Thursday, 29 March 2018

A Baby's Bones, out May 1 2018

There is this magical moment when the last rumbling of rounds of editing die down and you wait. And then the email comes in. 'We've put your copies of the books in the post...' along with some very kind words of congratulation. And two days later, these babies arrive!

A Baby's Bones, out May 1

The thing is, for me this book has been around for years. I wrote it before The Secrets of Life and Death even came out. I could even say, the book kind of wrote itself, I was filled with nervous energy and waiting to sell the Secrets books and tapped away to keep busy. the Del Rey bought the books and they wanted A Baby's Bones... But after I wrote The Secrets of Blood and Bone, I realised that ABB was very different in tone and we amicably swapped it out for The Secrets of Time and Fate, allowing me to finish the series, for which I am very grateful. So, A Baby's Bones just sort of sat there, waiting for a home, and I got on with writing other books. When we came back to it a couple of years ago, my then agent suggested it might translate into a crime novel, and there we were. I read crime so it wasn't a huge leap, but editing meant I had to rewrite almost every line. It's been a lot easier writing the sequel, crime from scratch. 

There's a lesson there for prospective writers, though. Listen to feedback. If you're in love with your sci-fi/romance/spy thriller (and who wouldn't be) that's fine. But if an agent or editor or your readers suggest you need to take it down a notch and focus on just one audience, then I would listen. Your own perfect version will always be on your hard drive (my fantasy version of A Baby's Bones sits there) but I know this new version will reach a wider audience.

Incidentally, Titan Books (Miranda Jewess, Jo Harcourt et al.) have done a lovely job in little time to smooth the edges and tidy the story up. It looks lovely. I almost want to read it myself, but the ending won't come as much of a surprise.  

So if you like archaeological mysteries in the present day and to see what really went on in 1580, this might be for you.  

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Fiction and faction

I'm busy writing while watching the snow fall thickly outside. I don't fancy skating down the path so I'm happy indoors while my husband builds new (and necessary) bookcases for the front room. I have a lot of hardbacks that need a proper home as well as a lot of research books. Having three books on the go is space consuming. I have written 80k words in two months which is astonishing for me and honestly, is because I'm so enjoying the characters and story. It feels so self-indulgent to be back writing fantasy for joy. 

The thing is, as I make stuff up I'm colliding with actual facts. I invented a drug that was rejected because it gave people serious (even life threatening) nightmares and guess what? An anti psychotic was withdrawn late in testing for that reason. I found studies that showed that extreme physiological stress could kill people who were suspected of having the worst nightmares. I invent a shared dream and it turns out there's quite a lot of empirical evidence for people connecting in dreams. New research leads me down some very funky paths, and that leads to new ideas in the book.

It almost makes me want to write a 'stranger than fiction' chapter at the end of each book. Or maybe a non-fiction book about some of this amazing stuff (well, I find it amazing). I am cursed with frequent and dramatic nightmares so perhaps I have an unusual level of interest.  

In far more important news, my granddaughter (16 months) had her first experience of snow today! The most uncomplicated joy and curiosity that reminds me not to overthink everything.