A couple of years ago, I had an idea for a book. It was completely audacious and seemed impossible to pull off. So much so, that I didn’t dare start writing it for quite a while.
The Nagging Voice
What to even do with a plot like that? One that you know is going to be tricky as hell to map out, and even harder to shape into a readable story? My brain was saying ‘don’t even go there’, but since when have I ever listened to that particular organ? So, I went with my gut and started to write.
A few months of intense writing later, it was done. That book had travelled with me to rural Cornwall writing retreats, and up to the Isle of Skye in Scotland. Ironically, it was set in London, which is about as far from those remote wilds as can be imagined. But the mood of those places was perfect. And so the story flowed freely, despite my earlier reservations.
Amazingly, Amberjack (my lovely publishers) enjoyed the book and yesterday, we signed the contract to get it published. It’s always a cracking feeling when this happens, but this somehow felt more special than ever. Because this was the first book I’d written where I dared to push boundaries. I tested myself totally to the limits while writing it. That’s not to say it’s perfect – I wouldn’t be so arrogant as to make that claim. But it came out as something I was proud of, and that definitely gives me the ‘warm fuzzies’.
The Hanged Man and the Fortune Teller
So that’s the title, right there. Obviously, I don’t want to completely give away the plot-line, but I’m happy to share my starting point; which was rather uncharacteristically bleak.
I’d been talking about death to someone (as you do), and they’d come out with that classic cliché, ‘it’s the ones that are left behind that I feel sorry for’. Those simple words got me thinking. We all say it, don’t we? All our sympathies flow to the loved ones that are grieving, rather than those who have passed on. Indeed, we often find ourselves saying things like ‘at least they’ve gone to a better place now’, or ‘but they’re out of it now’.
That’s where the pondering started. What if they weren’t? What if, for whatever reason, a recently departed person was still lingering around? Even worse, they’d be having to cope with grief on top of the colossal upheaval of being dead.
Sounds like a bizarre way of thinking, I know (hey, I’m presuming some of you know what I’m like by now). But that was the start of The Hanged Man and the Fortune Teller, and the start of the ghost’s story.
Even more ultra-exciting; this book will be coming out in late spring (perhaps around June) so it’s not long to wait. This is a bit of a departure from my normal, irreverent silliness with Dr Ribero and his team, so I’m quite nervous. There’s the usual sense of ‘what if everyone hates it’ which is presumably normal paranoia.
Still, there are ghosts in it. So I haven’t deviated too much.
Watch this space for more news!