We all need help and advice…paying it forward

It’s always good to be able to call upon other authors for help and advice when writing a story which might well require specialist knowledge.

I am always grateful to other authors and members of the Police and other related agencies for their advice and help if I am particularly stuck or in need of expert input when writing. It never ceases to amaze me how generous and helpful people can be when I want to pick their brains.

From time to time I have been asked to contribute my experience in the music business to help writers who have a musical background to their novels, and it is always fun to revisit my past life and help where I can.

I’ve often been asked to provide some of my limited forensic knowledge to help other authors who want to kill off a character or investigate a crime scene and are not sure how things work in the British system.

If it hadn’t been for my interest in Forensics Science, Criminal Justice and Archaeology I would’ve been completely stuck every time I’ve started to write a crime story, having to pester others more often.

I decided some years ago to try to help myself and improve my knowledge. I enrolled in 7 different university courses covering these topics – specially designed for crime writers and run by world acclaimed experts – so, although I am not an expert in such matters by a long chalk, I possibly have a better than average knowledge of these subjects – enough not to make basic mistakes and, as I said, if I get stuck I can call upon valued expert advice from other authors who have first-hand knowledge of such matters.

There are so many generous people who have taken time to help me I am reluctant to name any for fear of missing someone out. They know who they are and have my sincere thanks and appreciation for the time they’ve taken answering my questions.


I always like to thank those who have helped me, possibly by featuring them on my blog, sharing their posts, book details and launch events, and therefore it is especially lovely to receive such an acknowledgement from those I have helped – sometimes by way of a mention in their latest book credits.

One of several authors I helped a while back – with two different books in two different genres – has written a lovely thank you to me which is on her website. Just click below to read it. I am so chuffed to read this and also to know that her latest novel (paperback version) has acknowledged my help. I wish her much success with all her books.

We all need help and advice and it is such a pleasure to pay it forward, to return the favour if and when I can, as others have done for me.


  1. Interesting post, with my first novel that I’m stuck on I phoned a prison for advice, they were very helpful. If the book one day gets written they will be mentioned in the acknowledgements. My time travel novel is a bit more complicated.. I’m not sure if the university would be as friendly to discuss time travel. Right now I’m just reading books and working out answers.. there is so much I don’t know and so much to learn!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It is lovely to be able to pay it forward. I picked up the habit from Princess Diana, years ago when she proposed that we each promise to deliver an act of kindness without acknowledgment. I strive to do this a minimum once a week. Mostly it is more, but it is amazing the response you get for a kind gesture a smile or a comment. Worth every moment and soon becomes second nature. As you say, paying it forward thanking those that help is good for everyone. It makes the world a better place.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I agree, I was elated when i was mentioned in the acknowlegements of a book, which I made a substantial input regarding structure and suggested droping some of the secondary characters. It was lovely to feel appreciated.

    “Real People, made-up lives.” I read the article and was left with a lot of wonderful advice.

    Liked by 1 person

    • James, I am so pleased you have had mentions in books, it means a lot. I am happy to spend time helping if I can and so when someone mentions me I am chuffed. I don’t expect it, but it is a thrill. I am so glad the article in Writing Magazine ‘re using well-known people in fiction – glad it was worthwhile.

      Liked by 1 person

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