Sunday, 5 October 2014

A STOLEN FATE: As one journey ends, does another begin?

After seven books, seventy-or-so issues of a national magazine and a bunch of other stuff, the time felt right to get one of my most precious projects out there. All writers have those special save-it-for-the-right-time project, and this year it felt right that one of mine should come to fruition.

A Stolen Fate began life in 1998 under the title of THE SHADOW CHILDREN, as a screenplay and some storyboards, all stemming from a script cover image I made in a library, of a young Goth lady merging from a tunnel, the title below it and the slogan “Even hell has its angels” over the top. I've always liked to start a project with a visual reference, be it images I've found or something I've made. Once there is some kind of visual representation of a project it can start to develop for me. Yeah, that's not how a lot of people work but it's been a method which has often worked very well for me with other projects.

This one was inspired by the Goth subculture I was part of, X-men comics, films like Highlander and The Crow, novels like Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, Clive Barker's Cabal (filmed as NIGHTBREED) and other such delights.

I wrote 43,000 words of the novel's first draft a few years ago, 2010 I believe, but it remained unfinished for years due to the growth and development of my career as a rock journalist, changing day jobs and in 2012 becoming a father. I always told myself I'd keep that project safe until the time was right to take it to someone, but then it dawned on me that I'd had some success with putting things out myself, such as with my previous book, VHS Ate My Brain.

This realization also brought to light a fear I'd had about the project since starting it. I'd never put out a full length novel before. This is uncharted territory. My other books have been short fiction, novellas and non-fiction.

This was a big step, and I realized I had been scared to cross it. I had to change that. I'd submitted early samples of it to publishers, but I didn't push it enough. Now the time had come to take a chance, to prove to myself I could complete a full length novel and get it out there. So I have, and I am doing so. I revised the original 43,000 words and wrote a further 40,000, revised the whole thing and trimmed it. More new scenes came, and more trimming. Suddenly it was finished, and I was uploading it to Createspace and KDP with covers I'd made online.

Why take this approach? Because I'm curious. I want to see what happens. I would love to develop my career further, but above all else I want this story out there and being read. It's lived in my head for long enough, and now it's time to share it. Where do I go from here? I don't actually now. Will this be a one-off? The figures between now and the end of the year will dictate that. There is already a sequel at 41,000 words, and other stuff too.

This is a new adventure for me. A new journey emerging from another which lasted 16 years. I know where the story of the novel will go next, but I have no idea where my own will go now. We shall see. What do I want from the release of A Stolen Fate? I want people to enjoy it. I want people to share the characters and story I've played over in my head for my entire adult life. I want to see what happens next.

Please do check out A Stolen Fate and let's find out together.

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