Wednesday, 13 December 2017

Reflecting back on 2017. Looking forward to 2018.

This time last year I was hurtling towards the end of writing THE RISEN, the final chapter of The Darkest Hand trilogy and a project which had kept me busy for the last four and a half years.
It was a project which had taken me to France, Belgium, the National Archives in Kew, the worst weekend of my life in a clifftop caravan in Weymouth, and several years off my life, not to mention sanity, sleep and too much precious time away from my wife and kids.

I've hated the books, I've loved the books, I've wrestled and fought and hugged them. They made me weep with pain and occasionally giggle with pleasure. But at the very end, when I typed that very last line and closed the book for the last time, I cried for joy and at saying goodbye to a friend who had been my constant shadow every waking minute since that trip to the trenches in 2012.

THE RISEN came out in the UK and Australia in May, published by Duckworth Overlook, thankfully to the best reviews of the series, the premier Fantasy and Science Fiction review site, Rising Shadow, calling it 'one of the best achievements in modern speculative fiction', whilst leading book blogger, Yvonne Bastian, said it was, 'one of the most amazing trilogies I have come across.'

In February, the hardback edition of THE FALLEN came out in the US and Canada, published by Overlook Press, to almost universal praise. The literary press felt it was clearly a worthy successor to the first in the series, THE DAMNED, building on the solid base laid down by that opening book, adopting a more linear and fluid format that made for a smoother and even more enticing read.
The current plan is for THE RISEN to published in the US towards the end of 2018.

RIPPED is coming in 2018
Having neglected most people for the last four years, after finishing THE RISEN I then took six months off writing almost completely, recharging and turning my attention to RIPPED, a novel I wrote back in 2014, between writing THE DAMNED and THE FALLEN. A modern day Jack the Ripper killer is on the loose in London and DCI Kate Vouch is the only one equipped with the skills to stop him. But what happens when events in her past collide with events of the present to cause her to question everything she once knew and the very people she is trying to catch? It’s a big and bold novel, full of darkness and light, Victorian squalor and modern terror.

I’ve been fortunate to be able to draw on friends in the Met Police for their insight and direction as to police procedure, naming conventions, departments and language. I’ve a big editorial job still to do on the manuscript, but it should be terrific when finished. I’m intending for it to be published in the second half of 2018.

The NEW manuscript
Over the summer I started working with my agent on the next writing project. From a list of about 45 different ideas for novels, we drew up a list of nine, with two we both really liked; a World War Two thriller set at the end of the war and a modern murder mystery set in a village remarkably like my own village. Having written about war for the last five years, and wanting to push myself as I writer, I opted for the latter idea and have been burning the midnight stuff for the last three months on it. As you read this, I am close to completing the first draft. It’s dark, unsettling and might just be the best thing I’ve ever written. It might also have me run out of my village, but we’ll worry about that when we come to it.

Still unnamed, (I seem incapable of naming books), the plan is to publish in 2019.

2018 promises to be a really exciting year for me and my writing. There are irons in some red hot fires at the moment and, with three published books behind me now, I feel that I’m starting to get the hang of being an author. But the beauty of writing is that it keeps you on your toes, keeps you guessing and keeps you learning and striving for the next perfect line, next perfect paragraph, next perfect book. I’m still a long way off from that, but maybe one day I’ll get there.

Whilst this post is to let you know what’s happened in 2017 and coming in 2018 from me, it’s also a way of saying ‘thank you’.

Thank to everyone who has supported me, encouraged me, bought my books, left reviews, told others about me and my titles, and generally been there along the way. Writing is an isolating profession but with people like you, I never feel alone.

Wishing you a very happy Christmas and prosperous New Year. And, of course, if you’re stuck for a Christmas present I know the perfect thing!

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