Spring has sprung! The long winter months are almost over, the nights are getting shorter, the birds are chirping, and all the other well-worn clichés typically associated with this time of year.
This will be a relatively short update as, while I've made some big strides on the writing front since we last spoke, both of my ongoing projects are in an "in-between" sort of stage - i.e. I've completed a major step in each of their journeys towards eventual publication but am not yet at the stage of being able to share a whole lot more about them.
With that said, on to this month's edition...
On the Writing Desk: Without a Trace
As I write this, Without a Trace, my latest novel - a psychological thriller about three women who go up north for a long weekend and return having buried a body in the woods - is currently with my publisher for consideration. As you might remember, I wrote the first draft during November and the first week of December last year, completing it in - for me - record time. I've spent the last couple of weeks re-reading, annotating and revising it, and on Monday afternoon I felt I'd finally got it to a stage where it was ready to be viewed by another pair of eyes.
To be clear, this is very much just the beginning of the journey. Even if my publisher accepts it at this stage, it's likely to be on the condition of further (and probably significant) changes. In the past, when I've submitted a manuscript, it's already gone through multiple rounds of rewrites, so I'm taking a bit of a risk letting them see something that's at a comparatively embryonic phase of development. But I was pleasantly surprised, when re-reading it, to discover that it, even at such an early stage, it already hung together quite nicely, so I made the decision to do a light tune-up and hit the "Send" button, giving them the opportunity to provide me with input on it while it's still relatively doughy and malleable.
However it ends up being received, the next step will undoubtedly be for me to knuckle down and do a proper second draft. Stay tuned for further developments on that front...
On the Writing Desk: The Shadow Men
As you'll have noticed from the email I sent out just over a fortnight ago, the third draft of The Shadow Men, the long-gestating third instalment in my Anna Scavolini series, is now complete. The uptake in response to my call for beta readers was considerably greater than I'd anticipated, leaving me in no doubt that I'll end up with a large and diverse array of feedback as a result. Indeed, a couple of especially dedicated readers have already made their way through the entire 140,000-word opus, and their detailed and well-considered notes have given me plenty to chew over.
It remains my intention to publish The Shadow Men well before the end of this year, and that goal now seems eminently achievable, so you can rest assured that it won't be too much longer before you're able to find out what Anna, Zoe and the others have been getting up to in the three years that have passed since the events of Cruel Summer - and, perhaps even more pertinently, who the mysterious Shadow Men are and what they want with our intrepid heroines.
Where Do We Go From Here?
So, with two manuscripts both awaiting feedback, you'd be forgiven for assuming I've taken the opportunity to kick back with my feet up and indulge in some well-earned R&R. Oh, how little you know me! It's early days yet, but I already have a pretty strong idea of what my next novel is going to be about. There's even a title!
I'm not ready to reveal much about my plans just yet. I'm a big believer in not saying too much about an idea while it's still just that - an idea. However, I will say that I have a title, a main character and a decent notion of what it's going to be about, as well as some concrete ideas for a number of scenes and set-pieces. Suffice it to say that it will be another murder-mystery set in Glasgow, and will focus on another prickly protagonist who inadvertently finds themselves investigating a series of brutal murders.
I know, I'm full of surprises - right?
That’s All, Folks!
That's all for now. By the time the next issue of this newsletter drops in May, I'll hopefully have more news to share about both Without a Trace and The Shadow Men... and maybe even a few nuggets about my next project.