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DCI Bennett and his love of Northern Art.

One of the pleasures of writing a series is the chance to develop the characters and the interaction between the long-term members of the police team.

People often ask me who Cyril Bennett is or is he you? The simple answer is, and this may sound naïve, he is an amalgam, a sort of Frankenstein creation who has slowly taken on traits of people I have met or known well. It is true to say that I have influenced the character a great deal; being the protagonist of the series he is probably featured the most and therefore more about his character is revealed.

It is also important to feed the readers a little about the characters’ history as the series progresses in order to build mystery or in some cases uncertainty around their past.

When I first started to write the series I felt the need to give Cyril Bennett certain likes and dislikes and these tended to be mine. One of the first things you read is that he does not have a TV. Secondly, he is a collector of Northern art. I have been an avid fan of the style for some time gaining knowledge through buying and selling at auctions. I have also learned from two gallery owners, Simon Taylor of Framed Up Galleryand Bill Clark of Clark Art.

Writing Dying Art, book five in the series, interviewing both owners gave me the facts needed to give authenticity to the story.

Next week, I have been invited to the opening of the Look North Exhibition at Clark Art, a collection of work that is both exciting and eclectic.

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