Book three has had a difficult birth. At first I didn’t feel the passion I felt for the previous two. I thought why I am doing this? I’m only doing it because I said I’d write five and now I feel I need to. I almost gave up. I almost said, forget writing altogether.
But middles are always hard for me.
I find that within a novel too. The middle is always the bit that makes me ring up my mum and say that’s it, I quit. She gave me good advice in November. My mum said why don’t you finish this one then take a break from writing for a while. So I did it. I carried on. I completed the first draft, albeit not the best effort.
I’m lucky I have a good supportive publisher and he was honest with me. Thank God for that. I was encouraged to rewrite it and as I did, I found my passion again. I found the excitement of challenging myself. I found my passion for the characters and their lives. Now I can’t wait to write the next book.
Book 3 is nearing completion now, publication coming soon…
I was going to write about my inspiration for the detectives Dave and Shirley. Then I realised it was two years ago, and they are so entrenched in my mind that it seems they’ve always been there. I can’t remember the spark that brought them to life.
I know I wanted to write about detectives because I was reading a lot of detective fiction and enjoying it. I had been writing lots of short stories and I needed something that would turn into a novel.
I wanted a detective who heard voices because I have heard voices myself in the past and find that people are not very knowledgeable about this area. They think, “you hear voices, you must be a psychopath”. But in reality, the people I know who hear voices are the kindest and gentlest people. So I decided to write a book with goodies and baddies, to put it simply. And I wanted my good main detective to hear voices and still catch the killer.
I wanted to create a strong bond between the two detectives because Dave was going through a lot of change in the way his mind works. I hope if you’ve read Only The Good Die Young, you will see the strength of the friendship between Dave and Shirley. Everyone needs friends, particularly when you’re going through shit.
I started by writing short stories with the two detectives and they began to feel like real people in my mind. I’m not sure entirely what the characters mean to me. I find it unhelpful to analyse why I write what I write. If I analyse my instincts, it makes my writing self-conscious, and I want it to feel natural.
There will be five books in all. I hope the arc of the characters over the five books is satisfying for the reader, but also at this point, where I have the first draft of the third book and am over halfway, I’m looking forward editing it. It’s going to be juicy.
27th November 2014: Nearly there…
I’m writing the third instalment of my series of crime books with Detectives Dave McDonald and Shirley Palmer. I am near the end of the first draft.
I could be finished by now, but life gets in the way. There’s meetings to go to. There’s a social life to be had. And then I stupidly start a fight with an old friend. Why’s that? Perhaps simply to avoid writing.
I had hoped to finish by Sunday. It is only possible now if I write all night long. Why the procrastination? Well, I’m worried of course. There’s the fear that grips me every time I think of writing… what if there aren’t enough twists and turns, or what if it doesn’t ring true? What if Dave’s madness isn’t deep enough or dark enough? And what if it doesn’t make me laugh? Panic panic! Deep breath, deep breath.
I am writing today, I am, I am. I’m writing because I’m not too tired. I’m writing because I want to finish the book now I’ve started it. It would be crazy not to. I have the book planned and I’ve got into the characters’ heads. It has been fun so far, exciting and I just need to build up some momentum again. I’m writing because there is nothing on TV anyway, and I’m writing because if I didn’t I would be an alcoholic.