Writing this post I was reminded of distant, different and more settled times. I was also reminded of something I used to say often and meant every time: writers are nothing without readers. When I was in my writing zenith I had a number of readers who not only engaged with me through social media regularly, encouraging my writing, but were game to give everything I wrote a try, whatever direction I went in. I was a very fortunate writer to have such support. I’m thinking about all my readers as I write this, and hoping sincerely that you are faring well in these extraordinary and worrying times.
It’s been over two years since I last wrote a blog post. Nearly two and a half years since I last self-published a book. Probably three since I last wrote one. Since then, I’ve started and paused at least half-a-dozen writing projects. I didn’t abandon any because I thought they weren’t worth pursing or because I didn’t know where I was going with them. (I’ve only known where I was headed with one book, so narrative direction isn’t usually an issue.) I just got distracted from writing. On the bright side, I’ve some good starts in the bank for a rainy day.
Getting distracted part way into a project is fatal for me, whatever it is: writing, DIY, cooking dinner, parenting (as my children never miss an opportunity to point out). I lose momentum and enthusiasm and sometimes the thread of what I was involved with. Usually, by the time I’ve made room for myself to carry on with whatever it was, I’ve forgotten why I was doing it in the first place, or I’ve got myself embroiled with something else, something with greater immediate appeal.
It wasn’t like that when I lived in Turkey. I was productive there. I was disciplined and organised and focused. I could be all those things because, apart from my young son, there were no distractions worthy of the label. My writing and parental duties aside, life was uneventful and quite dull. I always knew that coming back to the UK to live was going to be challenging for my writing. The upside is it’s definitely been a lot more fun and interesting than my years abroad.
Why have I chosen now to remove the dust covers from what was always the hub of my online presence? I’ve written another book, so an entry in my writer’s diary seems appropriate. This slice of cyber space has always had a symbiotic relationship with my writing. It’s been a place where I could record events in my writing life and somewhere interested readers could keep abreast of what I’ve got in the pipeline, maybe leave a comment. There was no other purpose for it. No writing = no need for blog posts.
The first draft was done late last year. It’s been sitting in the virtual bottom drawer since then, waiting for I-don’t-honestly-know-what. (Actually, I got distracted by something.) I’ve been working on revisions for a couple of weeks, and now, after the invaluable input of some good friends, I’m about as happy as I can be with it. It’s called The Harm Farm and weighs in at just under a hundred thousand words – about three hundred pages of a paperback book. Here is the blurb:
Megan Granger, an investigative journalist, discovers a rundown farm in the English countryside is being used to detain and torture convicted criminals for pleasure and profit. Unable to resist a story that could make her reputation, she becomes entangled with people for whom extreme violence and murder is a way of life. As the danger escalates, Megan understands she will need to become like them, if she is to survive to tell her tale.
I’ve got a cover for it, too.
I’m hoping to have the book self-published in the next few weeks, if I can remember how all that works. Details to follow.
All the best and stay safe, wherever you are.