Looking back on 2012

Posted by on January 2nd, 2013

A couple of days into 2013, it seems like a good point to look back on 2012. For me, it was a mixed bag.

The Good

On a personal level, it was good to move house – finally. People who follow me on twitter may be familiar with the terrors of the old place; at times, I was only half-joking when I suggested it must have been built on the long-buried remains of some cursed graveyard. And although procuring a mortgage on the back of the stop-start structure of a writer’s salary was challenging, it’s great to be in our new home. Speaking of which, it’s also been a joy to see Zack growing up this year; every day, he has become more engaged and delightful. (Well, most days. He is two, after all, with everything that entails).

There have also been a number of professional highpoints. Dark Room got finished and published, and while it might not have set the world on fire sales-wise, the feedback was good, and perhaps more importantly for me, it was a book I ended up liking. In addition, it looks like it will be my first book to be published in the US.

It was fun – as always – to attend CrimeFest in Bristol and the Theakstons Crime Festival in Harrogate. At the latter, Black Flowers had been shortlisted for the Novel of the Year. It didn’t win, but honestly, it was a huge thrill just to see it hanging around in that kind of company. I did win the CWA Dagger in the Library, though, which was exactly as amazing a feeling as you would imagine.

There was also the usual pleasure of catching up with old friends and meeting new ones. It gets said a great deal, but it bears repeating: the crime fiction community is, for the most part, one of the most friendly, generous and welcoming you’ll ever encounter, and that continued to be the case in 2012.

The Bad

Aside from finishing Dark Room, and a couple of short stories, writing in 2012 was largely a frustrating and fruitless experience for me. I finished the book due for publication in June this year, but it ended up not hanging together well enough. That can be fixed, of course – and it’s only a first draft – but working out how to do so right now is problematic. It’s a tough thing to explain without going into plot details, but let’s say the book is 80% there. Unfortunately, tinkering with the 20% that doesn’t work damages the parts that do. It’s difficult to imagine it ever working in its current form. So that sucks.

Why am I not pissed off about this? Well, trust me, I am. But it’s also important to learn from things and, however grudgingly, acknowledge any positives. In this case, there is nothing wrong with the writing as such – it’s not like I lost the ability to come up with sentences I liked. I also know exactly where and why I went wrong, and won’t make the same mistake again. And even if the book never comes together as it is, I’m sure it will act as a very efficient organ donor for others down the line.

In the meantime, I’ll be starting something new. It’s annoying (for everyone) to miss a year, but these things happen. It’s writing, not just typing. Onwards and upwards.

The Ugly

Yeah. I’m sure this part doesn’t need spelling out.


Only one main one, and I’m going to steal it from something Sarah Pinborough said on twitter. In 2013, I’ll be doing my best to enjoy writing, and to remember that, all things being equal, I have the best job in the world. I’m also intending to dust this place off a little and post more frequently.

All that aside, I hope you all had a great 2012, and that 2013 brings you everything you deserve.

This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 2nd, 2013 at 4:45 pm and is filed under General. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.


Leave a Reply