DS George Cross #1
A homeless man. Violently strangled. No leads. Except his past.
An outsider himself, DS George Cross is drawn to this case. The discovery of the dead man’s connection to an old cold case then pulls Cross in further. Convinced this is where the answer to the murder lies, he sets about solving another that someone has spent the past fifteen years thinking they’ve got away with. Cross’ relentless obsession with logic, detail and patterns is what makes him so irritatingly brilliant. It doesn’t exactly make him popular with colleagues or his superiors, though. He has numerous enemies in the force wanting to see him fail. Red flags are soon raised as suspicious inconsistencies and errors in the original detective’s investigation come to light. Now retired, this ex-cop has powerful friends in the force and a long-standing dislike of Cross. Set in picturesque Bristol in the Southwest of England, it’s not long before the city reveals its dark underbelly, in a case of intriguing twists and turns whose result astonishes even those involved. Difficult and awkward, maybe. But Cross has the best conviction rate in Avon & Somerset Police. By far. Will this case put an end to that?
LEAPING FROM SCREENWRITING TO NOVELS
I have spent my entire career in TV and movies. As a director but as things turned out mostly as a screenwriter. I like to think I’ve done pretty well. I’ve worked in both the UK and Hollywood. I’ve written and directed my own movie JACK AND SARAH and have written scripts for six produced movies with a seventh coming out next year. I’ve enjoyed it thoroughly, being paid to do something I love in a world in an industry I always dreamed of being part of. But there is a problem with this. I’ve also written dozens of screenplays – all commissioned and paid for – that have never seen the light of day. This is par for the course in Hollywood. The number of projects in development far outstrips the number of movies produced. This means you can spend maybe two years working on a project for no-one ever to see it. After a while it doesn’t matter how much you’re being paid, the frustration just builds and builds. It’s like writing a manuscript for a novel and then just putting it on a shelf.
The other difficult part of the process is that you are constantly having to address and take into account other people’s opinions and notes. From development people, to producers, studio executives, directors, and finally actors. It is definitely a collaborative process but more often than not, something gets lost along the way. With so many voices there is always a danger of a script just becoming a consensus and often middle of the road for it. What happens then? Well some of them get made, as we know, but the others get consigned to the bin of development. But even before that happens there is a long, agonising wait, while people decide whether or not your movie is going into production. You’re always waiting on someone. A director to say yes. An actor to commit. A studio to greenlight. Of course when a film goes into production it’s a fantastic feeling. But on balance it’s quite rare.
In animation there are even more voices and opinions because it is a very different process. It has to have many voices by the very nature of it. You have to accept as a writer that it’s not the same as live action. You’re just a small cog along with others in a very large and complex wheel. The great difference in writing on an animation movie is that, most of the time, you’re actually in production as you write – which is fantastically rewarding.
With publishing having changed so much recently, particularly self-publishing, I decided to write my first novel. This was in part because I’d done a lot of research for a project that wasn’t going to happen and I didn’t want to waste it. I, of course, have agents and managers who could put me in touch with publishers, but I decided to go it alone. I just didn’t want to wait on whether a literary agent would take it one. Whether a publisher would publish it. Not out of arrogance, but impatience. I also didn’t wanted others second guessing what my readership might want to read. I wanted to find out what they thought directly and with the internet, readers are quick to let you know what they think! I could name the date that people would be able to read the unadulterated version of my book. I hoped it would be good but was confident enough to let the public decide that. I obviously employed an editor – a prize winning novelist who also edits and teaches creative writing – and a proof editor. I got hold of a cover designer who works for a lot of major publishers. Basically I was in control and the public would be able to read my book as I wanted them to. It’s been absolutely liberating. I’ve been in charge, for better or worse. I’m doing this blog tour because I decided to, not anyone else. It’s wonderful.
THE DENTIST seems to be going down well and the second book THE CYCLIST comes out on September 2nd. I know that because I chose that date and worked towards it. No-one else’s decision to wait on. Whether the books do well do well will depend on how they go down with readers and how well I publicise them. No-one else.
Thank you, Tim Sullivan and Damppebbles Blog Tours
About the author
TIM SULLIVAN made his first short film before graduating from Cambridge University. His ambition to become a screenwriter was formed not so much by this experience but as an attempt to foil his father’s determination to turn him into a lawyer.
Within weeks of leaving university armed with a law degree he had met the film maker Derek Jarman and persuaded him to commission an original screenplay from him entitled BOB UPADOWN and so a career was born.
A few months later he joined Granada Television as a researcher. Here he was commissioned to write the first of many television scripts for the company. Two sitcoms entitled THE TRAIN NOW LEAVING and THE GREASY SPOON followed by the crime dramas MYSTERIOUS WAYS and MAIGRET.
While at Granada he was selected for the prestigious Directors’ Training scheme when only 26. Previous encumbents had included Mike Newell, Roland Joffe, and Michael Apted, more recently Julian Farino. Among other credits he directed CORONATION STREET, MADE IN HEAVEN, THATCHER THE FINAL DAYS and THE CASEBOOK OF SHERLOCK HOLMES with Jeremy Brett.
During this time he also co wrote the screenplays for the movies A HANDFUL OF DUST starring Kristen Scott Thomas, Judi Dench and Alec Guinness and WHERE ANGELS FEAR TO TREAD starring Helen Mirren and Helena Bonham Carter, both with producer the legendary TV producer Derek Granger (BRIDESHEAD REVISITED).
Upon leaving the bosom of Granada and venturing into the wild wide world of the freelance film maker he wrote and directed the movie JACK AND SARAH starring Richard E Grant, Samantha
Mathis, Ian Mckellen, Judi Dench and Eileen Atkins. This led to a commission from New Line Pictures to write the screenplay WALKING PAPERS based on the Jay Cronley novel of the same name.
This screenplay came to the attention of execs at Universal and Imagine who then asked Tim to do a page one rewrite of a western for Ron Howard entitled THE PRETENDERS. Tim enjoyed working with Ron for over a year on this.
He then wrote an original screenplay, PERSONAL SHOPPING, which was promptly snapped up by Paramount for producer Scott Rudin.
He spent four months working for and with Jeffrey Katzenberg at Dreamworks animation as a production writer on the movie FLUSHED AWAY. Impressed by his work Katzenberg commissioned him to write a script for SHREK 4 which wasn’t used as a different storyline was decided upon as a director came on board.
During this time he was actively involved in British television directing the last ever ninety minute episode of the BAFTA award winning series COLD FEET. As well as a TV movie for ITV called CATWALK DOGS written by Simon Nye.
He was commissioned by the BBC to write a pilot for a TV series he invented called BACKSTORY as well as another pilot for the ITV network entitled OFFSPRING.
He also wrote HIS MASTER’S VOICE for the BBC as a radio play starring Rob Brydon which was broadcast in 2015.
He recently wrote the screenplay for LETTERS TO JULIET starring Amanda Seyfried and Vanessa Redgrave.
Oscar winning producers of The King’s Speech, Iain Canning and Emile Sherman then commissioned an original screenplay from him entitled THE WEDDING DRESS.
Tim is writing and co-producing and co-writing an animated feature screenplay for Hasbro and Paramount which is in production and scheduled for release in 2021.
He has now embarked on a series of crime novels featuring the eccentric and socially-awkward, but brilliantly persistent DS George Cross. Set in Bristol in the south west of England, Cross’ methods often infuriate his colleagues and superiors “not so much a thorn in my side as a pain in my arse,” according to his boss DCI Carson. But his conviction rate, thanks to his dogged persistence and attention to detail, is the best in the force. The DENTIST is in the first of a series.
Tim lives in North London with his wife Rachel, the Emmy award-winning producer of THE BAREFOOT CONTESSA and PIONEER WOMAN.
He is currently the UK chair of the Writers’ Guild of America (West).
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