Where am I? It’s a reasonable question, although perhaps one I ask myself on an existential basis more often than anyone else asks it after visiting here. But still. It’s been a while since the last proper post, so I figured it was worth sticking my head above the parapet and explaining what I’ve been up to.
Which is easy: I’ve been knee deep in the next book. Or possibly shin deep. But working hard at it, at any rate. It’s been an interesting process. This book is, basically, a replacement for the one I turned in at the end of last year, which I mentioned in an earlier post didn’t work. So that book is on the shelf, awaiting attention at some point (which it will receive), and what I’m working on now is something entirely new.
When I took the idea for it to Orion, the plot was more-or-less fully formed, in that I had the skeleton: the basic bones of structure on which a meaty final product would hang. I got the go-ahead, with a certain amendment, which I’ll go into more at some point, but which I was happy to make. But that amendment has required a slight rethink, and, while I’m doing well in terms of word count, a lot of the past month has been spent adjusting the original structure and exploring different ideas: writing my way, basically, into the story and the characters. The burgeoning first draft has therefore thrown up lots of new ideas – elements and connections I didn’t know about until I brainstormed particular passages. Hopefully, that draft will be finished by the middle of May, and I’ll then have a handful of weeks to order and edit. That’s the plan anyway. It’s a June delivery. Eek.
Anyway, it’s untitled (as yet), but slated for a May 2014 release. I’ll post more information as and when.
The other thing that I really need to mention is the handful of events I’ve got planned for this year, as one of them is next week. I’ve added them to the events page (see right), but I’ll also simply paste them in below. Hope to see as many of you there as possible. In the meantime, back to work…
12 April 2013
Scarborough Literature Festival
Delighted to be appearing at the Festival for the first time. More details here.
30 May – 2 June 2013
I’ll be attending the annual CrimeFest in Bristol, there for the whole weekend, but appearing on panels on the Friday and Saturday. More details here.
18-21 July 2013
Theakston Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival
I’m pleased to have been invited back to participate in this year’s festival. The full programme’s not been announced yet, but I can promise you it is stellar. More details here – and I’ll add more when they’ve been officially released.
AMENDED TO ADD
After publishing today’s post, I see that Stephen Leather almost immediately tweeted this:
Leaving aside the fact that Mr Leather feigns total disinterest in my comings and goings – yawn, etc – his tweet is clearly directed at me, and it does raise interesting questions. As a writer, how should you behave, and how much should you share about it?
If I didn’t submit a manuscript when I was unsure about it, I’d never submit a manuscript. I generally have no idea whether something’s good or not (the author has little insight or influence when it comes to how others will experience their writing), so I’m used to relying on the opinions of others. In the case of the original Book 8, I suspected there were problems – and yes, there were. But I had a deadline, and the conversation, as unhappy as it might have been, needed to be had. It’s actually far less professional to say “to hell with the deadline, you can’t have it, and we can’t talk about it.” That’s genuinely not how professionals operate. What you do is have the conversation.
As to whether I should talk about it on twitter … well. I suppose it’s about your approach to social media and how you use it. I prefer to act like a human being on it. I’ve published seven books and I’ve made a living solely from writing for over five years – but there’s little real difference between me and a first time writer trying to break through. We both face many of the same obstacles and difficulties, while attempting the same things. If you care about your writing, you always will face those things. And I think maybe it’s better to say “look, we all find it hard, and we’re all in the same boat, and it doesn’t get any easier,” than pretend that being published gives you superpowers. Occasionally, people will approach me at events and say “I’m trying to be a writer”, and my response is always the same: “Me too.”
Put bluntly, I would rather be honest about my failings than pretend to be an invulnerable sales machine. This may not sit well with certain people, whose tweets amount to little more than self-aggrandising rhetoric with links to places their books may be bought, but never mind. I don’t care about such people. I use social media as a human being, not as a brand, and I care deeply enough about my writing for it to be worth discussing – on good days and bad – as part of my feed. And so it will continue.