Due to life being completely crazy, this month’s diaries come to you as a box set. We have been very busy! Enjoy!
My dreamy month in New York passed by in a flash, but after some last minute scrambling, the first draft of THE NOTHING MAN (Book 4) has gone off to my editor – hooray! This is the best feeling, immediately followed by a plague of acute self-doubt. What if they hate it? They do hate it, don’t they? That’s why I haven’t heard back yet. They’re trying to figure out how to break the news to me that I’m fired… etc. etc.
I haven’t had much time to dwell on it though. To mark Halloween, the Sunday Business Post enlisted Liz Nugent, Pat McCabe, me, Aiden Gillen, Sean Moncrieff and Paul Howard to write a spooky story – Liz started it, then each of us added 300 words and passed it on. The result, Eyeless, was fascinating to read and when else am I going to be on a list with those names, eh?! I did a hugely fun event with Alex Barclay at Vibes and Scribes in Cork to mark Irish Book Week. My fellow Corkonians will understand what a huge deal it is for me to have an original short story in the Holly Bough this year, which has just hit the shelves. And as I type this, I’m in between my two events at Murder One, Dublin’s international crime writing festival. Plus the time has come to write a brief pitch for my next book, No. 5. This is why it drives me absolutely insane when people ask, ‘Are you finished?’ In this business, there is no finished. There is only finished this particular thing, now onto the next…
The exciting news this month is that Rewind is shortlisted for Crime Novel of the Year in the Irish Book Awards. The ceremony is on 20 November at the Convention Centre in Dublin and I can’t wait. No matter what happens, it’ll be a chance to reflect on a truly fantastic year and to celebrate with my writing buddies.
In the meantime, I’m off to France to work on Book 4: Draft 2. Yes, France. Feel free to hate me…
I’ve been sitting here wracking my brains trying to work out what to share this month. What news do I have? Erm… thinking …. one second … nope… I’ve got nothing!
Reader take note – this is the reality of a writer’s life. Yes, there are book launches, festivals, book club talks and fancy publishing parties. But they tend to come at you a bit like buses … in threes! In the main most writers are at home, sitting at our desks writing. So other than a couple of appearances on the Elaine Show, October was all about words for me. Which was rather lovely. I can, however, live precariously through Hazel and Catherine who are both killing it with award nominations. I am so proud of them both, my winners every time.
I have completed the proof-reads for Book 8 and as I type this, proof copies are being printed. I suspect December will be an exciting month as my publisher plans to send advance copies to media and book reviewers. Cover, title and blurb will be shared soon too! I’m so ready for this book to go out into the book wild. I’ve worked on it for nearly two years. It’s time to let it go.
Work continues on book 9, of which I’m about a third of the way through. I always find the middle bit the hardest. My editor and agent signed off on the story when I pitched it a few months ago, but at the end of the first third, I had an AHA moment. Which basically changed the ending. I pitched this new idea to my agent and hurray – she loved it. I’ve been reworking this new twist into the first third. I’m in good shape to meet the deadline next April.
Next month I will do my best to share something a little more interesting, promise. At the very least, I’ll give you all the gossip on the Irish Book Awards. We’ve got our pompoms ready to cheerlead Catherine. I suspect a lot of tears and whooping if she wins. And gin!
I moved house, planned my childrens’ birthday parties, carved some pumpkins, celebrated a wedding anniversary, celebrated my grandma’s 100th birthday (I know!), saw A-ha, cheered the announcement of my new book deal, hopped over to London to meet my editor and eat Shepherd’s Pie at The Ivy, and hopped back over to London for a lovely evening at the HWA Crown Awards. I didn’t win, but I sort of did, because it was such a lovely evening, and I was so proud to see The Lighthouse Keeper’s Daughter on the big screen and having its moment.
That was my month!
Sometimes the writing just has to be paused for, you know, life! I’m now chasing a terrifying deadline, and the Christmas ads are freaking me out. If anyone knows which packing box my hole punch is in, please let me know.
Smock Alley in early November was the place to be for crime fans of fiction and non-fiction (not committing) and aspiring writers. While there is a Green Room, authors eagerly mingled with everyone, signing books, posing for pictures. I was part of the Event Team for the weekend and at one stage, Murder One was trending at number six on Saturday. The coffee was flowing, and the Tahini Banana cake was to die for. I took, and was included in, some great pictures over the weekend.
There was one particular photo I was reluctant to get in to. Carmel Harrington spoke of Imposter Syndrome on The Elaine Show during the week and boy did I have a surge of that on Friday night. The event to celebrate The Gutter Book Shop’s 10th Birthday went extremely well, chocolate cake and wine. The post-celebration de-brief was amazing. Then, the group decided to pose for ‘The Conspiracy of Writers’ picture. But wait, I wasn’t yet a published author like Paddy Hirsch, William Ryan, Lucy Foley, Alex Barclay and Liz Nugent. Yes, I am agented, with Kate Nash firing emails back and forth with interested parties, allowing me to continue to write. But what entitlement had I to pose among those I greatly admire? I hesitated, then without question, was plonked in the middle by
all five. I was glad I hadn’t voiced my doubts as I fear one, if not all, of those writers had the knowledge to slap the Imposter Syndrome out of me without leaving a mark. The incredible support and encouragement I received over the weekend was second to none. It’s a photo I will cherish. I was included in another with the gorgeous and talented Andrea Mara, taken by Noreen Maher of @hiberniaroots. I also ran into fellow Inspiration Diaries contributor Clare Daly. As writers we need weekends like these to soak up the atmosphere and to expel that Imposter Syndrome.
It came at last. The email I was waiting for from an agent reading my full manuscript. Sadly, it wasn’t an offer, but it wasn’t exactly a rejection either. Not of my work. They thought my novel The Nothing After was ‘strong’ and saw ‘much to like and admire’ but felt that the market may lie across the water more so than here at home. Supernatural crime is niche and bigger in the US than in the UK and Ireland, they said. They wished me the very best of luck in finding a home for it and thanked me for the opportunity to read it.
It caught me on a week where I was run ragged with other things, so it’s not the end of the world. There is a home for my book out there. It’s just going to take time to find the right person to take it on. I had earmarked a few American agents on my hitlist, so the
plan is to tackle those next and get their perspective on it. I also sent polite nudges to other submissions I’m waiting on.
As it had been six months since I last looked at that draft, I decided to read it again and see what improvements can be made. There’s always room for more, so I’m tackling a revision too to make it the absolute best it can be. This puts the new book I’m writing (book 4), to one side but once this revision is done, I’ll get back to it. As it happens, there are no supernatural leanings in there, just what I hope is a good mystery. It’s also set in America, but I write the stories and characters that speak to me – whether it’s my 19th century vampires in Our Destiny Is Blood, or a modern detective haunted by his teenage brother in The Nothing After. For me it’s about people: good, bad, alive or dead, it doesn’t matter – each one is extraordinary in their own way and with a story desperate to be told.
Well, it’s been a very busy month, with so many plates spinning in the air I’m having to use a calendar and lists for the first time in my life. Thankfully, it’s all good, including the trip of a lifetime, with just yer man and myself, to visit a great friend of mine in Boston and then four nights in New York. I had never been to the ‘Big Apple’ before and loved its madness and mayhem. While away, I turned off social media and immersed myself in the break. However, I don’t think it’s possible to turn off the writer switch.
Waking at night, my thoughts often returned to my memoir, with stories I’ve yet to tell dancing about my head, while during the day I encountered many fascinating characters, or overheard nuggets of conversation, only begging to feature in a story some
day in the future. Since returning, I’ve settled back to writing and routine, accepting some days are more fruitful than others.
Initially, having got an agent, I was a little spooked, over thinking each word, wondering if what I was writing was good enough? Would she approve? Thankfully, it has worked the other way and I find myself a little more confident and even on occasions thinking it’s quite good in places. I’ve also set myself a deadline of when I will be finished it. I’m not yet willing to share that date, but I am determined to not go past it, although I can tell you, it’s not today or tomorrow, so don’t be getting too excited. With that deadline in mind I’d better get back to my writing and the hope that next month I’ll be even closer to the finish.