8 December 2013

Limited Liability

I'm finishing off my third crime thriller, Limited Liability, at the moment. It has to be the best novel I've ever written. I'm not just saying that out of misplaced arrogance, it has to be. It's required. I need it to be. My editor is being even more demanding than usual. Let me explain why.

My first novel, a SF thriller called Technical Difficulties was written in 2007/8. I had at last found a writing process that worked for me and was able to wean myself off crap telly to make time to write. For years (and years and years) I'd tried to write on a keyboard but I spent too much time tinkering and editing, fiddling about, changing the font, the appearance, anything to avoid writing what I wanted to.

In 2007 I started to write with a fountain pen. I just wrote and wrote. When I had a few chapters, I dictated the script into a voice file and sent it to a lady who transcribed it into a Word file. I not only had a method that produced results but I also had a built in incentive to write more. My novel was finished inside a year despite the time constraints imposed by a full time job and a family.

I sent Technical Difficulties to lots of friends and family members. They all agreed that it was amazingly good.

I sent it off to a professional SF editor, John Jarrold, who disagreed. He thought the main character was an arse and that readers would not be at all interested if he lived or died. John's preference was for him to die, quickly and painfully.

By the time I received this feedback I'd already written the sequel, Acceptable Behaviour, and was well on with the third book, Divine Intervention.

There was another, rather upsetting aspect. My main character, the unfeeling arse that readers hated was pretty much autobiographical.

It took me some time to come to terms with the fact that I'd written three unsaleable novels.

I did some courses and writers retreats, found a great teacher called Barbara Turner Vessalago, worked hard on my craft, joined the local writer's circle. And kept on writing.

My fourth novel, Due Diligence, turned out to be very different. I hired a professional editor, submitted it far and wide until it was published with the help of Stephen Leather, a very successful thriller writer.

Due Diligence has been very well received and sells very well. The sequel, Proceeds of Crime, is also doing well.

Which brings me back to Limited Liability and why it has to be the best yet.
LL is the first novel I've written knowing that it will be published. I have a readership out there waiting for it!

That's why is has to be very very good.

And it will be.