May 2015

"Cometh the month, cometh the man!" As I write this latest entry into my ever growing document to literary life (aka "trying to hang onto my sanity"), Inquisitor Poldek Tacit, the main protagonist in The Damned, is poised to thrust his size fourteen boots into the lives of all discerning readers, and anyone else attracted by the silver embossed barbed wire and the howling wolf on the front cover. Three weeks and counting till The Damned is available to buy in all good book shops. Just where did the time go? It really does seem like yesterday when I sat down with the plan to write some ghastly five book World War One epic based on my experiences of walking around the trenches of France and Belgium. Two and half years later, here we are about to publish instead a compact, brutal, inspiring and, I hope, moving historical thriller which will leave readers wanting, desperate even, to read more. Which feeds neatly on to the next question I am persistently asked. "How's book two coming on?" Since starting to write book two I have perfected my dead eyed stare and shambling gait, which usually is enough to warn anyone off from inquiring about it further. Admittedly, they often follow up the initial failed question with, "You must be feeling so excited at the moment? How are you feeling, just weeks from publication?" My answer is most times as miserable as Tacit's demeanour. "Knackered," I mutter, before shambling off in search of the nearest laptop or strong drink. It's no secret. I have struggled with book two. 'The difficult second album'. I've not struggled with writer's block. I've not struggled for ideas. I've just struggled for good ideas, something which doesn't just build on The Damned but blows the predecessor out of the bloody trenches. I really want The Fallen, the name of the second book of the trilogy, to surprise and astound readers. I've long realised that I'm not a writer who can just turn the handle and create. I have to feel it, write it from the heart, ingrain myself within the fabric of the prose. I hope that comes across in what I write. And that way of writing is a great barometer for me to see if I am producing stuff that fits and genuinely moves, or if, as has happened so often recently, it's reared off into the crazier parts of the literary mind. April was hard work. I battled hard with plot, characters and my own abilities as a writer. But at 3.30pm on a Sunday towards the end of the month at the end of a very very long wet weekend away in Weymouth writing on my own in a caravan, a light came on, the fire lit once more in my belly, and everything revealed itself to me. "Cometh the month! Cometh the man!" I know now that Tacit never in fact went away. He's always been in me. I just needed to dig deep and find him again. After months of pain, desperation and resolute hard work, I really do think I've done that and that The Fallen will be even better than The Damned. Of course, only time will tell. But, for now, let's wave a flag for my debut, and raise a very large drink in its direction. I know Poldek Tacit would approve. Oh, and if you've not already downloaded the short FREE ebook prequel to The Damned, The Hunted, do so now, before it's too late!

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