Guest Post #2: Characterisations By KA Richardson (author of Under the Woods)














When a homeless woman, Cheryl Whiffen, hears voices in her head telling her to do bad things, she can’t help but obey.

But when Cheryl becomes the victim of a serial killer who is collecting angels, this time the voices can’t help her. She is deemed not worthy of being an angel and the killer has to find another way to dispose of her body.

TJ Tulley has connections in the police force – her brother Jacob is a digital forensic analyst and her soon to be sister-in-law is a CSI. She knows many of their colleagues so when someone breaks into her house at the riding stables she owns, it’s not a surprise when the police dispatch CSI Jackson Doherty.

Is there a link between a suspicious fire at the stables and the serial killer?

As TJ and Doherty get closer to the truth they don’t realise the danger they are in. He is a killer – he’s angry at their investigation and he’ll do just about anything to protect his angels…


In any book, the characters play the most important role. If there aren’t any characters how can the story move forward, what would it have to offer. To help us understand the process of characterisation, today I have author KA Richardson on my blog to share her thoughts.


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Characterisation is always something I find relatively simple. I was taught to give it a lot of thought whilst doing my degree and it really resonated. Characters have to be real – I, as a writer, have to know them very well in order to know how they would react in situations. They become my best friends for the time it takes me to write the novel and I’d be doing them a huge injustice if I didn’t take the time to get to know them. I find that in knowing my characters well, they help drive the plot forward as I write. I was taught to write a character profile for my main characters before I start writing – this is something I have done with every one of my novels and intend to do for each one that follows.

I sometimes get asked which of my characters is my favourite – I dread this question so much because genuinely, I love them all! Even the bad guys in some ways. If I absolutely had to pin it down though, I’d probably have to say DI Alistair McKay is my favourite police officer – he’s strong, capable, and says it how it is. I love how he progressed through Time to Play, becoming a better cop and a better man for all that happened. And my favourite female protagonist would have to be Ben Cassidy  – there’s a little bit of me in her character. She has a lot of vulnerabilities but because of what has happened to her, she’s strong and deals very well with what life throws at her. Her history made her who she is and that is something that’s true of all of us, character or not. Ben is proactive and grabs onto opportunities. She’s also totally capable of looking after herself, as well as her aunt and daughter. She’s very matter-of-fact and I love that about her character. How Ben processes scenes and has moments of self-doubt was also very much me. Not with the processes themselves but more self-doubt about myself. I think it’s something every writer must feel at some times – for me it rises it’s head around book release time – I worry that it won’t be well received or good enough. But hopefully the majority of my readers disagree and enjoy the book irrespective of my own doubts!

I have to admit to thoroughly enjoying writing the bad guy’s perspective. I love researching around serial killers and find the whole subject fascinating – I think because it’s difficult to imagine how most of these killers can kill as they do, me getting into the head of my killer helps me imagine the how and why. I find myself getting very ‘in the zone’ and if I have to firmly hang the ‘do not disturb’ sign on my writing cave door because if I’m interrupted at that point, I have a tendency to react badly! I always feel the need to give my killers a back story – no one is born a killer after all. Killers grow up to be that way. Usually from some stimulus such as abuse when they are a child. I have to give them valid memories of events that helped shape them into the person they become. Whether that be a history of being bullied like the female killer in Watch You Burn, or the killer who sees victims as his Angels as in the new release, Under the Woods. Whatever it is that made my killers kill, it has to be realistic and something that could happen to anyone.

I also like my characters to have people in their lives that impact on their behaviour – again this is true of those we know in real life. Whether it’s the nasty neighbour who is constantly on your case for one thing or another (like the nasty Neil Brown in Under the Woods) or the best friend you couldn’t live without and to whom you talk to when everything’s going wrong (like Ben’s aunt Aoife in I’ve Been Watching You).

Struggles are real. Everyone has struggles – sometimes the outcome of these is positive and sometimes it’s not. But however those struggles are presented, they all leave us with something. Whether it’s being a little stronger in ourselves for it, or allowing us to be emotional and sensitive if being placed in a similar situation. So whilst it is a little clichéd having the tired detective who drinks too much and has a lack of social skills, sometimes that character is integral to the plot and has to grow despite all he/she has going on. The same as those characters that come with baggage – it’s real because we all have baggage. It helps us relate to others with similar baggage, or feel sympathy for those who have different. And for me as a writer, I want to make the reader have those feelings for the characters I write.


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Thank you to KA Richardson for taking out time from her busy schedule and gracing my blog with her presence.


Author Bio:

My name is Kerry-Ann Richardson (generally known as Kerry) and I write as KA Richardson. I started writing the North East Police series in 2010 when I was working towards my MA Creative Writing – I used the first 15000 words of With Deadly Intent as my dissertation. I passed my MA in 2011 and kept on writing. This all came about from working as a Crime Scene Investigator – I’d always written but when I was a CSI I went to see a psychic, Anthony, and he wanted to know why I wasn’t writing. He reminded me that it was my passion and said he could see me signing in Waterstones in 5 years. That was 5.5 years before my first ever signing in Waterstones so he wasn’t far wrong!

I did the normal things writers do when their book is ready to go out into the world – submitted to agents etc. I got a few nice personal responses back – still saying no but being constructive and polite about it. I approached Darren Laws from Caffeine Nights whilst at a crime festival and he asked to see my work. He agreed to publish With Deadly Intent from there, and once that was out I approached Bloodhound Books as wanted to know if there was any other interest in my novels. Bloodhound came back within 24 hours and offered me a 3 book deal!  And I’ve since signed an additional 3 book deal with them which covers the series up to and including book 7!



Twitter: @kerryann77 or @karichardson77




Thank you to Bloodhound Books for providing me with the e-book through NetGalley.

Don’t forget to check out the other blogs who are taking part in this blog tour!

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