Lindy appeared in Hidden, the first book, as the bully who scared everyone away. But it was clear she had another side. In my second book I wanted to explore the different sides of this complex character and I was also interested in the rise of cannabis farms on the south coast of England.
Once the idea had entered my imagination it grew and grew and I knew that I had the beginning of my next plot. I am very much a discovery writer and as I began to write I discovered that fifteen year old Lindy was in deep trouble.
Then Cousin Colin appears and Lindy, so vulnerable and lonely by this time, jumps at the chance to work for him – watering the plants in his cannabis farm. Her family are quite used to a life of crime. “Everyone smokes it,” Lindy tells herself. All the kids at school are always boasting about the weed at parties. She even persuades herself she is helping the environment.
Lots of people have greenhouses, thought Lindy. Maybe I’m even helping to save the planet. Colin doesn’t use chemicals on the plants, does he?
But Colin hasn’t actually explained all his plans to Lindy. Before she has time to think she finds herself drawn into the dangerous and shadowy world of international drugs dealing. Colin has been grooming her to deal in cocaine and suddenly Lindy finds herself trapped. More than anything else she is terrified she will end up in prison like her brothers. With no-one on her side, no-one she can turn to, she starts to self harm.
In school they are studying Hamlet. The teacher compares Hamlet to a spiritual refugee, isolated from his family and friends.
"A spiritual refugee..." Lindy liked that. "Just like me, I've got no-one left at home either.'"
This has been probably the most complex plot in the cycle to write, rather like writing a thriller. My characters race round on motorbikes and motorboats, avoiding police, teachers and each other until the final thrilling climax.
Illegal is the story of a teenage girl driven to take desperate measures when all other choices are taken away from her. It is a novel about growing up and gaining independence against the odds.
Thank you for the brilliant guest post, Miriam! I can't wait to read Illegal, and I am so in love with the cover!