It has been a very long winter but I’ve finally re-emerged!
It is four months since my last blog post. Back in November I was about to set off on holiday and all was well in the world…That holiday is not one I’m ever going to forget, and for all the wrong reasons. One broken arm later and we were back home within four days. Any hope of bouncing back to start editing Trouble On The Tide flew out of the window. On top of the broken arm I’ve also had the cold from hell to contend with since January. It’s as if three years of being virus-free caught up with me. Even worse every cold/flu remedy in my medicine cabinet was out of date and the supermarket shelves were empty. Clearly everyone else in the same boat.
Did I feel sorry for myself? Yes!
But now with spring around the corner, the snivels and coughs are finally coming to an end. I’ve managed to finish my self-edits and Trouble on the Tide is out of the door and on its way to professional editor Anna in the Isle of Wight for her strict appraisal.
As I said in November, this book has been a joy to write, and all the early readers who’ve had a preview have sent back positive feedback. One comment about a confusion over characters was quickly rectified when I realised one character had actually changed name half-way through the manuscript. A minor issue. That’s why editing is so important!
I originally thought I would continue writing my Isle of Wight mysteries for ever more. I could see endless possibilities for Eliza to investigate, but sometimes you watch a long running TV show and you think if only they’d stopped this after the third series…
I’ve spent the last three years immersing myself in Eliza and her family, and lovely people though they are, I feel it’s time to move on. The plan is to launch Trouble on the Tide this summer and then take a break.
I do have another idea brewing but it’s a total change of direction and involves RESEARCH. It’s a story I’ve been thinking about for some time, but a casual “yes of course you can turn my family history into a novel if you want to” isn’t permission to proceed. Before I even begin to put pen to paper, I’ll need to consult and gather facts, and as someone who usually googles as they go along, this is a bit of an alien concept. And if I do go ahead, I want to do this amazing story justice (think epic wartime romance/espionage/tragedy). In addition, although I’ve said I’d never go back to seeking a traditional publisher, if I could pull this story off it deserves a wider audience.
Being in hibernation over the last four months has reiterated the downsides of self-publishing. To be a successful indie author you have to be relentless in your marketing. If you’re not visual and vocal on social media, books don’t sell. The publishing world is tough, every celebrity and their mother currently has a book on the market. In addition the cosy mystery is becoming overdone. Eliza Kane was always so much more than just a simple cosy – there is the family drama, the romance, the dual timelines. I know comparativitis is a horrible condition that should be ignored, but when I see multiple versions of Mrs Busybody strangled by floral bunting at the church fete riding high in the Amazon charts I do start to feel I should have listened to all that advice and just written something that fitted into the commercial cosy pigeon hole. (I’ve just realised Flora Bunting is the perfect name for a killer…hurriedly picks up pen…)
On the upside, I did do a lovely talk at Lee Hub community library last weekend – the Lee Tower in Lee-on-the-Solent was the inspiration behind Hookes Bay pavilion in The Theatre of Dreams so it was an appropriate place to give a talk. The Lee hub library is also housed in a beautiful 1920s building now taken over by the community, which is the whole premise of my debut novel. Life really does imitate art. The audience seemed to appreciate the efforts I’d made with my Powerpoint presentation, they asked lots of questions about all four of my books and nobody fell asleep – always a good sign!
Now that I’ve finally stuck my head back over the parapet, I will keep you updated on the cover reveal and launch date for Trouble on the Tide. I’ll also keep you posted on whether that next project goes ahead or not. If it does you’ll find me in the library with my head in a reference book…