I was asked this question by someone recently and I gave them an honest answer.
‘I’ve no idea,’ I replied.
I got quite a puzzled look when I said this as I had just told the person who had asked the question that I had published twelve crime books so far. I had to explain further. What I meant by this was that, if there was a right or easy way to write your first book, I certainly hadn’t found it. If my journey in writing could be compared to a drive say, from New York City to Washington DC, some two hundred miles or more, then my journey would have taken in Washington State some three thousand miles away. Nothing about the route I took towards publishing my first book, The Body in the Boot, was straightforward. Let me explain…
With a brand New Year having arrived all too quickly, I’ve been thinking about what might be happening in 2022 with regard to my books. I’ve now written twelve Mac Maguire mysteries and the thirteenth is about a third of the way there. This one will be set at Christmas and a Mac Maguire book set during the festive season is something that I’ve been trying to achieve for quite a while. In order to ensure that I succeed this time, I will continue writing this book during the early part of the year and will hopefully have it completed by June or July. If my plan works out then I should have no problem in publishing it in the run-up to next Christmas.
Does that mean that I will only be publishing only one book this year then? No.
Mac Maguire’s twelfth outing – The Blood Moon Murders – is a little different to the others. You might get a clue what this difference is through the dedication – ‘For Halloween, ghost stories and things that go bump in the night.’
I have long been an admirer of M. R. James and his ability to put ghostly goings-on right into the workaday world. I’d guess that it was the title that first gave me the idea that this might be my chance to incorporate a supernatural thread into a murder mystery. That and the fact that the book should be ready to be published around Halloween.
As you can guess from the title the murders take place during an eclipse of the Moon by the Earth. I witnessed a really good one some years ago and the effect of the moon darkening and then glowing red with the light that had made it through the Earth’s atmosphere is a really eerie experience. It was easy to see why ancient peoples saw this as a harbinger of change and even doom.
The eleventh book in the Mac Maguire detective series has just been published. Here’s the official blurb –
‘Mac is just back from holiday and is once again getting bored when he is asked to help out by the local police. It turns out to be one of the strangest thefts that Mac has ever come across – a whole house has gone missing! Evidence is hard to find but, with some creative thinking and the help of his partner, Mac finds himself on the track of a suspected murderer. Despite his best efforts, tragedy strikes, and he is left to wonder if the murderer will ever be brought to justice and whether this might be a case that he will never recover from.’
This book has been a long time coming. Since I retired and started writing full-time, I’ve been averaging two books a year. It’s taken well over a year just to produce this one. I hope that it’s been worth waiting for!
2020 was a horrible year. I know that Covid was a major issue for many people but, surprisingly perhaps, it rated fairly low when it came to my family’s other health issues during that year. One of these issues, and not the greatest, was my Prostate Cancer. I had been diagnosed just the year before when, by luck more than anything, my problems urinating became apparent. I didn’t go to my doctor though as, like most men, I just tried to ignore it. However, I was asked by my neurologist during a routine examination about this and she insisted on reporting it, just in case. While the problem could have been caused by the damage to the nerves in my lower spine (which is also the cause of my chronic pain), my neurologist wanted to rule out Prostate Cancer first. This proved to be a very wise decision and one for which I’m very thankful. Continue reading
I’m confining my thoughts about the new year ahead to what I’m hoping will be happening with regard to my books. Although I have some thoughts about what I would like to see happen in 2021, I think that I’ll keep them to myself for now. I recently read an article that listed a bunch of people making their predictions at the start of 2020 and, of course, they were all way off the mark. Continue reading
Book sales have increased during this pandemic and, for some, it seems that crime fiction has boomed. This caused me to look at my own sales figures. As I’m a self-published author on Amazon, my sales figures are very easy to find. It looks as if my book sales have more or less doubled compared to last year. It is, of course, a situation that I’m very happy with, however, it did start me thinking.
I have been advertising a little more and I’ve finally got up to ten books in my crime series but I’m not sure that’s the whole story behind the increased sales. Continue reading
I’ve been writing full-time now for nearly two years and I’m loving it. I especially love those moments of pure creation when new characters, situations and even worlds spring into life.
However, there is always a bit of grit in every pearl, and the grit for me is editing and especially the dastardly and eel-like typo. I published my first book four and a half years ago and I’m just realising how steep the slope of the editing learning curve actually is. This has been recently highlighted by the fact that I’ve once again re-edited my first four books and guess what? I found them littered by tortured English and infested with typos. I have come to terms with the fact that these books will still have some instances of tortured English and typos but, hopefully, a lot less than there was before. So what’s the problem? Continue reading
My latest book The Eight Bench Walk should be ready for publication next month. This is the first Mac Maguire mystery that is more or less completely set abroad and so it presents its own set of problems. (Only part of Two Dogs was set in France and Ireland in The Chancer is definitely not ‘abroad’ as far as I’m concerned).
One of these was getting the locations right. Continue reading
I attended a local reader’s group a few weeks back. It was one that specialised in crime and murder mysteries. I was interested in what they did and it turned out that they were interested in what I did too. The first question, as always, was ‘Where do you get your ideas from?’
I couldn’t give a definitive answer as I honestly don’t know. I don’t want to investigate how my ideas are created too deeply in case it’s akin to analysing a joke. It’s never funny afterwards. For me the strangest aspect of being a writer is having to keep an open mind. I don’t mean this in the usual sense as in being intellectually open to new ideas or concepts. An analogy for that is like being in a house and looking out of the window at all the new ideas parading by and then inviting the ones you like or find interesting inside. For me as a writer an open mind is more like having your front door wide open and whatever decides to walk in, walks in. Continue reading