Happy New Year! December turned out to be the perfect book end to the year. After toiling hard all of 2015 with book two of The Darkest Hand trilogy, The Fallen, my editor at Duckworth and I finally finished it and put it to bed - or at least under the nose of the line editor to sort out my misspellings! The Fallen-new.jpgIt was a huge relief to finish it before the year was out and have some time off from writing to recharge the batteries. When I started to write the second novel in 2014, I was warned that The Fallen could prove be the difficult second album, and it certainly was. It sent me to the edge of sanity and, at times, over it. Writing a novel is a difficult thing to do. You doubt your abilities, you lose your writing voice and style, you question where you are going with the story and what you are trying to say - and with a follow up novel, these troubles are magnified. We got there, in the end, just, holding on to the last of my marbles. The church bells rang in celebration that I had finished - and my mates breathed a sigh of relief that I wouldn't be moaning any more to them about the trouble I was having. And, most importantly, we've ended up with something I am proud of. It takes the thrills, spills and mystery of its predecessor The Damned and stretches them close to breaking point. The action and pace is unrelenting and, perhaps at times, unnerving. I think I've written something which really can be called a 'page turner' and which hopefully will not disappoint fans of my writing. With the The Damned I set out to write something which would be my statement to the world, something to move and hopefully make people think. With The Fallen I've written something simply to entertain and excite. I sincerely hope it does. It was lovely to have most of December away from the writing pad. I needed it, a chance to recharge the batteries, let the imagination restock and appetite return. At times I did find myself picking up my writing pad and jotting down some ideas but when those possible nuggets of inspiration do fall out of the fountain of creativity, you have to jot them down. Now, fatter than I was a month ago but more fired up and raring to go, I've started to structure book three, The Risen. And it's already shaping up to be an appropriately huge conclusion to the trilogy. This detailed planning of a novel is a new thing for me. With The Damned, with Ripped, (a second unconnected novel I wrote), and The Fallen, I wrote without a coherent plan in place. I had a vague idea of where I wanted to get to and let the joy of writing take me there. I got lucky two times out of three, but the third time cost me dear in heartache and headaches, grey hairs, fingernails, my agent's patience, my mind and several of my years. With The Risen I am taking a different tack and planning everything out meticulously. Story plan, chapter plan, character paths, everything worked out to the letter before I start. This way I'll hopefully save the sanity of all connected to the project, not to mention my own personal well being! Also, being a conclusion, everything needs to fit together and end beautifully. Or as beautifully as Inquisitor Poldek Tacit will allow. And then that really will be the final 'book end'. At some point in January, the plan for The Risen will be done and the writing will commence. By early summer I am hoping to have the first draft completed.