Former cop turned novelist puts new spin on the 'whodunit'
GRANDFATHER-of-two and former police officer John Davis is an accidental author.
His first novel, The Biddulph Connection, was a work in progress for more than 10 years and John never really knew if it would be finished.
"I've always been a natural writer, always enjoyed reading a lot and writing," he said.
"When I retired, I thought, 'Why not write some of my story ideas down and see what comes of them'."
Readers already have praised The Biddulph Connection for bringing a new spin to the traditional "whodunit" storyline.
"The serial killer-type plotlines have been done to death," John said.
"I wanted to do something different but still be adventure and mystery-based."
The story follows Pamela Nugert, a 28-year-old antique and art restorer who appraises the contents of a large Victorian mansion in the mid-1800s.
The sheer quantity of artwork by internationally renowned artist Henry Biddulph in the house astounds her and she becomes obsessed with finding out why the artwork is there.
Through her investigation, she discovers an intricate web of secrecy, murder, intrigue and an unusual connection with the Victorian gold rush.
In creating the characters for his novel, John drew on his 20 years' experience as owner-operator of a Best Western motel in Tasmania.
John and wife Pamela saw many strange characters in their time in the Apple Isle.
"I could have written an entire book just about the people we met at that time," John said.
Pamela said the process of writing a novel with such an important historical background was very time-consuming.
"As a wife of an author, you can't really do much other than support and encourage them," she said.
"It's a wonderful achievement and the time spent writing has all been worth it."
John, who writes under the nom de plume of Davis Johns, has his second novel in the works and hopes to finish it in the next few years.
"Writing is a process - it can't be rushed," he said.
"You need time to think and develop your storyline and characters.
"Writer's block is a real thing and I had it for many years when writing The Biddulph Connection.
"You always want to be as factual as possible so spending time researching is key."
John said the process of writing was almost like entering another zone and living the lives of your characters first-hand.
"You almost travel back in time to be there with your characters," he said.
"You go into a zone and that's when your writing is most productive."
John's advice to aspiring novelists is simply to read, read and read some more.
"Find a style of writing you like and then find authors who write like that, too," he said.
The Biddulph Connection is available online and in selected bookstores.