August 2016

As Britain's summer seems to have now finally arrived, I’ve taken the opportunity to creep out of the shadows of my writing cell and take a break from writing The Risen, the third and final instalment of the Darkest Hand trilogy, to let you know about one or two things which have been going on lately with me and my books. First and foremost, The Damned, the first book in trilogy, is currently just 99p on ebook at Amazon. Kirkus called it “Allegorical and erudite,” Publisher’s Weekly called it “fascinating and compelling” and the Daily Mail thought the mash up between World War One, the Catholic church and werewolves worked “surprisingly well”. If you've not bought it already, or even if you I have bought it, now is your chance to pick up my ‘morally complex and fast paced’ debut for the price of chocolate bar! Unlike the chocolate bar, it's guaranteed not to blow your diet, but it might give you nightmares. Secondly, The Hunted, which is the free prequel to The Damned, recently made it to the Number One spot in the fantasy and science fiction charts on iBooks. Naturally, I was absolutely delighted by this. People seem to be really enjoying this seven chapter ‘short’ involving Inquisitor Poldek Tacit in Sarajevo at the start of World War One. If you've not already downloaded this free novella, you can do so at Amazon and iBooks. Next, The Fallen, the second title in the Darkest Hand trilogy, was released in May this year and again has been really well received by the critics, The Mail suggesting that fans of Dan Brown would love this - and that it’s ‘rather more sophisticated, too’. After the relative ease by which The Damned came together, The Fallen was entirely different kettle of fish, taking me 16 months and nine rewrites to get right. As a result, I'm delighted that it’s been so well received and that people seem both excited and intrigued as to where Tacit can possibly go next. If you've not yet read The Fallen, you can buy it from all good bookshops, and buy or download it from all the usual online places. (It comes out in the States and Canada at the start of next 2017). Finally, the third and last book in the Darkest Hand trilogy – The Risen! So, it was all going so well! In January this year I put together probably the most detailed plan I have made yet ahead of writing a novel. On paper, everything looked great! Come February, I began writing to this plan with the intention of producing a first draft by the end of July. So far so good! The only problem was that halfway through writing the book it started to occur to me that it wasn't really a Darkest Hand book at all! In fact, I didn't really know what sort of book it was, other than the fact I was certain it wasn't the sort of book I wanted to write. A week away from it at the start of August, away from my laptop, manuscript and notes, in the beautiful south west of Ireland, gave me a chance to think and consider. One of the things that you find when writing a book is that you are so consumed whilst writing it, so close to the action, the characters and the words, that sometimes you cannot see when you've taken a wrong turn (* see below for a way of avoiding this I’ve since learnt!). Sadly, I think I took a wrong turn sometime around March. Back in my writing cell one week later, I came to the rapid conclusion that I would have to start the book again! Now this sounds utterly drastic, demoralising and quite possibly terrifying, but the fact that I could easily see that the draft was not right actually made the decision an easy one, and one which I took both willingly and with great anticipation. The first two books have been so well received that I know sticking with what I’ve written would let down not just you, dear reader, but also would let myself down. The trilogy needs a big climax! The first draft wasn’t that. In the week since returning, I've been working hard on a new plan and immediately feel much happier with its structure. It is a much more fitting end too what should be a powerful, exciting and moving final instalment! The plan is to have something written by Christmas.

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