Weekly Blog

Monday 29th June

The blog is still on temporary hiatus as work continues on a number of site updates ahead of the launch of the second book in the Zac Hunter series, Blood Law.

Monday 22nd June

The blog is on temporary hiatus as we're working on a number of site updates ahead of the launch of the second book in the Zac Hunter series, Blood Law.

Monday 15th June

There's no blog this week as I'm away on vacation.

Monday 8th June

Over the course of last week I worked through the editorial notes that I’d received from my publisher on The Beholder.  Having spent months working on the novel (and thus becoming somewhat snowblind to it), it’s really important to receive a fresh perspective from highly skilled people such as my editors, and their suggestions prompted me to re-evaluate certain elements of the story to ensure that it was as honed as possible.

As previously explained, the notes were mostly concerned with minor character details, such as ensuring that dialogue was consistent, reinforcing motivation, or stamping out any clichés, along with a request to cut back on the number of musical references that I’d shoe-horned in.  As regular readers of this blog will know, I’m a big music fan and I get a real kick out mentioning my favourite bands in my novels, but it’s fair to say that my enthusiasm sometimes gets the better of me.  I don’t just do it for fun though - I use music to help set the scene, as it can provide an insight into a character’s thoughts or emotions, and it can give the reader a sense of the familiar to help ground the plot in reality.  I try to use a mix of instantly recognisable bands and some that are less well known, as in this way I feel that I’m doing my bit in bringing a wider public audience to some deserving acts!  Anyhow, just for the record, tracks from the following bands no longer appear in the Beholder:  Pearl Jam, Cage The Elephant, Alkaline Trio.

One of the most interesting parts of the re-draft was the final read through.  As I hadn’t looked at the novel for a few weeks I was able to come to it relatively fresh and identify those paragraphs where I’d gone overboard on description.  This is something that I have a tendency to do in the first draft, mainly because it’s how I write, but I also think it’s psychological.  When I first set out to write a book I know that I need to have somewhere in the region of 90,000 words on paper by the time I get to the end.  Imagine how I’d feel if I put in the last full stop to find that the book had fallen say ten thousand words short, as at that stage it’s much harder to add stuff than take it away.  So for this reason I tend to use a few more words than I need when I write the first draft, as I subconsciously try to avoid the doomsday scenario!   In the course of the read through, I managed to cut almost 3,000 words from the prose (mostly just odd words or the occasional sentence – never as much as a paragraph), which has helped make The Beholder a much pacier read as a result.



What’s Steve been listening to this week?
Sam’s Town – by The Killers
Waterloo To Anywhere – by Dirty Pretty Things
Carnavas – by Silversun Pickups

Monday 1st June

I’ll keep the blog brief this week as I’ve just received editorial notes from my publisher on the third book in the Zac Hunter series, The Beholder.  The notes are mostly concerned with minor character details (e.g. ensuring that dialogue is consistent, reinforcing motivation, etc) along with a request to cut back on the amount of musical references I’ve dotted throughout the text – a fair point as I did go to town on them in this book!  I’ll now be spending the next week or so diligently working through these suggestions to make sure that ‘The Beholder’ is as good as it can possibly be.

On the gig front, I saw Maximo Park at the Norwich U.E.A. last week.  This was the first time that I’ve seen them in a small venue (all previous occasions were at the Reading Festival) and the intimacy was well suited to their brand of intelligent indie rock.  Highpoints for me were those tracks taken from their second album ‘Our Earthly Pleasures’, although the more recent stuff has tempted me to go out and purchase their latest offering also.



What’s Steve been listening to this week?
A Positive Rage – by The Hold Steady
This Is It – by Faith No More
Journal For Plague Lovers – by The Manic Street Preachers