Wednesday, December 20, 2006


So I am in a rare pause, when I am not actively writing anything.

And yet… does a writer’s mind ever switch off entirely? Not mine, not really. I was at a concert last night – Holly Cole, a jazz singer, not my usual stuff but very good – and I suddenly saw part of a scene in the next novel I plan to write. Plus another scene in a modern day thriller that I may write, a screenplay about runes. Then, walking today, I started organising the ideas a little more in my head.

I have to start work on Novel Number Nine soon after Christmas. I have to deliver it in about a year, and this is a biggie. Have I blogged about it yet? Well, I have been commissioned to write a novel based on the ‘real’ Dracula – Vlad Tepes of Romania. Vlad the Impaler as he was not so fondly known due to his delight in killing people by impalement. I won’t go into the details, don’t want to keep any of you up late. But this is one of history’s great slaughterers. And yet the brief is to make him… fascinating. Mysterious. Probably sexy. A man of the night. The originator of all that Dracula, the Vampire Count, certainly can be.

I have already begun, in one way. I wrote a treatment for my publisher earlier this year to win the commission. But that was a mere sketch. Now I must paint the picture.

I fantasise that I could use six months pure musing. I dream of time without pressure. Yet, my first uncommissioned novel aside, I have always written under pressure. Maybe its absence would stall me? Deadlines annoy – but they do draw me inexorably toward them. People say, You must be very disciplined. I suppose I am. But my reply is always the same: I have to be; no one is going to write my books for me.

So, this is the early stage. I am not really sure yet what kind of story I am going to write. I am not sure what kind of man I am going to portray. I also have a heap of research to do, journeys to take – I am already looking at tickets for Transylvania and Istanbul in April – but already I am seeing the glimmerings. A scene. A sentence. An image. Its something to do with falcons…

The first chip of the chisel on rough stone.


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You are the coolest person I know.

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