Monday, 19 February 2018

It's been a while...

I haven’t written a post for a while—fourteen months, in fact—and I put that down to a couple of things.
First, the way I was writing my books.  From my debut thriller Gray Justice to my eighth book, Run and Hide (due out later this year), I would start with the seed of an idea and run with it.  At the very most I would plot out the next two or three chapters, but after that I would just write by the seat of my pants. All went well for the first seven attempts, but when it came to Run and Hide—centred around a new character, a female CIA assassin forced to go rogue—nothing seemed to go right.  I painted myself into so many corners that I went through the same thing most authors suffer from at one time or another: self-doubt. 

There were days when I would wake up and dread opening the file and looking at the word count that hadn’t changed in days.  I would write three sentences and immediately delete them, then stare at the page on and off for hours, and finally call it a day.  Most nights I would lie awake worrying about how I was going to pay the bills with no new book on the horizon, which made the next day even more stressful. 

I’d been working on Run and Hide for thirteen months when I did what I should have done a long time earlier.  I took the family away to Gran Canaria for 23 days and completely forgot about writing.  I sat in the sun, swam in the pool and lounged on the beach (reading the Mechanic trilogy by Rob Ashman, which was fantastic!).  I took the girls to water parks, we ate out every day, I spent a couple of nights watching football in the pub, everything and anything but writing.  When I got home, I opened the manuscript and went from 20,000 words to 85,000 in ten weeks, and a lesson was learned.

I handed in Run and Hide at the end of October 2017 and immediately began working on the sequel only this time I worked differently.  I plotted out the gist of the story, then broke it down into individual scenes then added more to make them complete chapter prompts, and once I had 35 scenes in place, I began writing.  That was the best 48 days of my writing career to date!  I finished Seek and Destroy at the end of November and took a few weeks off while I came up with my next idea.

I was planning to move on to something completely new, but Eva Driscoll wouldn’t let me, so I started working on the plot for her third adventure.  Twenty days in, I’ve got over 20,000 words down and it’s looking good.  I hoping to have it finished by May for an early 2019 release.

With the words now flowing, I was able to take stock of my writing career and saw that something was missing.  I’ve been sitting on the film and TV rights for years, and my foreign rights have been with my publisher all that time.  So far, only one book as been translated into German and Spanish, while the rest gather virtual dust.  I needed to do something about that.

I asked a highly-successful author for advice regarding literary agents.  Up until that point, I’d seen little need for one.  I’d negotiated my own contracts with Thomas & Mercer, and over the last three years I’d made enough to pay the bills and put a little aside for a rainy day.  Still, I felt there was something holding my career back.   When my friend was good enough to introduce me to Alice Saunders of Lucas Alexander Whitley (LAW), I was a little nervous.  Would my work be good enough?  Would I have enough potential to interest one of the most respected agencies in the UK?  I needn’t have worried.  Alice made me feel at ease from the moment we met, and she guided me through what they could offer me, as well as delving deep into my own plans for the future.  When I left her London office an hour later, I floated back home to Worthing and celebrated like it was all my birthdays and Christmases in one!  I’m hoping to sign the contract this weekend, and the future seems a lot rosier than it did six months ago.  Alice has already given me some great advice, and I’m really looking forward to working with her for a long time to come.

So, that’s what’s been going on since my last post, and I’m hoping to share more good news over the coming months.

Okay, back to writing…
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