It seems like only yesterday I was knocking back the champers to celebrate the release of my first traditionally-published novel, Remarkable Things. Now, just three months later, here I am with the second!
But hold back on the gasps of wonder – the small gap is not a sign of my hard work and dedication to the job. It’s all in the timing, as I had already written most of Dirty Weekend whilst tally-ho-ing my way across the bumpy publishing terrain in pursuit of that elusive contract for Remarkable Things.
I’d always planned to write a book set in the 1960s, one day. Well, it was ‘my time’ after all, and they do say write what you know. When I merrily signed up to NaNoWriMo with about five minutes to spare, I did it with no prior thought as to the kind of book I was going to write. All I knew was that it had to be easy and fast-paced, which suggested humour and young characters – in this case, eighteen year-olds – and then the era just came along with that.
Naturally, I didn’t succeed in hitting the NaNo target, but that wasn’t the intention. I did get a whole lot of words down in the time, though, and that was a most satisfying experience.
As I say, there is humour in Dirty Weekend – at least I hope it raises a smile or two – but there’s a deeper, darker side, too. I was surprised to find that one of the most enjoyable scenes to write was the one with the most violence. I’m not quite sure what that says about me!
And I know it’s a writer’s cliché, but once I’d finished the book, I really missed my four main characters – Carol-Anne, Terry, Mark, and Jeanette. Obligingly, they lived for me through the pages, and I suspect I haven’t seen the last of them.
If you download the book, thank you, and I hope you have as much fun reading it as I did in the writing.
PS. It was while I was finishing this piece that I was saddened to learn of the death of Cilla Black. For us, Cilla was the sixties. We danced to her music, copied her fashions, and used up gallons of hairspray trying to get our kiss-curls to stay in place – like Cilla’s. International singing star and friend of the Beatles she may have been, but she had no airs and graces. She was one of us. So, thank you, Cilla, and God bless. x