Well, here we are – three-quarters through the year, and what a bloody year! I’d rather not dwell on the lockdown and barrage of shitty news so now I’ve acknowledged it, all I’ll say is I hope the worst is behind us.
So, before I make a start on that third book I thought it was a good opportunity to answer a few questions and clarify my future writing plans.
Let’s start with some familiar names …
I can confirm Headcase was the fourth and final book in the series – Clement’s time in the present is over. I know many of you love our denim-clad friend but I didn’t want him to outstay his welcome. They say you should always leave a party when you’re having a good time and I think the same applies to books – it’s best for a character to say goodbye while readers still care.
Also, I have to consider the commercial side of every book I now write (as those books pay the bills). A book in a series has a limited market – those who’ve read the previous books – whereas a completely new book will hopefully appeal to the broader market. To put this into context, ‘A Page in Your Diary’ sold four times the volume of ‘Headcase’ within the first week of publication.
However, it probably won’t be the last we’ve heard from the big man. I am planning to write at least one book about Clement’s life in the early seventies. Plans are still sketchy and I’ve yet to work out a number of kinks but I’m 95% certain it’ll happen within the next 12-18 months. Who knows, it might even spark a new series of Clement books – we shall see.
In March, I began writing a follow-up to ‘Meeting Mungo Thunk’. I had the idea of writing in Mungo’s voice and it went well for the first 30,000 words but by the midway point, I realised it wasn’t working. As painful as it was, I decided to shelve that book.
I know there’s still a lot of folks who would love to see Mungo return and I’ve not discounted it. However, I don’t want to ‘cash in’ on the popularity of a character and produce any old tosh – I want to write a book people will enjoy. With that, I’m still kicking some ideas around so there’s a good chance we’ll see our diminutive friend again, but not until I’ve got the right storyline for him.
What’s am I writing next?
I’m not 100% sure. I’ve got three concepts I’m looking at and feeling my way through each one. Each of those concepts will be a standalone novel and will feature my usual brand of miraculous weirdness. I have been asked if I fancy writing a typical genre book, like a thriller or a rom-com, but I can’t say it appeals. I’ve managed to get this far by writing books that require some suspension of belief and if it ain’t broken, there’s probably no need to fix it.
I’m hoping to make a start on one of my concepts this week so, all things being equal, there’s still a good chance I’ll hit my target of three books before the end of the year.
Film and TV adaptations
Without doubt, the most common questions I’m asked relate to my books being adapted for television or film. It’s probably every author’s dream to see their characters brought to life but there’s not a lot we can do to instigate that dream. I’ve had a few tentative enquires (particularly relating to Clement) but as yet, those enquiries haven’t developed.
Ultimately, though, it comes down to popularity. If an author sells a million copies of a book, there’s a good chance someone will snap up the TV/film rights. I’m nowhere close to selling a million copies of any of my books so I’ll just keep plugging away. While I do that, I have to thank every one of you who’ve done your bit to share my work through social media and personal recommendations. As lovely as it would be to see my characters on screen, my first duty is to keep writing books you enjoy.
A confession – it’s getting harder and harder to keep on top of social media and general correspondence. I now spend the first two hours of every day replying to messages and emails.
In my view, if a reader has gone to the trouble of reading one of my books and reaching out to me, the least I can do is reply. I’ll continue to do that as long as it’s practical but if I’ve missed a message from you, please accept my apologies – Facebook, in particular, is a nightmare for letting me know when I’ve received a message and a few have slipped through the cracks of late.
And finally …
I’ve entered ‘A Page in Your Diary’ into this year’s Kindle Storyteller competition, run by Amazon. Even being shortlisted for this award can have a massive impact on the career of an indie author (those of us who aren’t contracted to a publishing house). Such exposure might even bring my books to the attention of a film/TV exec – you never know!
Part of the selection process for the shortlist is reader feedback so if you haven’t already done so, you’d be doing me a MASSIVE favour if you were to leave a positive review. So, if you’ve got a few minutes spare, you just need to click this link.
That’s about it for now. As always, I’d like to offer my utmost gratitude for your support – I’m only able to write because a small but loyal band of readers continue to buy my books and spread the word. Thank you.