Fiddly-dee *prances about like a slightly weird and not-in-the-least-bit cute foal*! The day has finally come! My trilogy of books is complete and available to all the world for a very reasonable price! The third and final book in the saga (as you can see) is called ‘Foreign Affairs‘. I’m so excited about actually finishing a project for once in my life that I’m fit to burst. Kind of. You know me, I’m not big on wild displays of excitement/emotion. But I’m still kind of chuffed.
I’m just relieved it’s over, to be honest. I’m quietly pleased about the prospect of a bit of a rest; just for once, to have nothing to do. I mean, of course there will still be tonnes to do, BUT there will be no ‘book to finish’. I can finally be a more ‘engaged’ member of my family – I hope I didn’t put my husband and kids second too often. They’ve been very patient with me. I’m very grateful for their understanding and help towards ‘the cause’. Oh, and another thing, I’m looking forward to actually binge-reading instead of binge-writing. I’m looking forward to not spending my time plotting, planning, researching, and calculating over story narratives. I can sit on my big arse and do bugger-all (actually, I always did a fair bit of sitting on my arse, but I maintain I was always doing something)!
Now, before I go any further, I’d better break this to you gently; ‘Foreign Affairs’ is a bit darker than the previous two books. I’m sorry, it just is. I think I was going through some ‘stuff’ when I was writing and rewriting it. And that ‘stuff’ creeps into your work unbeknownst to you sometimes. I never do anything for shock value; I’ve always said the stories dictate themselves. They go where they want to go. And I’m just the writing vehicle. So I’m warning you now, you’re going to need your tissues. For your eyes.
You know, I’m not one hundred percent sure, but I think I initially sat down to write these books sometime in 2002/2003? I know I had a toddler (first child) who took long daytime naps. That’s when I physically began typing out the words that had been living in my head. Instead of hoovering or washing up, like I should have been. And officially, the books date back even further than that. The actual idea can be traced back to my mid-teens (I’m really bigging this up here, you’d think I’d single-handedly circumnavigated the globe). But more of my life has been taken up by these books than I’d like to think about. It was only in 2011 when my sister died that I got an unhappy wake-up call. Who knows how long we have? Maybe other people should be allowed to read those (at the time, unfinished) books on my laptop too? So I set to work in fixing them. And in 2015 I was ready to go. But what if everybody hated them – or worse – laughed at them? Oh well, I thought, f*ck it.
Thinking about it, though, I’m not sure why I’m quite so excited. I mean, nothing in my life actually will change. I’ll just be a writer who isn’t writing. The initial euphoria will inevitably wear off once I realise the project I have spent so many years on – is over. I may feel bereft. Writing this book (although undeniably hard work) has got me through some rough times. The escapism you get through immersing yourself in a world of your own creation is unsurpassed. No series on Netflix (however gripping) could ever come close to that. I promise you. Two bereavements, the general crappiness of life – the book tided me over. And now it’s gone. It really has. There won’t be any more sequels (‘hooray!’, I hear you cry – cheeky gits). I’ve written the third book in such a way that I can’t pick up where I left off. This story is complete. I think I did that on purpose; to stop myself falling back on something that was familiar and comfortable. It’s time to move on.
So when I’ve had my little ‘writer’s vacation’, then what? Do I write something new? Or was my mission only ever to write one set of books? Could this be the end of my writing career? Well, I hope not. I’d like to think the writing bug is in my blood and I’ll be itching to get back to it soon. But I won’t lie to you, there’s nothing in the tank, there are no new ideas rattling around up there. I’m not being coy. I’ve literally no plot strands at all. Perhaps I’ll finally know what it is to have writer’s block. A big, blank page I won’t know how to fill. The project dates back so far that I can’t remember a process; the plan one uses to create a story. And if you suggest the ‘story arc’ to me, I’ll probably come around your house and punch you. That is the most mind-numbingly boring way to write a book that I can think of. I’d rather not bother.
What I will say is, my plan is not to write a book at all (‘hooray!’ I hear you- hold on, hold on – I haven’t finished), but to write a screenplay. Or something made for British TV. I’d like to think it will be gentle and amusing. But not like ‘Last of the Summer Wine’. Because although that was gentle, it was also quite sh*t. I did watch it weekly as a kid, though. But that’s probably because we only had four channels in those days, and we were desperate. Anyway, the brief is; ‘gentle, amusing, and not sh*t’. We can only hope to reach those heady heights.
Anyhoo, the fact remains, I’ve come to the end of a huge chapter (chapter; see what I did there?) in my life. And maybe I didn’t write ‘Life of Pie’, maybe I didn’t write anything Pulitzer Prize-winning, maybe I didn’t set the world on fire. But I wrote my story from beginning to end. And yes, these days, anybody can a publish a book. I mean, I did. I published three. But not everyone does. So I’m going to take solace from that. And if just a handful of people enjoyed my novels, or the books affected people in some way (but hopefully not just with a severe bout of vomiting) that will be enough for me.
Foreign Affairs: Book 3 in the trilogy available now on Kindle. Paperback soon to follow. Click HERE.
International Relations: if you haven’t read the first instalment of the trilogy (and want to), it will be available for 99p or 99c (UK and US) this weekend only. Click HERE.