First Drafts… with Noelle Holten

Hi folks, and the last post for tonight is crime writer Noelle Holten.

Before I kick start the questions, here is a little bit about the reviews for her debut novel, a bit about Noelle, how you can connect with her on social media and some purchasing links.

About Dead Inside 

‘Kept me hooked … excellent pace and a very satisfying ending’ Angela Marsons

‘An excellent read’ Martina Cole

‘A brilliant debut – gritty, dark and chilling. Noelle Holten knows her stuff’ Mel Sherratt

A dark and gripping debut crime novel – the first in a stunning new series – from a huge new talent.

The killer is just getting started…

When three wife beaters are themselves found beaten to death, DC Maggie Jamieson knows she is facing her toughest case yet.

The police suspect that Probation Officer Lucy Sherwood – who is connected to all three victims – is hiding a dark secret. Then a fourth domestic abuser is brutally murdered.

And he is Lucy’s husband.

Now the police are running out of time, but can Maggie really believe her friend Lucy is a cold-blooded killer?

About Me (Noelle Holten) 

Noelle Holten is an award-winning blogger at She is the PR & Social Media Manager for Bookouture, a leading digital publisher in the UK, and was a regular reviewer on the Two Crime Writers and a Microphone podcast. Noelle worked as a Senior Probation Officer for eighteen years, covering a variety of cases including those involving serious domestic abuse. She has three Hons BA’s – Philosophy, Sociology (Crime & Deviance) and Community Justice – and a Masters in Criminology. Noelle’s hobbies include reading, author-stalking and sharing the booklove via her blog. 
Dead Inside is her debut novel with Killer Reads/Harper Collins UK and the start of a new series featuring DC Maggie Jamieson.

Connect with Noelle on Social Media here:

Twitter: (@nholten40)
Blog FB page:
Instagram: @crimebookjunkie



Apple Books: 




Without further ado, below you can find Noelle’s answers to my questions.

1) When you begin the next book, how do you go about it? 

I usually have an idea already in mind and LOADS of random notes in a notebook. I tend to jot down things that will need further research and highlight them. Then I basically just start writing! Ideas often pop into my head at ridiculous times and in ridiculous places so I always have a notebook beside my bed as well as in any bag I have with me. 

2) Do you follow the same process you did for the book before? 

As I have only written two books… so far, it has pretty much been the same process. Each new novel has its own new notebook – I may have a thing for stationary! Same with when it comes to editing. I have a notebook for edits where I make sure the timeline works, where I note when a chapter has to be moved, where I can see any gaping plot holes, etc. 

3) What is your research process, if you have one?

Having a background in criminal justice and having worked in the criminal justice system for 18 years with various agencies has really helped on the research front. I’ve always had shelves full of reference materials and if I come across a book that I think will be useful, I buy it. I am a bit of a book geek and love learning new things, so research is quite an enjoyable side of writing for me. I have a separate shelf down by my writing space where I keep reference materials and a whole bookcase in my bedroom for other reference materials. I also have a folder on my kindle for any reference ebooks I have purchased, so they are all to hand. Google is also a brilliant resource and I have recently discovered that youtube is fantastic for visually taking in some areas, or …erm… techniques that I may be incorporating in the story (though, if you’re squeamish – youtube might not be for you!) Because my stories are based in fictional places in Staffordshire (in the main) I don’t really need to travel much as I know the area and make the places fit my needs. The only ‘real’ place (so far) mentioned in my books is Stafford. 

4) How quickly after thinking or planning do you sit down to write? 

I’m not sure I am much of a planner. I currently have four more ideas which a basic, two paragraph outline has been noted. Then I flesh that out with a few points and I MIGHT jot down some notes for a few chapters but as I don’t write chronologically (my brain doesn’t work that way!) I can’t really scope out the book in the order it should be.  Once an idea or chapter comes into my mind, I just write it and worry about how it fits at the edit stage. Once I make the decision to start, I write every evening for at least an hour and usually write 1-1.5k in that hour. 

5) How does the draft form on the screen? 

It’s a hot mess. No joke! Usually I write the start and the finish on the novel (weird right?) – then everything else in between – in some order but not always chronologically. I had tried to use scrivener for the second book, but found I was always returning to Word, so stuck with that. Also, the story and characters can take on a mind of their own and some things I had planned to happen may drastically change – minor characters become major ones, a storyline I hadn’t considered comes to life – it really is a fascinating process and had I not written a book, I am not sure I would believe any author who says this happens…but it does and I love it! 

6) Where do you write the majority of the draft?

Either at my desk or from my couch on Word. I sometimes write out a few chapters in a notebook – rough outlines – and then transfer and flesh them out onto the document when I am next writing. 

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