Series Characters and the Story Arc by Dave Sivers

I’m delighted to share a guest post with you today from Dave Sivers in the wake of his new release, The Blood That Binds. This novels marks the fourth Archer and Baines novel, a series I’ve really enjoyed to date, so I’m looking forward to getting my mitts on this new one. Here’s Dave to tell us a bit more about it.

One of the things that never ceases to thrill me when I read reviews, get emails, or chat to readers, about my Archer and Baines series is how interested people are in the ongoing lives of the main characters. They want to know what happened to Dan Baine’s young son, Jack; whether Lizzie Archer will find love; and what’s really going on with DCI Gillingham and DI Ashby. They like other supporting cast figures too, like DCs ‘Joan’ Collins and Jason Bell, and they want to know more about them.

This was exactly the sort of engagement I was hoping for some years ago when I sat in a hall in Bristol between Crimefest panels, mulling over the crime series I wanted to write. I already had a setting – Buckinghamshire’s Aylesbury Vale, where I live – but I needed characters that readers might want to engage with over a number of books. Five minutes into that break, it was as though DI Archer and DS Baines had tapped me on the shoulder and started telling me their story.

What had come to me was the realisation that my two protagonists needed strong back stories that help to shape their reactions and responses to situations. It’s not a spoiler – it’s in the blurb for the first book, The Scars Beneath the Soul – to say here that Archer is facially disfigured as a result of an arrest that went wrong; whilst Baines lost his wife to a serial killer a decade before the series begins, and his son hasn’t been seen or heard of since.

So Archer is self-conscious and underconfident at the start of the series, and Baines is haunted by what he thinks is a teenage version of Jack. This wasn’t about creating stereotypical angst-ridden cops though. Before I started the first book, I already knew the answers to the bigger mysteries surrounding the characters, and I also had a rough story arc in mind for how the characters were going to evolve and develop over time. In fact, there’s a big arc and a few smaller ones, too.

This way I hope to keep the characters solid and authentic, and not just static. Real people change in subtle little ways, and so do their life situations. Don’t imagine everything is mapped out and set in stone, though. These characters often surprise the hell out of me when I’m actually writing the books.

I hope it’s these subtle changes in the characters and their relationships – as well as the cases they have to solve in each individual book – that has readers saying how much they’re looking forward to the next instalment. Nothing gives me more pleasure!

So to book 4 – The Blood That Binds. What will you see happening to the characters in this one?

Well, without giving too much away, you’ll see where Archer and Baines, and their relationship, go from where they were at the end of Evil Unseen. You’ll see a new side of DI Steve Ashby. And you’ll engage more with Joan Collins. Will you be any wiser about the central mysteries? Now that really would be telling!



“Two intriguing cases – one twisted plot.” – Alison Bruce

“Stylish, skilful and packed with suspense.” – Sharon Bolton


The quiet Buckinghamshire village of Houghton is reeling. Soon after twelve year old Leanne Richards is killed by a hit and run driver, the two classmates who were with her that night disappear, one by one.

Jade and Becky said they couldn’t identify the car or the driver. Does someone want to make sure it stays that way? Or are other, darker motives in play?

As DI Lizzie Archer and DS Dan Baines search for the truth, buried pasts and secret loves begin to reveal themselves. But is time running out for the girls? Or is it already too late?


‘You’ll enjoy this if you liked Elizabeth George’s Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Gillian Hamer’s Gold Detectives series and Val McDermid’s Wire in the Blood’
– J J Marsh, author of the Beatrice Stubbs novels.


You can buy The Blood That Binds here!



Dave’s civil service career took him to exotic places like Rhode Island USA, Cyprus, Brussels, Northern Norway and Sutton Coldfield. Along the way, he moonlighted variously as nightclub bouncer, bookie’s clerk and freelance writer, as well as picking up a first class honours degree from the Open University.

Writing has always been his passion and, since giving up the day job, he has launched a second career as a novelist.

The Scars Beneath the Soul, the first book in his popular Archer and Baines crime series – set in Buckinghamshire’s Aylesbury Vale – and the follow-up, Dead in Deep Water, both hit the top three in Kindle’s ‘Serial Killers’ chart. The Blood That Binds is the fourth in the series featuring DI Lizzie Archer and DS Dan Baines.

Dave has also won prizes and publication with his short fiction, written for newspapers and magazines, and writes material for the amateur stage.

Dave lives in Buckinghamshire, England, with his wife, Chris.

Twitter: @DaveSivers

Facebook: @davesiversauthor1

Goodreads: Dave Sivers


This post is part of the The Blood That Binds blog tour. You can read other posts here:

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