It is now nearly ten years since I was encouraged to pick up the initial pages of my first manuscript, started in the mid nineteen eighties, dust them off, and complete it. That first crude attempt at writing a thriller was slowly hammered into shape and eventually reached the point at which I felt it fit to run off four or five copies for the amusement of family and friends. To my surprise I was told that I should instead, submit the work to agents and publishers. The long wait and list of rejections was to say the least demoralising, but persistence finally paid off and ‘A Cast of Hawks’ was accepted for publication.
The wait for acceptance and the periods of waiting involved in the process of editing and proof reading were filled with writing, yes I had got the bug, and I spent much time up in our spare bedroom trying to put something into the computer that would match or hopefully better my first manuscript. I lost count of how many words were wiped from my computer’s memory as, dissatisfied, I hit the delete key before finally finding the scene to start the part sequel ‘Batsu’. Maybe it was the constant switching between the two manuscripts, as ‘A Cast of Hawks’ went through publication, that caused the log jamb, but once the idea of a Japanese prison cell came to mind it was all stations go and by the time ‘A Cast of Hawks’ was due to be launched in the summer of 2010 I was well into the
plot for ‘Batsu’. Whether it was the stress in the final days before the launch of “A Cast of Hawks’ or whether it was something that had been developing from months of false starts, but forty eight hours after the the book’s launch I found myself in hospital awaiting heart surgery. Not a good result I hear you say, but every cloud has a silver lining for as I was recovering in hospital a discussion started amongst the patients in our little ward that triggered the idea for the most important action scene of the book, and had me sitting awake in bed writing through the night and being delighted with the result.
‘Batsu’, however proved to be a hard, hard lesson in writing that was to delay its publication for a further two years with many words binned in the process as I attempted to build on my writing ability. The process of pedantic semantics is endured by all writers and in the process of writing ‘Batsu’ I was to learn just how important it is and how often whole pages have to be wiped from the hard drive before personal satisfaction is achieved. By the time ‘Batsu’ was launched the basic plot for ‘Shadows in Sunshine’, set in Madeira, had been conceived, as the much vaunted ‘Arab Spring’ was showing the first signs of bitter winter, and I had commenced writing. Then came the Euro Crisis and our second long stay in Madeira, during which, a passing comment from our host set in train the concept of a dual plot and yes the need to scrap a vast amount of work. The result, however was a book that I am personally very proud of and one that for me has raised the bar to new heights. Now with ‘A Shadow Dies at Dawn’ and ‘To Live Again’, both rejected at the eighty thousand word mark, at last I feel that in my ‘In Treacherous Waters’ manuscript I have reached the bar and now await the decision of others to either agree or condemn as I settle into the writing of ‘Shadow Gold’, occasionally wondering whether to describe those many abandoned words as failure or a brave decision.