. I was impressed with Rowanvale’s website. I felt that it was very clear, very detailed and very honest. I also liked the fact that there are a variety of publishing options.

I was pleased with the way everything went, from both a writing perspective and a business one. I loved having my editor, Ellie, make suggestions for improving the flow, the phrasing, the paragraphing etc. I learnt a lot from her. I appreciated the speedy responses to my many emails. So, I had no hesitation returning to Rowanvale for the sequel.

When you’re not writing, what are you reading?

Very little fiction. I much prefer non-fiction, especially geological stuff; I’m mad about rocks.

Which work are you most proud of?

Book 3 in the series, Ace in the Picture. I’m asexual and I wanted to explore aspects of asexuality within the stories, but I was scared, too. There are so many different types of aces — romantic aces, aromantic aces… I could only scratch the surface. There’s a lot of ‘own voice’ in my character, Nick Seabrooke, and I’ve developed Nick in the later books as he and the quad work out the intricacies of their asexual/non-asexual relationship. Books 4 and 5 are self-published, but the people at Rowanvale gave me the confidence to strike out alone.

What’s your best advice for handling writer's block?

For myself, stick anything down; I don’t have to use it. Failing that, I go for a walk —something usually emerges without my forcing it.

What’s one thing you always have with you when you’re writing?

Access to the internet. I do all my own research and there’s a lot of it. For example, for Polyamory on Trial (Published by Rowanvale, Book 2) I researched asylum procedures and illegal immigration. For Ace in the Picture, the focus of which is a forged painting, I learnt about tetrachromatic vision. Currently, I’m learning loads about drones. Often, I just need an odd reference to something, but I like to get it right. I spend a lot of time on Google!

What is the one book you would take with you if you were stuck on a desert island?

The Yorkshire Dales Landscape and Geology by Tony Waltham. It’s full of photographs of places that I love and I’ve been to, and the text is really clear. I often dip into it.

What is the best part about being an independently published author?

Having people who know a great deal more than I do guiding me through every stage of production, whilst ensuring that I retain control. I imagine that a traditional publisher would do the knowledgeable guiding, but perhaps a new, untried author would have to give up some control. With Rowanvale, I’m published, and I’m in control.

What’s next for you?

I’m half way through the sixth book in the County Durham Quad series and I’m enjoying writing and researching it.

I blog regularly, at www.polyallsorts.wordpress.com, and I enjoy doing that too.

Also, I want to add to my YouTube channel. I’d planned to visit County Durham in March and take photos of Weardale to place behind readings from the books. I did something similar last year and uploaded two hundred photos for a short story that was set in Victorian Yorkshire. (The details on are the blog.) Recent events scuppered everybody’s travel plans, of course. I’d still like to do that, but I’ll have to wait.