Long time followers/sufferers of this blog (that’s me then!) will know that I’ve been doing an annual summary for the last two years. It’s a chance for me to look back at the passing months and make stuff up (in part) about what I’ve been up to. For completist with too much time on their hands you can read 2014’s post here and 2013’s here.
For the most part 2015 has been good to me. The only dark cloud is that I’ve not had a book out this year. In an ideal world the final book in the Timesmith Chronicles would have hit the shops by now, but this is not an ideal world and the last part of the story is still a way off. So 2015 has been dominated by the graft of being a writer without the glory of publication. I’ve filled my time with writing and editing, and I’m ending the year with two new books completed, albeit one of them just a first draft (currently it’s known as Project Artichoke). So I’m sat on the cliff of 2015 looking out with optimism over the green fields of 2016, keen to get down there and run through those enticing meadows and spoil it with my muddy boots. Sorry, I’ve been drinking a lot of Metaphor Mead over the holidays.
So without further embellishment here’s how 2015 worked out for me:
A new year, all fresh and full of promise! I greet it with a mouth full of chocolate and a heart full of dreams. Oh, and I dig out some old sketches. I don’t draw as much as I used to but I try to keep my hand in. I’m also planning on doing a picturebook when I’ve got the time.
I complete the third draft of my latest project, The Death of Goldilocks. I’ve been working on it for quite some time and it’s evolved a lot since the original idea. I email the third draft to my agent, Juliet Mushens, to see if she can find a home for it. I relax, thinking my work is done. I’m wrong.
A partial eclipse over Britain leads to hysteria as all teenagers get up early and start washing dishes. The unnatural behaviour continues until every bedroom is hoovered and dusted. Parents throughout the land are paralysed with fear at the sight of this horde of polite cleaners. Fortunately I manage to find the reset switch hidden under a giant mountain shaped like a zit and normality returns in time for Pointless. Full story here.
I finally get to see the Amazing Story Steps on a return trip to the District CE Primary School in Newton-le-Willows where I’m Patron of Reading. I had a great time there, and tested out my picturebook project on them. I really must get round to finishing that one of these day.
I caught up with Cameron K McEwan, broadcaster, actor, and author of two books about Doctor Who, both of which are well worth buying. We talked at length about our favourite time-travelling TV show, which was just as well because I was there for the recording of his Doctor Who Podcast.
My short story, Scissors, is published on the National Literacy Trust’s website. Scissors is a creepy story about a boy who finds he’s not alone after a vivid dream. The story is told in ten chapters, each of which is meant to be read out loud to a class of children (9-12 years old) and leave them wanting more! Also this month, after feedback from my agent, I embark on an extensive edit of The Death of Goldilocks, and travel to London to research locations featured in the story.
My second novel, Timesmith, is published in Brazil. It’s always great to see other editions of my books and I love how they’ve adapted the cover art for this edition. (As of December I’m still waiting for my copy to arrive. Ah, well.) My major edit of The Death of Goldilocks nears completion, and it prompts me to return to London again for one last reccy. I spend a lot a time looking suspicious in Hampstead Tube Station, leading to me being put under 24 hour surveillance. They’re watch me now…
I come to the end of draft 4 of The Death of Goldilocks. But it’s not the end, it’s never the end! For starters the title’s going to change, and there’s more work to complete. Editing can be a chore but it always makes my work better, so I know it’ll be worth the effort.
I become a part-time spy. I’m kitted out with an invisible car, an exploding pen and a robotic eyebrow. Being shot at and hanging off planes while they take off is all well and good but the drinking cocktails and meeting exotic women is a bit of drag. After toppling a volatile extreme dictatorship and saving civilisation as we know it I decide to hang up my Licence to Kill and return to writing and drawing for a living. I also blog about the state of the VFX industry and how animation and visual effects are often maligned for all the wrong reasons.
I start a regular(ish) video series called Writing and Stuff. It’s intended to be a forum for my exploits and adventures, covering my writing progress, any events I’ve been to and books I’m reading. By the end of the year I’ve only published two but I’m optimistic I’ll do more in the New Year because it’s been fun to do.
Even thought it’s been published for almost two years it’s exciting to see Sorrowline feature in a Guardian Top 10 list this month. The article is Rhian Ivory’s top 10 books set in the past and the present, and features some excellent titles – go check them out!
Being on the Guardian website is like waiting for a shark. You wait for ages and nothing bites, then suddenly two come along at once and rip your leg off… sort of. After last month’s Top 10 I’m agog to be featured on the Guardian’s website talking to Charlotte and Eva from the Millennium Riot reading group about being a writer, the power of reading, and casting Benedict Cumberbatch as a bad guy. Well, why not?
So, that was my year: me writing and editing. And I really enjoyed it! Where next? Come back next week and I’ll tell you my plans for 2016. Thanks for your support during 2015, and thanks for reading.