The Motive – No Time To Cry

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James Oswald, explains the inspiration for his new novel - NO TIME TO CRY. The first in a gripping new series featuring Constance Fairchild.

Posted on July 26, 2018 in The Motive
Tags: Constance Fairchild, James Oswald, No Time To Cry, The Motive, guest author

You might ask yourselves why I, a man a long way the wrong side of forty, might decide to write a novel from the point of view of a thirty-year-old woman. I might answer that it’s because I’m contrary, and like a challenge, but there is, of course, more to it than that.

I have to confess that I’m not much of a plotter. I’ve tried planning a story meticulously from start to finish, working out character profiles and arcs and all the things learned people on creative writing courses tell you a writer should do. The problem is, when I sit down to write that story I find that I’m bored with it. I want to do something new. And so when it comes to novels, I tend to start with a very small idea, then worry at it until it becomes big enough to fill a hundred thousand words.

No Time to Cry began with just one word: a name, Constance. At that point she didn’t have a surname and I knew nothing about her except that she had been a detective in the Metropolitan Police, but for reasons to be discovered later was now working as a PI. I had initially thought to name her ironically, so that she would be something of a gadfly. As it turned out, my Constance didn’t want to be that person – her old school friend Charlotte takes on that role. Neither did she want to be a PI, but the unfolding story was of how that might have come to be.

Writing the first draft of No Time to Cry was an exercise in asking questions. Constance is a loner who doesn’t really fit into her team. Why? Because she is a woman in a masculine environment, and because she comes from a posh background. Why is she a police officer? Because she ran from the stifling old-fashioned and misogynistic views of her aristocratic family as soon as she could, cutting off almost all ties with that life in the process. Joining the police was perhaps the thing that would dismay her father the most, so she did. And yet, when an old, half-forgotten friend comes to her for help tracking down a missing younger sister, Constance immediately agrees despite the turmoil in her own life. Why? Because she knows the girl, knows what she’s going through, and simply can’t ignore a plea for help.

As I wrote the book, the scandal around Harvey Weinstein had begun to unfold and the #MeToo movement was beginning to take shape. I have many female friends with just as many tales of everyday sexism, and worse. Constance Fairchild is not prepared to put up with that shit any more, and No Time to Cry is her fight back against the injustices, both casual and considered, that she sees all around her.



James Oswald’s NO TIME TO CRY is out now

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