News from Nowhere

Since 2011 I’ve spent most of each summer writing. The way my deadlines have panned out this has been a necessity rather than a choice. One year the kids didn’t get any kind of holiday as I worked seven days a week throughout the summer (in fact that’s not quite correct –  I took one day off to go to the beach). This year, however, has been very different. No pending deadlines have meant I’ve done no writing. Two whole months without a word written. The reason for this hiatus has been because I’m between books. You could say I’m very between since my next book definitely won’t be a DI Charlotte Savage story. That’s not because I’m done with Charlotte – far from it: I’ve plenty  more ideas and I’m keen to get them out there. However, the series has come to a point where I feel it’s advisable to take a break so as it doesn’t become stale. There’s also the matter of a book contract. I’ve had two three book deals with HarperCollins/Avon but there won’t be another one. Time to move on.

Over the past couple of years I’ve hinted at what might come after Savage. There’s been talk of a stand alone story set on Dartmoor. The good news is that this is progressing well and I have most of it written. It’s a two-handed psychological thriller with some familiar Sennesque elements, but without the cops. Leaving behind the police procedural part of the story has been both liberating and frustrating. There’s a very definite structure to a detective led story and that is swept away when your protagonist doesn’t have the backing of other detectives, pathologists, CSIs, etc. Certain standard scenes, which I can write with my eyes closed, are no longer necessary. On the other hand my protagonists can do as they like (not that DI Savage ever felt much constrained by police procedure!) and I can develop the story with less worries around what is believable in a police investigative context.

Having said all the above, there is a chance the Dartmoor set novel might not see the light of day for a while. You see I’m working on another book too. This is very different from the DI Savage series, although it does feature a female lead. The book is very much in the action thriller category and feautures scenes in Afghanistan, the US, Scandinavia, Turkey and Tunisia. It’s contemporay and bang up to date (in fact several scenes written before the Manchester and London terrorist attacks were so prescient that I changed the story because it seemed distasteful to include them). I’m very excited about this book as it takes me in a completely new writing direction. All of a sudden I can jet across the world and explore new locations. My characters can be Saudi princes and US politicians. Global affairs can have a part to play in the story. I can escape the Devon rain (hurrah!). There’s only a working title as yet and I can’t reveal more details since my new protagonist is very handy with a gun and it’s really not a good idea to cross her.

So, that’s my news from nowhere. Whether anyone (publishers/readers) will want to buy one of these books remains to be seen, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed!