I find it really hard to switch between writing projects because I like to get right inside the heads of my characters and the period each novel is set in. Yet, right now, I’m working on the sequel to The Druid, called Song of the Centurion, and also a standalone novel about a young girl taken to Britannia to be a slave for a Roman tribune.
Why?! Why confuse myself like that?
Well, two reasons really. First, my agent tried for months to sell The Druid to big publishers and, at the start of 2018, I still had no idea what would happen to the book. Would a publisher buy it? If so, surely they would have their own ideas which direction any sequels should go in, and that put me off writing Song of the Centurion. I started it, and got about a third finished, and then along came Lucia.
I had a Facebook conversation with the fantastic author Matthew Harffy about standalone novels one afternoon and, having just listened to things like Jane Eyre, Rebecca, and My Cousin Rachel, I realised many books we regard as classics are not part of a larger series. And it got me thinking about maybe doing something like that myself.
The very next day, in a sudden, lightning strike of inspiration, the idea for a standalone novel about a slave in Roman Britain came to me pretty much fully-formed. It was incredible, and I was so excited about it that I knew I had to start working on it immediately.
The timing was perfect really. Rather than writing a sequel to The Druid which might need drastically changed, I was able to spend a few months crafting Lucia. I am very, very happy with how it turned out. As I’ve been saying all along, it’s like nothing I’ve written before, but, in fact, it doesn’t seem to be anything like any other book out there. I truly hope it will be read and enjoyed by my usual readers, but also find a wider audience who wouldn’t normally read my “brutal, bloody” action adventure style novels.
I am now in a little bit of a dilemma though: A publisher has shown an interest in Lucia, but, as we all know, publishers work slowly, and I’m having to bide my time to see what, if anything happens with it. Maybe nothing, and I’ll just self-publish it! But, in the meantime, I’m still in the mindset of Roman Britain, not POST-Roman Britain, so it’s holding up work on Song of the Centurion.
To me, it feels like I’m wasting years, but, of course, it’s only been a few weeks and, since The Druid spent over a year in the publishing wilderness and STILL found an audience, I don’t know why I’m fretting so much. You’d think I’d just relax and play a bit more guitar!
Hopefully I find out the fate of Lucia within the next few days, but, in the meantime I’m re-immersing myself in the world of Bellicus and Duro. With any luck 2019 will see two new full-length novels from me.
And that’s before I’ve even mentioned the OTHER project I should be starting work on soon…More on that in a few months though!
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