When I wrote my third novel, The Biter Bit, little did I appreciate its significance in the path that the Steele novels were about to take. As an aside, if I had a method of using a rigid story structure, then some of the twists and turns would not have been possible whereas when you allow the characters to take a lead, opportunities and novel directions become possible.
The stories that help form the characters of a story and their development are called the 'back story' and in some ways provide the spine upon which the whole tale is based. In The Biter Bit we have the emergence of Ethan Small who develops into an essential part of the active team in spite of being wheelchair bound. His tale is principally a human story and I believe some of the readers who enjoy these tales will identify with Ethan from the point of view of his disability, perhaps his emotional development or maybe because of his drive to become a useful member of the team. If I hadn't created the space for the back story none of those opportunities would have arisen easily.
A second back story is the tale of the matriarch. Stacey Fordyce began as Steele's domestic goddess, her husband was his handyman, but again her story developed into something else and eventually, as a widow, she became a surrogate mother to both Steele and Kobayashi. Again there is a back story that further explains that situation.
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In my third novel, The Biter Bit, one of Steele's team suffers a life changing event but it isn't all negative outcomes.
Patrick A Steele, accountant turned vengeful Robin Hood, is off on his crusades once again. He has given himself a role that sees him trying to right the wrongs and inadequacies of the legal system in the UK. His experiences as a child and through higher education have equipped Patrick with abilities that realistically only has value in the field of rough justice. Steele has developed a working relationship with the Gurentai, a more benevolent sub-group of the Japanese Yakuza and, as a result of a number of successful associations, have furnished him with a Swiss bank account and a very healthy retainer. As a result Patrick is building his own little empire. Everything seems fine in his life until he is drawn into trying to solve the problem of lawless youths that are targeting tourists in the City of York. He enlists the help of his two colleagues from Japan, Takuo Sumisu and Naomi Kobayashi, and with one of his own staff they head off to identify and eradicate the source of the problem. All is proceeding as planned until there is a knifing and one of the team is shot! The action then migrates across France and eventually to Le Marche in eastern Italy where it seems to have been brought to a conclusion until the team return home!