I am honored to have Stephen on the blog today. Stephen Edger aka M.A. Hunter’s latest (and final) book in The Missing Children Case Files is releasing today. I am a huge fan of Stephen’s novels and I know for sure The Missing Children Case Files is one of the best mystery series ever written. So, if you haven’t read the series yet, I highly recommend you to grab your copies ASAP.
Hello Stephen and welcome to my blog, The Book Decoder. Tell me and my readers about yourself.
Hi Rekha, thanks for having me on The Book Decoder today. I’ve been writing since 2010, and am now proud to have published more than 20 books in the genre, I love to write what I love to read, which is twisty, suspense-packed thrillers that explore the darker parts of the human psyche. I’m a married father of two, and live in Southampton where a number of my books have been set.
You wrote The Missing Children Case Files under the pseudonym M. A. Hunter. The protagonist of the series is called Emma Hunter. Any reason for choosing this particular pseudonym?
My publisher was keen to launch the Missing Children Case Files series separate to my “Stephen Edger” branded books, because the series is quite different in writing style. “Emma Hunter” as a character is strong and determined, and is a hunter of the truth, so that’s how her name came about. So when I was asked to choose a pseudonym, I thought using the same surname would add a layer of authenticity to the series (even though it is 100% fiction).
Exposed, the sixth and final book in The Missing Children Case Files was released recently. Tell us about it.
Since Ransomed (book-1), everything has been building towards Exposed. The plan was always that the series would be six books long, with the aspect about Emma’s missing sister Anna the arc linking all the books together. Emma has been asked to attend a police station following the fatal shooting of a suspect in the conspiracy she’s been trying to unravel, but when she arrives, Emma finds it is she who is suddenly under investigation. For those readers who’ve followed the series from book-1, I think Exposed is a great and satisfying climax to the series, and even I became emotional when writing it, as I knew it was the last time I would be living in Emma’s head, and I realize now how much I miss her adventures alongside, Rachell, Jack, and Freddie.
What is the inspiration behind writing The Missing Children Case Files?
I was keen to write a crime series that avoided the usual tropes of private eye or loner police detective, and so having Emma as an investigative journalist gave me the creative freedom to take her to places cliched detectives couldn’t go. The only rule Emma is restricted by is her own moral compass. Growing up, I was a huge fan of The X-Files, and I remember how one of the main characters (Fox Mulder) was spurred on by his own sister’s disappearance, and that was what inspired Emma’s own motivation for her hunts. When I write, I try to explore subjects that frighten me, and as a father the thought of my children going missing is one that haunts me, and so that too drove the plotting of the series.
The series sends a strong message on child trafficking and abuse. What kind of research went into writing it?
I wanted to treat the subject sensitively, and whilst it is quite a horrific subject matter to fictionalize, there is nothing gratuitous about the series. I should also point out that all the storylines are total fiction, but I did read a lot of child abduction stories I found online, and spent a huge amount of time viewing the Missing People website (https://www.missingpeople.org.uk) which Emma frequently references in the series. There are so many missing people (in particular children) out there that it’s a very real problem. And too frequently there are stories of abuse highlighted in the news, which all meshed together to create Emma’s world.
What do your readers have to say about the series? I am sure they only have praises for your marvelous series.
I’ve been overwhelmed by all the positive reviews of the series, and I love it when readers message me about how real Emma, Jack, Rachel, and Freddie feel. Many have commented on how they’d love to see it turned into a tv series, and nothing would please me more. The series was written to encourage binge-reading, where you just want to keep reading page after page, book after book. Five of the six books were written during 2020’s pandemic, and it is the quickest writing I have completed since I started, and once readers finish one book they’ll instantly want to continue reading. I am so proud of this series and just want more readers to give Ransomed a chance. I promise they won’t regret it!
The series is now complete. How did you feel when you wrote the conclusion?
I became very emotional writing the final story, knowing that it would be the last time I’d be writing as Emma and her friends. it’s such a cliché, but they’ve become like family to me, and it’s always hard to say goodbye. The stories combined are 580K words (I’ve just counted), which is a huge amount of time to spend with a group of characters, but I’ve never been prouder of a work of writing than I am right now.
What’s next for Stephen Edger? Any ongoing writing projects you want to share with us?
I’m still writing, and have a couple of projects up my sleeve. The first is Mummy’s Little Secret, which will be published by HarperCollins’ One More Chapter on 05 August. It tells the story of mum Jess who is approached by a terrified girl in a playground who tells hers, “She’s not my mum.” Shocked, Jess befriends the woman in question (Morag) to try and unravel the truth of those four little words. It’s twisty as hell and will keep readers guessing until the very end.
Then I may have 1 further book due out later in the year, but I’m just waiting to confirm publication date. I’ll be sure to stop by and share as soon as I have more detail. For now, watch this space.