So, yes, I have failed dismally to keep my blog updated over the past year. There have been a few reasons for this, but still no excuse bar the fact that I am more of a listener than a sharer. Still, it’s a habit I’m trying to break, so here goes 😉
Perhaps the real reason I haven’t updated my blog in so long is due to a rather nasty bout of illness which struck me down Christmas 2009. My nervous system decided to turn on me resulting in lots of symptoms which were just too close to some of the Big Bads for comfort. Lots of tests later, the specialists concluded my body had thrown a hissy fit and I would just have to learn to live with these new peculiarities.
Immensely relieved to have the Big Bads ruled out, it still took me most of last year to learn to control symptoms enough to behave like my usual self. As a result, 2011 sees me mighty changed as a writer – now I take long walks with the fat lab, Drake, to get my circulations going, fresh air into my lungs and top up my Vitamin D. I have also learnt to step away from the PC and write in a notebook, a revelation for me in terms of speeding up my productivity and also freeing my mind from the critical self (when I write in a notebook, I can pretend no one will ever read it!)
Bizarrely, amongst all the not so great stuff, I had a good year professionally. Summer 2010, I joined the wonderful and intimidating family of writers and artists signed with the Barry Goldblatt Literary agency in New York. My agent, Joe Monti – a great guy with a shared passion for muscle cars and kickass action – helped me shape Autodrome into a viable young adult book. This process taught me a lot about exploring the vulnerability of my characters, cleaning up the layout of my city, and differentiating between adult and young adult dialogue. As a result, Autodrome now lies in Joe’s capable hands, and is a much better book for his advice and guidance.
Alongside Autodrome, I started work in earnest on a new novella, Cyber Circus. Somehow though, this was a story which just refused to end. Before I knew it, Cyber Circus was a novel in its own right, with linking strands to its sister novella, Black Sunday.
I am desperately excited to see how things go with this new book, especially since it showcases a new side to me as a writer – the one that thought she might have a nasty fight ahead of her health-wise and thought fuck it, I’ll just write what pleases me. As a result, this is a raw, earthy novel with all the weirdness, sex and violence I had shied away from in the past. How it will be received remains to be seen, but if I can take one gift away from this last year, it will be to turn off that nasty spiteful inner critic and just get scribbling.
2011 brought with it a tight deadline to deliver a new novella for Echelon Press in the US. Queen Rat is a YA/Adult crossover story about submarines, inbred royals, feisty princesses, cerebral princes, and the question of whether love is born or bred. Queen Rat is pencilled in for a May release in Echelon’s steampunk anthology, which also features the very talented Jen Williams and Adam Christopher, among others.
Before then, my short story ‘The Harvesters’ will appear in the Further Conflicts from Newcon Press, an anthology that features Lauren Beukes, Andy Remic, Colin Harvey and Gareth L Powell, and others. The anthology is being launched at Eastercon. I also have a piece of flash fiction accompanying one of BSFA award-winning artist Andy Bigwood’s artworks in his forthcoming collection.
In the meantime, I am back to work on my new novel, Titanium. The book was flowing well before I took a break to finish other projects. Fingers crossed I can take up pen and notebook again, sit in front of the kitchen window and, in-between squirrel-watching, get scribbling again.
I will also endeavour to keep this blog more up to date, having missed out stories of inebriation at Derbyshire writer weekends, the mayhem which was our Christmas party, SFX Weekender and that dirty cop outfit, not to mention the musical splendour which was my rendition of Blondie’s ‘Call Me’ at Abaddon Books’ Fantasycon Karaoke Rock Night.
I’ll just have to save those tales up for next time 😉