Getting to know the character with DI Ted Darling

L M Krier joins me today to take part in my Getting to know the character interview – The DI Ted Darling crime fiction series

Can you describe your character?
Ted Darling is a police detective working on serious and serial crimes, a Detective Inspector when the readers first meet him. He would describe himself as ‘a skinny little runt’ as he is below average height and stays slim. He got bullied when he was young because of his size so his dad paid for him to learn martial arts and he now holds black belts in four of them. He’s a Lancashire lad by birth, from a working class background; the son of a disabled ex-miner.

What is Ted’s job role and where does he work?
He’s an officer in the Greater Manchester Police force working at Stockport police station (although not the actual one that is there now, a fictitious one.) He works on serious offences like murder, kidnap and wounding and is sent out to head enquiries in divisions other than he own.

Where did the original  idea of Ted come about?
Really cheesey moment coming up – you may want to look away now! I’ve written professionally for much of my life and was already a successful writer of travel memoirs, the Sell the Pig series, written as Tottie Limejuice (yes, really!) Crime fiction has always been my preferred genre to read and to watch on television but I’d never thought of writing any. I’d written some children’s fiction but I didn’t see myself really as a fiction writer. Then, one night, just before Christmas nearly three years ago, I had a dream. I told you it was cheesey! Ted arrived in my head, told me the complete story of what was to become Book 1 in a series, Baby’s Got Blue Eyes, and the rest, as they say, is history. There are now eight books released with both a prequel and a Book 9 planned.

What makes Ted original?
Just about everything to do with Ted is original, a long way from the current blueprint for crime fiction. Apart from his size, and a surname which causes him some problems, Ted is gay and in a long-term stable relationship with a much younger man, Trevor. Ted doesn’t smoke or drink, adores cats, grows lilies, is a closet country music fan, but is not remotely camp. He’s a by-the-book copper, not a maverick running round breaking rules, yet he has an impeccable arrest record. He’s a tough and exacting boss who also believes in praise and encouragement where they’re due so his team think the world of him. He’s had dark moments in his past but he turns to his martial arts to get through the worst of them rather than the stereotypical cop image of drinking, smoking, gambling, playing away.
What makes him tick?
Again it sounds corny but Ted became a copper because he believes in justice. He wants to see the bad guys brought to justice but he deplores bent cops who will frame an innocent person just to get a conviction. He also likes to see his team members develop and gets a buzz out of seeing them progress. He’s quite a people person.

What is his biggest fear?
He has a deep-seated fear of big horses! I’m just starting a prequel to the series to explain more about him and his early life and that will go into this aspect and what caused it. He spends a lot of time worrying that he’s not good enough for his partner, even though they’ve been together for years. And when he’s working a difficult case, he worries that the perpetrator will be too clever for him. That’s not happened yet.

If you and Ted met in real life, do you think you’d get on?
I feel like we have met in real life. In fact I feel like Ted lives in my head a lot of the time. He’s like Sven to my Ariadne Oliver, if you know your Agatha Christie. I think I would like him and get on with him as he is genuinely a nice bloke who tries hard to do the right thing all the time. Some readers have said he is a bit too good to be true, but there is a side to him. He doesn’t suffer fools gladly and he’s not intimidated by senior ranks, not afraid to tell them if he disagrees with what they do. It’s got him into hot water once or twice. He also has a bit of a temper, which the martial arts mainly help him to keep under control.

Who would you like to see play them if your books were made into a film or TV show?
I run a group on Facebook, called We Love Ted Darling, for this very kind of discussion. Trevor would be easy to cast. He’s tall, gorgeous, with curly black hair and stunning blue eyes. Aidan Turner is a hot favourite within the group. Ted is much more difficult to envisage, not least because of how short he is. In my mind’s eye, I see Martin Freeman as the ideal Ted. He has an excellent range of facial expressions and he does particularly well the sort of slightly anxious look I always envisage when Ted has to make that phone call: ‘Trev? You know I said I’d be home early tonight? Well, something’s come up …’

How many books do you have in the series so far?
Currently eight. I’m the sort of person who picks up earworms all the time – those tunes that are triggered by something minor then stay in your head most of the day. So I use song titles, or lines from songs, for all of the Ted books. They are, in order of appearance, Baby’s Got Blue Eyes, Two Little Boys, When I’m Old and Grey, Shut Up and Drive, Only the Lonely, Wild Thing, Walk On By and Preacher Man.

What’s in store for Ted next?
Definitely a prequel. Ted’s background is interesting as he started out in firearms, as a Specialist Firearms Officer, because of his martial arts and survival skills training. I’ve never really touched in detail on how he transitioned from that to CID, although I have mentioned that he gave up Firearms because Trevor was worried about the risks. So there’s quite a bit of scope there for an interesting prequel. Then a Book 9 is already starting to take shape in my head as there are a few loose ends from earlier books which need tidying up. I have no plans at present to stop writing about Ted, which will only happen when I feel I can’t truly do him justice any more.

About The Author
Retired journalist, freelance copywriter and copy editor Lesley Tither writes under various pen names for different genres. Already well known for travel memoirs as Tottie Limejuice, Lesley also writes crime fiction under the name L M Krier.

Lesley’s first crime thriller, writing as L M Krier, ‘Baby’s Got Blue Eyes’, was published in February 2015, followed by ‘Two Little Boys’ ‘When I’m Old and Grey’, ‘Shut Up and Drive’, ‘Only the Lonely’, ‘Wild Thing’ and ‘Walk on by’. Book 8 in the DI Ted Darling series, ‘Preacher Man’, is now available , with further books to follow in 2018.

“Sell the Pig” is the first in a series of travel memoirs describing how Lesley, writing as Tottie Limejuice, decided to make the move from the UK to France to start a new life, taking with her an 89-year-old mother suffering from vascular dementia.The story continues in three further books, ‘Is That Billinge Lump?’, ‘Mother, Was It Worth It?’
‘Biff the Useless Mention’ and ‘Angling Bumateurs’. A prequel to the ‘Sell the Pig’ series is under way.

Her first children’s fiction book, writing as L M Kay, ‘The Dog with the Golden Eyes’ is an exciting children’s crime thriller, now available as an e-book and paperback, with beautiful illustrations by Andrew Campbell-Howes.

Lesley also writes under the collective pen name of Jilli Lime-Holt, with author Jill Pennington. Their first joint book, Take Three Birds, was published in December 2014.

Lesley is a former journalist, working as both a criminal court and coroner’s court reporter. She also worked as a case tracker for the Crown Prosecution Service, and for a firm investigating irregularities in offshore finance. Her other jobs have included owning and running a holiday riding centre and acting as a ‘charity mugger’, lying in wait to sign up shoppers for a wildlife charity.

Lesley’s interests centre around nature and wildlife and encompass dogs, wild camping and organic gardening. She lives in the Auvergne region of Central France and holds dual French/British nationality. Her current dogs are two rescued border collies.

Want to chat with Lesley? You’ll find a Tottie Limejuice Chat Group on Facebook, with lots of photos of the Auvergne, as well as a We Love Ted Darling group on Facebook, where you can find out more about the characters in the crime fiction series, and the writer behind them.

Check out LM Krier on Amazon

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