Tina Boyd has gone from a very minor character in my novels – a detective at Islington nick who was the girlfriend of one of my early protagonists – to one of my most important characters and, incredibly, it’s happened almost by accident. She just seemed to develop naturally, her roles getting bigger and bigger until she finally came into her own in my seventh book, Deadline. I remember that moment. One minute I was writing about a detective with a very small role, the next I was chronicling the life of an addictive alcoholic with a powerful sense of justice. It happened just like that.
I love writing about Tina because she’s the type of detective who sniffs out danger and seems to get a perverse excitement from throwing herself right into it. At times it feels like she has a death wish. She’s also prepared to risk everything to get the result she needs and, as such, she does tend to solve the crimes she’s investigating, but in a way that makes her a lot of enemies.
Why’s she like that? In her early days in the police force, Tina was a fairly run-of-the-mill detective. Not exactly an idealist but no cynic either. The turning point was when she lost the man who was her true love ten years ago, the details of which are covered in my fifth book, Relentless. Although his death was classed as a suicide, it was actually murder, and it affected Tina hugely. She left the Force and turned to drink before finally pulling herself together and rejoining.
Don’t trifle with Tina
Since then, she’s been kidnapped, shot, fired twice (the second time permanently), and had to deal with some of the nastiest people out there, even managing to kick the booze in the process.
Thankfully, the experiences haven’t broken her but instead made her tougher, braver and more resourceful. She’s definitely not a woman to be trifled with but, even so, she’s got a hugely vulnerable side and, deep down, I think she’d like to settle down and learn to love life again.
Whether that happens or not, of course, is anyone’s guess.