We chat to Helensburgh author Daniel Sellers about life as an author and about his first two novels - as the second hits the shelves in town and around the world...

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Mystery stories are often, ironically, very comforting. Knowing that – for the most part – everything will work out is a luxury.

When a lot of life’s mysteries leave you hanging in an uncomfortable limbo with no certain outcome - will I get that job? Did I embarrass myself on that night out? Should I have said that? - such fictional stories always have a satisfying ending. You find out whodunnit and why and the baddie almost always gets their comeuppance.

It’s an ideal ending to not-so-ideal scenarios, and makes all the anxiety and tension worth it. Seeing complex issues so assuredly solved is something everyone wants, but that rarely everyone gets.

Currently facing one of life’s mysteries is Yorkshire born and Helensburgh-based author Daniel Sellers, whose assured crime thriller, Murder in Lovers' Lane, was released Thursday, June 1.

Despite the exciting occasion, he is well aware that he has just put himself and his “baby” in front of the often harsh public court of opinion.

“You’re in the public eye and you’re selling to people," he says, "so the deal is that people can say what they think about it in public - and it’s tough.

But for someone facing these stresses, Daniel is pleasantly calm as he sits in Hermitage Park’s Pavilion Café alongside his dog Rasmus.

With this being his second novel – and the sequel to his book Murder in the Gallowgate – he’s familiar with receiving reviews, even if it’s something he may never be fully comfortable with.

“I always thought of myself as being really thick skinned," he says, "but I was surprised at how exposing it felt when the first book came out and how thin-skinned I felt for a couple of weeks, reading reviews and feeling like they were personal.”

While he waits on the public to decide their verdict, Daniel already has a good indication of what the outcome could be – which could be why he seems so well put together while talking about his worries.

Industry professionals and inspirations have lauded the book, which Daniel says is “a bit like having your favourite teacher and handing your homework in and hoping for a good mark and when they like it you think ‘oh, that’s great!’.”

Writing the second book in five months and with just two months to write the series’ third instalment, Daniel has become well acclimated to being a published author and coping with the good and the bad of the job.

As with every occupation, he has learned from experience and with such an intensive one, he’s been learning quickly.

“In the first book I worried a lot about the language, and I was messing with sentences and driving myself round the bend thinking is it that word or is it this word," he says, "but I’m not so bothered about that now.”

Instead, Daniel has focused on balancing the audience’s feedback and needs with his own to create a punchy and engaging story.

“I’m more bothered about the feeling it gives you when you read it," he adds. "Does it feel exciting or moving? That’s more important.”

However, it isn’t just Daniel who has grown as a writer between books, but his protagonist Lola as a character.

The latest novel sees straightforward Detective Lola Harris on her journey to become a new woman - as Daniel affirms, “she’s getting herself together". 

It’s actually while she’s on this self-improvement kick, as she literally stumbles across a crime scene of two bodies in a van while on a run in Glasgow’s Pollok Park, kicking off the novel’s thrilling mystery.

For both Lola and Daniel, this progress is something that will continue onto the third book which he has already started working on.

Now the author of two books, Daniel mulls over how this concentrated but pivotal time has had on him as he prepares to write yet another novel.

After a minute, he concedes: “I’m much more aware of the impact on readers now than I was at the beginning, when I was just writing for me.”

While he has always been a writer – having authored several unpublished novels before his Lola Harris series – it seems that the change from writing as a hobby to writing as a job has just set in as he starts work on finishing his first ever series.

The yet untitled third book will follow Lola as she solves another Glaswegian crime and continues her self-improvement journey. Set at the Clyde in the city centre, Lola will investigate a series of incidents of people being pushed into the river by an unknown attacker.

Having lived in Glasgow before moving to Helensburgh, Daniel finds the city the perfect setting for all three of his novels, balancing the contrast of a heavy story with witty writing much in the same way Glasgow contains both poverty and crime alongside a great cultural scene and affluent areas.

“It’s a place that everybody from every background shares,” Daniel states with a smile.

However, as he moves on from the Detective Lola series, Daniel also wants to move his stories to different locations.

Giving a sneak peek into his next book series, he spills that each will be set in an “exotic” place, with the first book set in Italy’s Amalfi Coast, the second in Athens, and the third in Egypt.

That trilogy will follow a detective named Dr Marjorie McMaster as she solves murders across various countries. But with work still in the early stages, his readers may have to wait a little while until these stories hit the shelves.

While Daniel's novels may be moving across the world, it is amidst the uncertainty, unsavoury characters, and threat of a crime mystery novel is where he feels at home. He’s not alone in this, as in what has been a difficult few years for many people, stories where all problems are solvable have arguably never been more popular.

Daniel has his own theories on this, suggesting that “the world is a dangerous and scary place and I think people want to escape”.

That’s exactly what Daniel and his Detective Lola novels give to readers. The chance to step into another mysterious and thrilling world, but one where good is certain to triumph in the end.

‘Murder in Lover’s Lane’ is available in bookstores and online via sites such as Amazon: www.tinyurl.com/murderinloverslaneamazon.