And I’m done, done, on to the next one

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Dead Write is on sale.

Months of writing, panicking the story wasn’t coming together, that my characters might come across as vacuous or unlikeable, that the twists wouldn’t be as clever as those in Dead Letter Day, editing, choosing covers, writing blurb for the cover (always more difficult, in my opinion, to do this than write the book) and now the anxious wait to see how it sells and find out if my readers enjoy it.

Early feedback seems to be positive from the few who have already finished the book, but there are still plenty more to go, and refreshing the Amazon page hoping to see that new reviews have appeared is like having skated in the Olympics and waiting for the judges scores. I quite like that analogy given my complete lack of poise, grace, rhythm, coordination and actual skating ability.

Now is the time for promotion. Trying to make people aware of Dead Write’s existence, and to give my novel a try, without forcing it down their throats and annoying them by relentlessly saying ‘buy my book, buy my book’. And all the while my mind is thinking ahead to the next story.

The most exciting part for me of writing a book is getting the words down on the page and feeling the novel start to take shape. Preceding this is usually several weeks of developing and plotting, hanging out with old characters and deciding what paths they are going to take, while meeting new ones and learning all about them.  And this is where I am at now.

Most of my days are spent with my characters and they are nearly in place. My dilemma now is building a story for them that will live up to the first two books.  I have so many ideas and have explored several different plotlines. None of them are quite right yet, but the story will come, and if you see me wandering around with a completely vacant look on my face, in a world of my own, I’m not ignoring you, I’m just very busy figuring things out.

Followers of my Facebook page, be prepared for many questions over the next few weeks as my dark and devious mind goes into overdrive.

 

Do you really know your neighbours?

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A friend of mine has been engrossed with the news of Ariel Castro, the monster in Ohio who held three women captive in his house for ten years. She admits to finding it morbidly fascinating and cannot comprehend how he could have gotten away with it for so long.

As I pointed out to her yesterday, there is no telling how many other people are getting away with things, because truth is, unless they are caught we will never know. And as another friend added, people talk about the perfect murder, but if it has been committed we wouldn’t know, because if we did it would no longer be perfect.

It serves to prove that we really don’t know what our friends and family; neighbours and work colleagues are up to behind closed doors and as a writer with a highly imaginative mind, I find it intriguing.

The sweet little old lady shop assistant who serves me in the supermarket, how do I know she doesn’t keep her husband’s body hacked up in pieces in her freezer, having once poisoned his morning cup of tea?

The taxi driver who gave me a lift home last night, perhaps he sometimes likes to drive out to the woods, strip naked and howl at the moon.

The nerdy guy at work, who is always in such a rush to cycle home, is it because he has to feed the woman he has chained up in his house?

And how about the dog walker who passes my house twice a day? He looks innocent enough, but how do I know he doesn’t sleep in a coffin and keep vials of blood in his fridge?

It is fascinating trying to figure out what makes people tick and as a thriller writer it gives me plenty of material to play with.

Of course, the only crimes I commit are on paper.

Now I must go, I need to sharpen my knives… sorry, I mean my pencil.

 

 

Am I the only writer who does this?

 

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1/ Uses every excuse going not to sit down and write, from cat cuddles to Googling to ‘I’ll just make another cup of coffee first’, but then when I do start writing, sometimes get so caught up I forget to stop for dinner.

2/ Has characters living and breathing in my head before I can commit them to paper. Sometimes I will hang out with these people for months beforehand. Their name has to be right, I have to be familiar with their look and mannerisms, know their history and what makes them tick.

3/ Likes to people watch.

4/ Gets irrationally mad if someone disturbs me when I’m in the zone.

‘Do you want a cup of tea, Keri?’

‘Fuck off!’

5/ Has such an overactive imagination I suspect everyone of everything. My neighbours are doing a bit of DIY: Well actually they might be having a fight with a chainsaw. The guy in the white van: He’s a serial killer on the lookout for a new victim. The posh guy at work: He keeps his mother’s corpse in the attic and has a fridge full of eyeballs and brains. Seriously, when my cat went missing, I managed to convince myself that a giant eagle had swooped down out of the sky and grabbed her from the garden.

6/ Obsessively watches my Amazon rankings. When they are good, so is my mood. When they slip, I get a full on black cloud over my head.

7/ Sometimes writes drunk.

8/ Test reads bits of the book to my pets.

9/ Lies in bed at night having whole conversations between my characters in my head, which I then have to try and commit to memory or get up and write down.

10/ Gets over excited every time someone says something nice about my book.