Now then, people: I’m pleased to be writing with some extremely good news. After weeks of turmoil and torment, I am utterly delighted to announce that my first novel will be published by Quercus Books in 2014. The last month has been something of a rollercoaster, to say the least, but I’m just blown away to have landed Riptide with such an amazing publisher. It’s still sinking in, but I’m starting to believe it.
My editor, Jane Wood, is really enthusiastic about the novel, and I can’t wait to work with her on the manuscript. I’m just home from meeting with Jane and Sue, my brilliant agent with the bodacious Conville & Walsh team. It was an incredibly surreal experience to talk about release dates, discuss options for the cover art and explore where I’d like to go with my next few novels. I have three solid ideas plotted out and ready for writing; I know what I want to do with the stories, but it was very odd to expose them to publishing professionals for the first time, as I hadn’t had to vocalise or pitch them before.
So what happens next? For now, it’s business as usual: I’m working on a number of films for Cumbria Wildlife Trust, and college is about to go ballistic with end of term projects and paperwork. I’ll have the summer holidays to get my teeth stuck into another draft of Riptide, then we’ll be looking at proofs in Autumn, and publication in Spring 2014. Around all that, I’m keen to get my head down and start making progress on my second novel. The bogs and marshes idea I mentioned last month is shouting louder and louder – I think I’m going to work on that one next. It’s great to have the ideas lined up – it’ll take me years to complete them all – but now I need to carve out some defined, scheduled writing time. I don’t know where that time is going to come from, but I’ll find it. The further I take my writing, the further I want it to go.
I’ve worked hard to reach these early stages, and I feel extremely humble to have had that work embraced by such amazing people. It makes me want to strive even harder with my stories. I wouldn’t have come this far without the support from Sue, from writer friends Ali Shaw, Iain Maloney and Steven John Malcolm, and most of all from my wonderful wife Monica – and my daughter Dora, in her own way – because this is all for her. I’m fortunate and grateful to have such incredible people in my life.
It’s a sunny day in the Lake District, and I’m going to have a wee celebration – time to take the family for some cider in the park…