Success! Unbelievable astounding success. I have just signed a contract with Pan Macmillan Publishers. They have bought my book. This is really going to happen. Soon my little crime story will be going out to a national audience. I will be a published writer. I will get paid. ‘Author’ will go on my tax return. The publisher wants the sequel. This is the start of a new career.
Exciting times, but underscored with some trepidation. Signing the contract is not an end – it is a beginning. Some hurdles are behind me, but there’s still more to come. Can I juggle my ‘day job’ as a police officer, with being a crime writer?
“Sure, why not?” is the obvious answer. I have already written the book – that’s the hard part isn’t it? And that was whilst juggling work, with raising two young children, ticking as many of the ‘good mother’ boxes as I can manage plus keeping the household running.
But for me, there’s an added level of difficulty. Being a serving police officer has laid out a minefield in front of me. And I am now carefully trying to tip toe through it. What I am doing is actually bound by legislation. If you are a police officer, you are always a police officer. What you do in your spare time is (to a certain extent) the Boss’s business. You have knowledge and information which is not for public dissemination, you are an agent of the Government. There are issues with secrecy, public comment, accountability, improper use of information, professional conduct and numerous other pieces of law, directives and policies.
It wouldn’t be so bad if it was anything but a crime story. I have to ensure I don’t use any information that a normal person couldn’t find on Google, verify that all my characters and incidents are fictitious, and make sure my actions as a writer are ‘fair’.
I even had to go through the process of making an official request to ask permission to attempt to have my story published. That was a story all of its own.
I’m still trying hard to keep my real name secret, as a fall-back in case someone gets upset about something. But that may or may not be a bit pointless since the publisher wants me to use my own undisguised face in publicity. I will see just how far heavy makeup and a fancy hairdo will get me.
So here we go – I have sifted through all the legislation, and tried my very best to comply. This blog has now been renamed, content has been removed and it includes the officially-sanctioned disclaimer. But no-one of consequence has really noticed the blog yet. so this is untested.
There’s anxiety with the excitement. I’m holding on tight. The rollercoaster will be running for a while yet.