Talking… Books #1

With Christmas right around the corner (if you are reading this the day it publishes, that is) it means the new year is fast approaching.

I realised recently that 2022 will be the first year in a long time that I haven't released a new book (I'm not counting the 7 re-released titles with Conundrum this year, because if you are waiting for new material, you would have read these before). That said, there are plenty of new readers finding my books with some amazing reviews appearing (I celebrate every single positive one, because reviews are so rare now).

That doesn't mean I haven't been writing new material. I have. In fact, I think I have the longest backlog of unpublished material ever.

So, Where Are Things Up To And What To Expect?

Postcards From Pianjin Province – This was written fully in 2021, I believe, and went through my editor plus my advance team. Hearing the same sorts of caution for the book (I'd tried something a little different), I took the advice and paused. One reader, thank you Fraser, gave a good idea to fix things. It meant cutting back about 20% of the book, and putting a whole new storyline in following this specific bit of action (as yet, unwritten). That's where it is at the moment. It's a mostly-completed house where construction stalled. In theory, not a lot of extra work to get the book finished. But then again, we've all seen those construction sites when the shell of a building remains untouched, for years…

Salva – This is the first of four film-to-book adaptations, because I wrote the script for each first. My editor has read and enjoyed it, giving me her notes. I need to action these before sending it onto the next team. It's possibly more drama than thriller (problem? Perhaps I will fix this…) and my editor said would be really suited to teen boys (it has a strong football theme) though she enjoyed it, and she is neither a teen boy nor into football.

Blackout – This is with my editor. I will get it back anytime soon (though there is no rush, as I haven't dealt with Salva yet). It's set in Tallinn, and fans of my many books will see a similar theme coming back into things as I once again explore a topic that continues to fascinate me…

2024 – Named for the year after next, this is waiting to go to my editor (I am saving it for January, when she is less busy). If I have my way, it'll release on the 1st January, 2024. Let's see. It's about an author. There is a lot of my own struggles and frustrations in there. Things start changing in the first few days of the year when he's selling suddenly. Up to 2024 sales, every 4 days… Something isn't right.

2025 – Sequel to the last one, probably not waiting to come out in 2025, especially if 2024 is released on the 1st January. This takes things on another level or three and puts a huge moral dilemma in front of our unsuspecting hero (or is he suspecting by now…)

As for when these will publish, I can't be sure. That is because I don't know which route to go with them. With my new publisher, they are already contracted to release the final 2 Hunt books and my 6 stand alone thrillers in 2023. I don't think there is room for anything else and these already take me up to December next year. That gives me the prospect of a second year running without any brand new material out. Ouch. Plus, if anything happens with the movie side of things, that would take me off on an even greater tangent. I will speak with the publisher when the books are ready, and see. Perhaps I will release them myself next autumn, and then they can re-release with Conundrum in 2024? Let's see.

What's Brewing?

I'm toying with the idea to go back to novel writing (by which I mean, not from a screenplay first, which my last four have been) that will take me back into the dystopian genre (because everyone loved The 26th Protocol so much!) with an idea called Codes of Calamity Calmed, which will be the first of a two-part series. It's a potentially edgy concept (think Hunger Games, meets Basic Instinct) set in the near-future when one very significant discovery has been made that changes everything!

Remember Penny Black and A Boy Lost series? I released these titles under T H Paul, as they were a little different from my usual style at the time. I've since written other stuff that's closer, and the later books featuring Jack were much closer to a psychological thriller than anything else. There are four books here, finding few readers, as they are not being advertised or pushed. But what if I redid them, pulling them into the dystopian thriller genre, and adding into them what would have been books 5 and 6, but something I could achieve by adding bits to all four original books? Plus, if I'm honest, the character Jack Ferguson, who appears in all 4 books, and who the last two are based around, is possibly up there with my best characters I've created. His is certainly the most incredible transformation. If you've read the series, you'll know what I mean.

Also, remember Twiggy Rattlesnake? This is a tricky one for me. Everyone who has read it has loved it! I've written the first two books in what was meant to be/will be an 8-book series. It's my entry into the Harry Potter-genre, if that is a thing. Mine is about time travel (hint: I said above that there is one theme I come back to again and again. Well, this series is me letting loose with this fascinating concept!). And I loved writing them! However, my readers were mostly those I was teaching, those who came to my after school club where I read them the books. They were local sales, eager kids. But to justify spending weeks/months writing the rest for a handful of readers (again, no marketing = no global reach, no sales, no awareness) and it's hard to justify. Crucially, being fantasy genre, my publisher isn't a fit for these titles, so writing them really would be a labour of love to the small handful of readers I have who would be waiting for them. In a perfect world, I would love to write these and finish the series. After all, they are more likely to attract a film franchise if they are finished, over being two great books with no conclusion. But the world doesn't work like that. There is so much more to come in the series, however. So I have to ponder it. With all the material I have waiting, it might be that I can throw myself at finishing these books later next year. Let me know if you would be delighted by this happening.

That's it for now! My second-to-last post of 2022, this website being my sole news-related focus going forward into 2023, as I come off social media for good. Next week I will write a post looking at the best reviews received in 2022!

Have a wonderful Christmas, and a delightful 2023! Here's to dreams being realised for us all.