I’m fairly sure the last time I posted here I promised I would do so more regularly. *rubs glasses* My last post was in March… Damn… Note to self – write here more. I am still posting semi-regular updates via my newsletter (by all means, sign up and get yourself a free ebook.)

A lot has happened since March. My last post featured me posting about the completion of Last Night of Freedom and my hopes for the book. Things have not panned out too well for me since then. The book didn’t get me the dream agent that I hoped it would. To be honest, it didn’t get as much attention from agents in general as I thought/hoped it would.

The previous books I’ve submitted have all had a decent level of interest but Last Night of Freedom just hasn’t caught on fire in that way. It’s a shame but it is what it is. A combination of poorly timed submissions, my initial pitch perhaps not being as sharp as I honed it to later on, and the violent subject matter just combined to make it fizzle out a little. It’s a strong book, after some soul-searching I do still believe that but perhaps it isn’t THE book that gets me over the line with representation.

It’s disappointing but the good thing about writing is – there’s always another book. There will always be another book. If writing has taught me anything about myself, it’s that I’m about a thousand times more resilient than I ever thought I could be. I keep getting knocked back and going again.

Since I last posted here, I’ve completed the first draft of another novel, perhaps the most overtly horror thing I’ve written in years. The Trawl is a story about a northern fishing village, destitute because of Brexit, and now under threat because something insidious lurks beneath the waves. The book has shades of awe, faith, cosmic horror, and… industrial fishing… It’s far from perfect but in time, I’ll knock the rough edges off and see how I feel about it.

In July I went to Harrogate Crime Writing Festival with the excellent Wayne Kelly. I made some proof copies of Last Night of Freedom and managed to get them into the hands of some pretty cool people. I think seeing the book as a tangible “thing” will help not only them to picture it as a product in its finished form but also for me to think again about publishing and what happens next.

So where does that leave me?

Good question. The answer is – still writing. I’m working on a new novel because the only way I know is forward and through. I’ve got a concept of a novel I’ve written before but didn’t like the end result. It played it too safe and straight, so I’m throwing a lot more of myself at it, adding a few curveballs. After that, there’s work to be done on The Trawl and then this new book. Ideas and inspiration aren’t ever the issue for me, thankfully. I’m always here, crafting, working, trying to improve.

I’ll be back soon to give an update on what the rest of the year will hold on the publishing side of things. I’m yet to release a book this year and I’m unsure whether to push on and release one later or to hold my water and go for a double in 2024. I’m genuinely yet to decide and I’ll explain those reasons next time out. I’m sure it won’t take as long next time.

Take it easy,