People often ask me where I get my characters from. One rather cynical soul accused me of ripping off people I know by putting them in books, making money from them and not paying them a penny!
Well, that's not the way I work. Really.
There are a few people that think they recognise themselves in Due Diligence. One of them is right. All the rest are mistaken. Sorry.
My main character, Jenny Parker, is certainly not based on any individual. She's a product of my imagination, created by my desire to write about an ordinary person who gets caught up in serious crime. I wanted to explore the predicament of someone struggling without any safety net.
I made her an accountant for two reasons. First, unlike someone who works for the law enforcement agencies, there's no obvious support system for accountants who get into trouble. Putting her fate in the hands of the police isn't an option in Jenny's eyes. She has enough trouble already.
Second, the National Crime Agency estimate that there are at least 3,500 accountants who are involved in serious organised crime in the UK. It makes sense if you think about it, getting the money in the first place is one thing but being able to spend it is another. For that you need an expert; an accountant.
When Jenny has problems she has nobody to help her. There's no limit to how far she can fall. That's what I love about Due Diligence, even I couldn't predict what would happen to her. And I'm the writer.