oday I am pleased to be taking part in the blog tour for the first book in the Jocasta Hughes series, Dead Pretty. This guest post is shared with thanks to Anne Cater, who invited me on the blog tour, and of course, Candy Denman, for writing the post.
The first in a new series featuring GP Jocasta Hughes, a willowy blonde with a wicked sense of humour and a highly unsatisfactory love life. Working with the local police as on the on-call Forensic Medical Practitioner, Jo uncovers the gruesome truth that a serial killer is on the loose in the small seaside town where she works – and that she herself has become a target.
Candy Denman writes about the dilemma she faces when including swearing in her work.
To swear or not to swear….
That is the question I am wrestling with and would be interested to hear other people’s views on it.
Over the years I have listened to many seasoned and successful authors bemoan the fact that they kill characters in inventive and vicious ways but the only complaints they get from readers are about the bad language in the book rather than the violence and they cannot understand why.
Whilst I am not a habitual user of bad language, I have been known to let the odd expletive slip at times of great stress and I have never been one to take offence at others using swear words or when I come across them in books or on television. However, I am well aware that others can find these words upsetting, and I personally would never wish to cause offence. That said, sometimes only a rude word will do. The sort of people who feature in serial killer chillers, the genre I am currently writing, may by definition, not be nice people, and the language they would use may not be nice. As I sit at my laptop reading the dialogue out loud, I find that there are only so many euphemisms and slight changes to words that I can use, and just occasionally a swear word is the only one that does the job.
In order not to give too much offence, I have tried to make a point of highlighting the fact that I am not using these words lightly by having a heroine who hates swearing and a not-very-nice character who upsets her with his bad language as well as his general attitude. I do also try and keep the expletives to a minimum, but in my books- I warn you now- there are a few. In fact, on page one of Dead Pretty, the first in the Dr Jocasta Hughes series, the prologue is the thoughts of the killer as he strangles a woman and there is a ‘C’ word there. So far, it is the only time that word appears anywhere in any of my books, but equally, I felt it was the only word that would fit, and my publisher agreed.
My worry is, that with readers able to download a sample on kindle and other digital sources, that a word like that on page one puts people off buying the book. Perhaps I could put in a disclaimer letting them know that they won’t come across any other instances if they read on? Or should I, in future editions, remove it? That is the question and I am very happy to receive your views on it. You can contact me via my website: www.candydenman.co.uk or twitter: @CrimeCandy so do please let me know what you think.
Dead Pretty is available from Amazon.
You can follow the rest of the tour here: