🥳📚Happy Publication Day to NEVER TOO LATE, the latest in the Sally Rigby’s Sebastian Clifford Private Detective series.
I was so thrilled to be asked to work with Sally on this project, not only because it’s set in my home county of Leicestershire, but also because Sally’s a smashing writer!
Whether you’re new to Sally’s writing, or a die-hard fan, this is a fantastic crime read. And if you’re fan of Sally’s Cavendish and Walker series, you’re in for a treat, as your favourite duo make more than just a cameo in this novel. But fear not, if you aren’t familiar with the series, this is just as gripping a detective novel, all the same!
Scroll down to read an exclusive interview with the author!
NEVER TOO LATE: A Midlands Crime Thriller (Detective Sebastian Clifford – Book 3) by Sally Rigby
Sally, welcome! Never Too Late is the third book in the Sebastian Clifford Private Investigator series. Tell us a little more about it.
Clifford has opened up his own private detective agency, and he’s asked by DCI Whitney Walker from Lenchester to act as a police consultant on a cold case concerning her older brother, who was assaulted as a teenager and left with irreversible brain damage.
Sebastian Clifford will be familiar to fans of your writing as he appears in your other successful police procedural series featuring DI Whitney Walker and Dr Georgina Cavendish. What is it about Seb that made you want to write his own series?
I had an idea for a series featuring the son of a viscount (Seb) working as a private investigator, having been a police officer – a sort of fish out of water. I decided to introduce him to my readers in one of the Cavendish & Walker books to see if he resonated with them. He did, and so I went ahead with the series.
Of course, this book features Cavendish and Walker too – love their cameos – but why did you think now was the time to explore Rob, Walker’s brother’s, story?
Over the course of the Cavendish & Walker series, I’ve been asked many times by readers what happened to Rob. I didn’t want Whitney to solve the case herself, because it was too close to home, which is why I gave it to Seb.
The series is set in Market Harborough, a small town in Leicestershire – I place I know well from when I grew up in the county. However, you’re based in New Zealand, many thousands of miles away. What made you choose the location?
I used to live twenty minutes away from Market Harborough and that’s where I went shopping every week. It’s a lovely historical market town which makes it an excellent backdrop.
Who inspired you to start writing? Have your influences changed since then?
There was no single person who inspired me to write. I’ve always been avid reader, but it wasn’t until I was an adult that I decided to give writing a go. I started with non-fiction and then a few years later tried fiction. Initially, I wrote chick lit and young adult, and was published under a pen name. But it wasn’t a good fit for me, and four years ago I decided to write what I enjoyed reading… crime fiction.
You have written in other genres, such as psychological thriller with Amanda Ashby, but what is it about crime fiction that draws you back every time?
I love the intrigue of trying to work out ‘who did it’. I also love writing about serial killers – their motivations and how they kill. In Ritual Demise, the seventh Cavendish & Walker, I especially enjoyed researching and weaving in all the separate themes – I don’t want to give too much away, so that’s all I’ll say.
What is the biggest challenge you faced when writing Never Too Late novel? How did you overcome it?
The challenge with this book was having two cases running at the same time and to bring them together in a realistic way. I don’t want to give anything away with the plot, but it was your editorial suggestions which helped me move forward on this.
And it was a pleasure to assist, and the finished result shows how well you handled it what could be a tricky narrative device. Speaking of which, in the novel you write from both the point of view of Sebastian and Birdie, do you find one harder to writer? Do you have any routines to help switch from one ‘head’ to the other?
I like writing both Seb and Birdie, and don’t find one harder to write than the other. Hopping from one to the other happens naturally, and I don’t think about it. So, in answer to the question, no I don’t have any routines for this.
Do you like to plan the action of your novels (plotter) or do you just let them write themselves (pantser!)?
I am very much a planner. I start out with an idea, and jot down notes into a vague outline. Then I write a scene spreadsheet which details each scene in the order they come in the book. Then I dictate a first draft, which will come out at just over 50 per cent of the word count. From there, I go back to the beginning and expand the first draft into a full-length manuscript. I then go over the book again giving it a final edit before I send it to my editor (aka you!)
The ending of the novel suggests it’s time for a new chapter for our characters. Can we expect more from Sebastian and Birdie?
There is definitely more on the horizon for Seb and Birdie. The next book, Hidden From Sight, takes place in London, and without giving too much away it’s a case that becomes personal for Seb.
What is your desert-island read?
I’m going to cheat a little here and say the Millennium Trilogy by Steig Larsson – although strictly speaking they are three separate books you can buy them as a boxset – The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets’ Nest.
Do you have any writing tips to share?
Yes, and that would be write what you love to read. If I’d followed my own advice sooner, I’d have been writing crime fiction years ago!
What is your writing process like? Do you have a routine? A favourite place to write?
I definitely have a routine for my writing. I get up early, between 4.30-5.30 s.m. and then always like to write first before doing anything else – I’m training myself to not look at social media until after I’ve written for a couple of hours. I write at my desk.
Also most important question. Favourite writing snack!
It’s got to be jellybeans (apart from the orange, green and yellow ones).
When he reached the flat, he knocked on the door and waited. There was no answer, so he peered through the gap between the net curtain and the edge of the front window. A man was sitting in an easy chair, watching the television. Seb banged on the window and the man jumped. Seb then gave a sharp knock on the door again. Within a few seconds, the door was opened by a stocky, tattooed man in his late forties, about five foot eight with cropped grey hair, freckles, and a cross earring dangling from his left ear. He was a slightly older version of his brother.
‘This better be good – I’m watching something,’ the man said, scowling at Seb.
‘Who wants to know?’
‘My name’s Sebastian Clifford and I work for Lenchester CID. I’d like a few moments of your time to ask some questions.’ He showed his ID, and the man scrutinised it before returning his gaze to Seb.
‘May I come inside?’
‘I suppose so,’ the man grunted, turning and heading into the living room.
Seb closed the door behind him and followed.
‘Please turn the sound down,’ Seb said, nodding at the TV, which was blaring out at an unacceptable level, and surely must have been annoying for his neighbours.
Collins glared in his direction and then picked up the remote and set the television to mute.
‘Well?’ the man said, his hand on his hips. ‘Make it quick. I don’t have all day.’
‘I’m here to ask you about Robert Walker.’
‘Never heard of him.’
‘He used to be friends with your brother, Gareth. Perhaps that will jog your memory.’
‘I’ve still never heard of him. I don’t know any of my brother’s friends. Not now, or in the past. Is that it?’
‘Gareth and Rob went to school together, and about twenty-five years ago, when they were sixteen, they’d help you out by doing odd jobs,’ Seb said, ignoring the man’s comments.
‘You what? How the hell am I meant to know who my brother hung out with all that time ago? Or if they worked for me? Who told you that pile of shit, anyway?’
‘Your brother. He informed me that they worked for you occasionally. There was also a third young man, named Marty McNeil, who was sometimes with them.’
‘If you say so.’ Collins shrugged.
‘Yes, I do.’ Seb wasn’t fooled by Collins trying to act all nonchalant. The man’s eyes were darting all over the place. Seb moved so he was blocking the doorway, in case Collins decided to make a run for it, although he wouldn’t get far in bare feet.
‘Even if I do remember … which I don’t,’ Collins added quickly, ‘so what?’
‘Robert Walker was viciously assaulted twenty-five years ago, and the police have reopened the case.’
‘And you’re trying to pin it on me because I’ve got a record. Fucking typical of you lot.’
‘I’m not here to arrest you, merely to enquire into your relationship with Walker.’
‘I didn’t have a relationship with the kid. I’ll admit that Gareth used to help me sometimes, and he might have had his friends with him. I only gave him stuff to do so it kept the old woman off my back.’
‘Yes, my mother,’ Collins repeated, imitating Seb’s clipped accent.
Already hooked? Of course, grab your copy of NEVER TOO LATE here.
About the Author
Sally Rigby was born in Northampton, UK. After leaving university she worked in magazines and radio, before finally embarking on a career lecturing in both further and higher education. Sally has always had the travel bug, and after living in Manchester and London, moved overseas. From 2001, she has lived with her family in New Zealand (apart from five years in Australia), which she considers to be the most beautiful place in the world.
Sally is the author of the acclaimed Cavendish and Walker series, and the more recent Detective Sebastian Clifford series. In collaboration with another author, she also writes psychological thrillers for Boldwood Books under the pen-name Amanda Rigby.
Sally has always loved crime fiction books, films and TV programmes. She has a particular fascination with the psychology of serial killers.