Friday, January 19, 2007


In the 'blowing my own trumpet' area... I learnt today that my novel ABSOLUTE HONOUR has made the ten book shortlist for the OLA Evergreen Award. That's the Ontario Library Association, and the books will now be promoted through libraries there. Its readers who vote, not librarians. Don't know much else yet, but will let you all know as and when.

Oh, and for readers in the Maritimes... I will be at the Halifax Writers Festival March 29th through April 1st. Will confirm what I am doing where and when. I know I've had to write a web blurb for a Masterclass on Historical Fiction. Bit unnerving. I still think of myself as the New Kid in town. And here I am going to be a... Master! (You have to pronounce that last word with a heavy jaw while thinking of aged cognac. Go on, try it!)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007


I wanted to start 2007 with relentless blogging. A resolution to be here every night, sharing my thoughts, analysing the process, pondering the mystery.
And here I am, for the first time, on January 9th.
I will try to be better, truly. I have some interesting things to share, honest! For a start, I’d like to keep track of the new novel, from its very early stages through to… well, it seems premature to say the end when I’ve barely begun. Some weird fear of jinxing it. I mean, this is the strange time. New notebooks, endless white aching for ink; electronic folders waiting to be created to hold… what?
I have begun… again. Because I came up with a treatment, even a chapter, back in March. I have that to work with. But treatments and sample chapters can be misleading. The ultimate goal of them is to entice a publisher to give you a contract. They are not the book. I almost don’t think of them now. I need to go back to the first flare of the spark that made me want to write the story. I need to learn who my characters are. They are waiting to be discovered. They lie in… in their coffins perhaps? The Undead. Not alive yet. Waiting for me to breathe life back into them.
Hmm, a little creepy that. Not what I sat down to write here tonight. But quite apropos, considering that the character I seek most is Vlad Tepes – the real Dracula.
I am trying to track down the definitive biography. Meantime I am reading background. The 15th century world. The Balkans, as troubled as ever. The advance of Islam through the cultured, vicious Ottomans. Their less cultured, equally vicious Christian opponents.
I am also reading about Evil. Trying to get to grips with what horrors man is capable. Trying to find a reason for them. Or not.
I need to get on with it. I have booked tickets to go to Romania to walk the ground in April and I have to have an idea what I am looking at. I have to deliver the novel, appropriately enough, by October 31st. And it is already appearing on websites. Not a word written and the book is out there to be ordered.
‘The Last Confession’ its called. For now. For July 2008. No pressure or anything.

I’ll try to let you know how it goes more regularly. Honest!