After much procrastination, I’ve returned with a new book in tow and Inspired Quill has been nice enough to take me back. So, what is this new book? Well, it’s a sequel to The Adventures of Alan Shaw, my globe-spanning Steampunk adventure. What’s taken so damned long? I think my procrastination was probably due to a little Authorial Anxiety (for which there should be AA meetings). Having never written a sequel before, my nerves were wracked. However, it’s turned out to be a very different and brilliant experience.
It really starts with the end of the last book, of course.
Is there anything more to say? Does Alan have any more story to tell? Thankfully, the answer was yes. By the end of the first book, Alan was only just beginning to get into his stride as an adventurer. He’d also learnt a lot about the world. He’d lost love and seen exactly how badly things can go when you rush in headlong. His final adventure left him with some very tough emotions to deal with. So, the second novel had a purpose.
What happened to Alan after he leaves his friends and family in the dust as he takes the Great Trunk Road through India alone? Well, you’re about to find out.
It’s been a great ride, coming back to Alan, and possibly the most fun I’ve had writing a book. There’s just something about a character you love, and love putting through their paces. Make no mistake, Alan’s penchant for finding trouble isn’t going away as he grows older. If anything, it’s getting worse. The villains are also getting less obvious. How do you do the right thing when the lines are getting blurry? And with the introduction of a new character in the shape of Meredith “Merry” Rockett, the straight-talking pilot, I think we’re about to find out things about Alan that he doesn’t even know himself.
I honestly can’t wait to hear what you all think of this book. I’m twitching with anticipation.
Steampunk-ing around the UK
Of course, there’s the inevitable touring, signing and event-attending going on throughout the year as I warm up to the release of the new novel. I already have Yorkshire Cosplay Convention, Scarborough Sci-Fi, several Steampunk-related events and a maelstrom of smaller readings, signings and hi-jinks to be getting up to.
I’ve also been delving into non-fiction.
Without putting a grey spot on our re-acquaintance here, I have a long-term history with depression which has both fuelled and felled my writing over the years. With that in mind, I have decided to share my experiences by releasing a free e-book called Down Days (www.downdays.org if you fancy taking a look). The idea was to give an honest insight into mental health issues where people who need it wouldn’t have to worry about buying it. To shatter the stigmas around mental health, profit should be furthest from our minds. Attached to an ongoing blog, Down Days has been a universally positive experience.
The fear of sharing my soul has been banished by the support, camaraderie and gratitude of people who have read this first attempt at non-fic, and have taken something away for themselves. I’ve learnt that, even though I love making things up, sometimes the truth is just more powerful.
Anyway, that’s what I’ve been up to.
If only to explain why Alan has taken so damned long to get off his backside (or rather, me).
Of course, Inspired Quill have been good to me over the years. They took a chance on my first steampunk novel, Greaveburn, when I was just about to give up on it, and liked the old short stories enough to publish them as the Not Before Bed collection. Alan, of course, found his home here, too. Now it only seems right that we set off on the next lap together and I’m hoping that you readers will come along for a jog into adventure. We’ve got a long way to go and so many more stories to tell. For now, for me, it’s back to the keyboard. These books aren’t going to write themselves (more’s the pity).
Thanks for reading everyone.
Embrace The Weird.