Hello July! I’m kicking the month off in style by helping close the fabulous blog tour for Liz Mistry’ Broken Silence.
Big thanks to Rachel Gilbey of Rachel’s Random Resources for inviting me on the blog tour and to Liz Mistry for the fascinating guest post!
When DS Felicity Springer is reported missing after a police training conference, the countdown to find her begins…
On her way home after an exhausting weekend, with colleagues she can’t wait to escape, Felicity notices something odd about the white van in front of her. A hand has punched through the car’s rear light and is frantically waving, trying to catch her attention.
Desperate to help, Felicity dials 999 and calls it in. But whilst on the phone, she loses control of the car on the icy road, crashing straight into the vehicle ahead.
Pinned in the seat and unable to move, Felicity feels a sudden whoosh of cold air across her face. Someone has opened the passenger door… and they have a gun.
With Felicity missing and no knowledge of whether she is dead or alive, DS Nikki Parekh and DC Sajid Malik race to find their friend and colleague.
But Felicity was harbouring a terrible secret, and with her life now hanging in the balance, Nikki can only hope that someone will come forward and break the silence…
The Guest Post – The Inner Nikki Parekh
I think sometimes Nikki is a little tough on herself and I also think others are too. So, I thought I’d give you a little bit of an insight into Nikki, the person underneath the prickly exterior … but you’ve got to promise me you won’t ever tell her. This has to be our little secret … no spilling the beans and letting folk know what she’s really like. Promise? Ok, here we go.
I thought by revealing her secrets and getting her friends and family to pitch in, I’d offer this unique (but very top secret) glimpse of ‘the real Nikki Parekh’.
Once she’d finished moaning and groaning about being on the desert island, Nikki would make sure there were no rodents of any description in the vicinity. If she was forced to choose three items to bring to the desert island, although she wouldn’t admit it openly, these are the things she’d choose:
- In her purse, right at the back, hidden behind her bank cards she carries a photo of her family; her partner Marcus and her three kids, Charlie, Ruby and Sunni. When she’s working on a case and things are getting to her, Nikki often sneaks off to the loos and gets this photo out. Their smiling faces, the sparkle in their eyes and the love she feels for them always makes her feel better, she feels close to them… although she’d never tell anyone (except maybe Marcus) that she does this.
- Years ago, when she was sitting her GCSE exams, her mum Lalita gave her a tiny marble statuette of the Hindu Elephant God Ganesh to take with her into the exams. Ganesh is the remover of obstacles. Unknown to her mum, Nikki carries this tiny statue with there in her pocket wherever she goes. She’s not a religious woman, but having this small token of her mother’s love with her, gives her strength and hope.
- The third thing she’d take would definitely be the utensils to build a fire … how else could she be sure those creepy, long tailed screechy, scratchy rodents would steer clear of her. The very thought of them near her – their scratchy, scratchy, nibbly little jaws and their creepy clingy little claws would keep her awake at night. No, Nikki would definitely need plenty of firewood to keep her phobia at bay.
Nikki’s biggest regrets
Nikki has two regrets that plague her and have done for many, many years. The first is that she found it too easy to believe that her husband Khalid would have left her all those years ago when she was pregnant with his child, her first born Charlie. After the discovery of his remains in Last Request, the first in the Nikki Parekh series, Nikki has been overcome with guilt that she’d misjudged him so badly and had perhaps, by believing he’d left her voluntarily, allowed more people to die.
Her second regret is quite a shocking one and is one that she has only ever confided to Marcus. Every single day of her life, Nikki regrets not killing her abusive father when she was twelve years old. She had the means, she had the opportunity, but she couldn’t bring herself to do it. Every day since she has regretted that decision for she believes that, had she managed to kill him – had the courage to kill him – then she, her mother and her sister would not be living under the constant threat of him returning to their lives.
What others think of Nikki in five words.
My editor describes Nikki as brave, bold and really quite ferocious and I have to say, I tend to agree. But not everybody sees her exactly like that. Here’s what her friends and family think of her.
Lalita Parekh (Nikki’s mum) – Beautiful, stubborn, sad, too responsible.
Marcus (Nikki’s partner and father to her youngest two children) – Sexy, loving, stubborn, moral, beautiful.
DC Sajid Malik (Nikki’s work partner) – Annoying, fearless, loyal, coffee addict, funny.
Charlie (Nikki’s 15-year-old daughter) – Cool, annoyingly observant, nosy, interfering.
Ruby (the Rubster, Nikki’s 13-year-old daughter) – Untidy, can’t cook, nosy, ace.
Sunni (Nikki’s 9-year-old son) – Pretty, frowny, scaredy, tickly, kicky-assy.
Haqib (Nikki’s 17- year-old nephew) – Interfering, cool, always there, nosy.
Anika (Nikki’s younger sister) – worries too much, bitchy, annoying.
Archie Hegley, Nikki’s boss – Brave, loyal, impulsive, reckless, clever.
I hope this post has given you a bit more insight into Nikki. I sometimes wonder if, because she’s a working class woman, with children, living on a working class estate in Bradford, Nikki gets held to different standards than a male police officer would. Do we question a male officer who is also a parent’s actions when he puts the job first? Do we question his motives when he’s dealing with balancing his family and work life? I don’t think we do and that is one of the reasons I wanted to explore this.
Nikki is many things. She’s an excellent police officer, who bends the rules on occasion. She is a loving mother who would do anything to protect her family. She is a loyal friend who puts her friends’ feelings before her own and would unquestioningly have their backs. I love writing Nikki – maybe she’s the person I wish I was, maybe she’s just the sort of character I’d like to see more of in books. Whatever, it is. There’s plenty more Nikki stories that I am so looking forward to writing. Thanks for indulging me.
Who Is Liz Mistry?
Born in Scotland, Made in Bradford sums up Liz Mistry’s life. Over thirty years ago she moved from a small village in West Lothian to Yorkshire to get her teaching degree. Once here, Liz fell in love with three things; curries, the rich cultural diversity of the city … and her Indian husband (not necessarily in this order). Now thirty years, three children, two cats (Winky and Scumpy) and a huge extended family later, Liz uses her experiences of living and working in the inner city to flavour her writing. Her gritty crime fiction police procedural novels set in Bradford embrace the city she describes as ‘Warm, Rich and Fearless’ whilst exploring the darkness that lurks beneath.
Struggling with severe clinical depression and anxiety for a large number of years, Liz often includes mental health themes in her writing. She credits the MA in Creative Writing she took at Leeds Trinity University with helping her find a way of using her writing to navigate her ongoing mental health struggles. Being a debut novelist in her fifties was something Liz had only dreamed of and she counts herself lucky, whilst pinching herself regularly to make sure it’s all real. One of the nicest things about being a published author is chatting with and responding to readers’ feedback and Liz regularly does events at local libraries, universities, literature festivals and open mics. She also teaches creative writing too. Now, having nearly completed a PhD in Creative Writing focussing on ‘the absence of the teen voice in adult crime fiction’ and ‘why expansive narratives matter’, Liz is chock full of ideas to continue writing.
In her spare time, Liz loves pub quizzes (although she admits to being rubbish at them), dancing (she does a mean jig to Proud Mary – her opinion, not ratified by her family), visiting the varied Yorkshire landscape, with Robin Hoods Bay being one of her favourite coastal destinations, listening to music, reading and blogging about all things crime fiction on her blog, The Crime Warp.
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Thanks so much for hosting this Claire. Really appreciate it xx
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My pleasure Liz. Thank you for such a fab insight to Nikki x