As it’s that time for reflection, I thought I’d give an overview of my year from a writing perspective. First of all, the good. As most of you will know, I’ve been concentrating on my supernatural thrillers for the past five years. I’ve written three books in The Ghosts of Alice series, but this year I wanted to publish two standalone horror books that I’ve had in the pipeline for a while and which I’m glad to say I managed to do.
The first, The Man in the Woods, I started several years ago but was interrupted by life and never finished. I realised when I re-read it earlier this year that I really liked it, it felt very different to my other writing and I loved the final twist.
Thanks to reader Linda Oliphant for this great photo!
Why was it so different to my other supernatural books? Well, several reasons.
- it’s the only one told in the first person
- it’s a novella
- it’s the only one of my supernatural thrillers not to feature ghosts (hope that’s not a spoiler… 😉)
- it’s about a teenage boy
- some people would even argue it’s not a supernatural thriller at all but… you’ll have to read it to decide whether it is or isn’t yourself!
I love this story. I thought it might well get mixed reviews – and possibly some negative reviews – but they’ve been (almost all!) positive so far.
The second book I published this year I actually finished as a first draft last Christmas – but decided to leave until November before I brought it out, for obvious reasons. It’s Black Beacon, a festive ghost story set on the snow-swept South Downs. I’ve loved writing this book as it’s by far the most personal of my stories, inspired by my grandparents, who met when my grandad was a German Prisoner of War and my grandma a young woman in Eastbourne. All my books tend to have a significant element or two inspired by real life incidents – but this is by far the most personal.
What about the bad? Well, whilst life outside of writing has had its ups and downs this year (with a few more downs than usual, including my mum breaking her hip in the summer) the writing has been pretty steady. I miss the excellent independent bookshop we had near us in Leatherhead: Barton’s Bookshop, where I used to go for signing sessions at least once a year, usually during the festive season. I miss the owner, Peter Snell, with his penchant for dressing up as Santa Claus, and I miss the staff – I’ve done signings at other events over the years, but nothing is as satisfying as going to a local bookstore, where everyone has a passion for books and reading.
That’s it for me – next up for my writing is the fourth Ghosts of Alice story, which has a completely different feel and setting – but more of that later in the year!
I wish you a Happy New Year, and hope it brings you what you want – or at least what you need!