First off, a bit of encouragement in that his first novel was published from the slushpile. After that his next few novels (all psychological crime stories) sold progressively lower numbers of copies, and he was struggling.
BUT he was also doing freelance journalism and getting to go out on assignments with the police through that. Decided to try and get a commission to write about part of the ten week course that was newly being run by the National Forensic Academy in the US. Got commission from the Sunday Telegraph Magazine and got invited to go over for the week the course spent on the Body Farm in Tenessee.
The US police really do like their doughnuts! And we also learned interesting facts about maggots.
Having had his article published, Simon wanted to do more with the idea, and wrote The Chemistry of Death, his first David Hunter novel. That one's set in Norfolk, and the next is set on a Scottish island, before the third in the series finally goes to Tenessee.
There was discussion of what to keep the same from novel to novel vs what can be changed each time. Sadly I dodn't take as many notes as I should have, although I can highly recommend Simon as a guest for writers' groups and the like.
I have The Chemistry of Death, so more on that when I've read it.