Harry Brett isn’t just another pseudonym for Henry Sutton. Harry Brett is the person he always wanted to be – a crime writer and the author of a crime series, cracking on with the plot. It just took him some time, two careers, and many novels and a collection of short stories, to work that out.
Identity as an author is a complex and confusing thing. Writing can be about endless enthusiasm for experimentation and exploration, and the continual sense of a work-in-progress. As the saying goes, writing is as much about failing, as succeeding. It’s also of course a search for a voice.
When you feel you’ve finally nailed something, and are able to stand up and say, look, here it is, here I am, you want people to know. A clear signal seemed appropriate. But this is a signal that goes to the very core of who I am. My new crime series is set in Great Yarmouth, that disreputable, Norfolk seaside town, which has been calling to me all my writing life. My great grandfather sold fish on the quay. My grandfather owned the go-kart track by the pleasure beach. My father built furniture in an old smokehouse. I was born down the road in Gorleston-on-Sea.
Needless to say Yarmouth is in my blood. It’s part of me. And naturally perhaps, I always wanted the best for the place, which is why my series is concerned with local rejuvenation. Specifically, my main protagonist, Tatiana Goodwin, wishes to develop a super casino along the front, and bring some gold back to the Golden Mile. That it’s all part of a massive money laundering scheme, alongside her other fraudulent and criminal activities, seems a small price to pay. Tatiana is a boss and matriarch, more than worthy of the town.
I love matriarchs. My mother was one. Brett was her maiden name. She was also a writer, and I guess my biggest literary influence. As for Harry, well all Henrys are Harrys at heart.
*Time to Win is the first in a three-book series with Corsair / Little, Brown, out April 27.