2020 is hopefully going to be a big year for me, I say more in hope than expectation but if you can’t back yourself who will? Among other things I turn fifty on the ides of march. So I will have walked this earth for five decades, which feels like long enough to have left a few footprints. My children are adults, and seem to be functioning ones most of the time. So I can focus on my other children, my novels. As such I set myself a bit of a mountain to climb, but climb it I will. Or at least here at base camp on the 3rd of January with the year stretching before me, I certainly plan to. Though as the plan is to release four novels in a year, the target may slip away form me, but it won’t be for want of trying.
The main book I am supposed to be writing is the Third Hannibal Smyth Novel, ‘A Squid On the Shoulder’ Which will carry on the tale of that most itinerant of gentlemen from where the events of ‘From Russia With Tassels’ left him… But when I released Tassel’s back in October I realised I needed a break from Old ‘Arry, and a break from writing in the first person. Not least because Hannibal’s own somewhat laconic voice was starting to bleed into other writing. So I picked up another novel that I started around the same time Hannibal first spilled out onto the page, back when I was polishing the manuscript of ‘Passing Place’. A book I always intended to go back to, writing in my more usual third person style, centering around a group of characters caught up in events set in place twenty years before. So I took up that old work and started over with it afresh, keeping what worked and cutting out the chaff… Its all part of the process after all.
Maybes Daughter, the working title the tome in question, was originally planned to be a one book stand alone. But as I worked upon it and reacquired myself with my notes, expanded on some ideas and found an unexpected link to Old ‘Arry himself, I realised this was never going to be a stand alone, or a single book. Instead it is a carefully plotted, planned and put together trilogy, of short novels, shorter than my average novel that is. Running somewhere around 65k each, possibly even a little less. the first of these is now in its final pre-editor stage, and the second is half written while the whole trilogy is fully plotted and I know exactly what goes where and how. This is rather a unique position for me, as my novels have a habit of evolving, but for ‘reasons’ I can’t discus due to ‘spoilers’, Maybe Daughter will follow the tightly crafted arc she needs to.
So back to that mountain I intend to climb, my plan is simple, to write four novels and publish them in a year. the first Maybe book I hope to have out in the first week of April. When people will get to meet Benjamin West, Inspector Grace, the Vile Harrington, Miss Maybe herself, and of course the stoic presence that is Mr Gothe, for the first time. The second will hopefully be out in the summer, the third in autumn. While Hannibal’s third outing, predictably, will be sauntering along in its own good time, hopefully somewhere between the three.
And if I have time, for Passing place fans, there will be progress with Something red I promise…
There will of course also be a few short stories to write for Harvey (including the pirate special) and others, as well as a few other projects. But the novels are the main challenge I am setting myself for the year. I’ll keep you all updated with just how well, or otherwise, that is going.
So… that is all going to be an easy relaxing start to my fifth decade…