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Black by Rose

This is the new book, in case you missed that little snippet before.

I wrote most of The Third Rule in 2004 and finished it in 2011, so Black by Rose is the first all new one since then. And it was a strange experience. Strange because I’ve always written in private before. It didn’t matter if I didn’t finish it. It didn’t matter if it was garbage because I didn’t have to tell anyone about it. I didn’t need to pressure myself to get it done.

This year has seen me gain a few readers who enjoy my writing, and I’m immensely grateful to them. No longer am I sitting in my own comfortable little bubble with a maverick’s attitude. I’m out there, buddy, like it or not.

So how was it, and was it worth the effort?

It was worth the effort, I enjoyed writing it immensely. I also found that my way of constructing a story has paid off. I never do more than a basic outline, and then I redirect as the story develops. In Black by Rose, I had a set of characters that grew from the first few scenes that had floated around my head in the weeks prior to writing. I knew roughly how I wanted the story to end, and tried to work my way towards it. It changed though; it took many new directions and I got stuck an awful lot, stalled because I couldn’t see a way forward.

Inspiration struck from one line of a film I saw, and I was off again. Similarly inspiration struck from a conversation with a friend, and that got me out of the mire a second time. The third time it happened, I blitzed the keyboard and the perfect ending fell out all by itself – an ending I could never have planned before I began the book.

Writing without foreknowledge keeps the thing alive, keeps me motivated too. It’s also incredibly risky. Of the three times I stalled, I almost wrapped it up twice and said it was going nowhere. A hell of a thing to admit to when you’re 80k words in.

Yes then, it was worth the effort, and for the most part I enjoyed it, especially the last quarter. There were times I hated it though.

Was it worth a reader’s patience? I don’t honestly know, and won’t until the reviews come in – if they come in! But I think most people who’ve read my earlier stuff will like this one also. I have to say it’s nowhere near as deep as The Third Rule, and for that I apologise. I have tried to keep the word count to something approaching normal because trying to sell a very long book is mighty hard. So on that score alone it wasn’t as satisfying for me as The Third Rule was. In that book I allowed myself total freedom, whereas in Black by Rose I imposed restrictions.

I have yet to edit it, and I’d like to add one or two sparkly bits to set a reader’s imagination off in the right direction. And then it’s ready for beta reading.

One last thing, one last question before I leave you alone.

What’s next?

Black by Rose is an Eddie Collins novel, as was The Third Rule. I’m not sure there will be any more. Crime is a delight to write, and Eddie is me but on a wilder scale, so I enjoy writing him; but while writing Black by Rose I wanted to go really deep and couldn’t because he has been thoroughly explored already. I can’t possibly write about any more personal loss for him or create any more angst. If I were to keep writing Eddie Collins without digging deep into his character, I would be churning out disposable books just for the sake of it. And that was never me really, not my kind of way. I might need a new main character; I might need a new direction. I might even need a new genre. I won’t make up my mind until after Black by Rose is out there though – never say never, right?

I have some really old works I want to bring up to standard anyway, so that’ll take the best part of the summer before I have to make up my mind about new material.