August 26th 2008

Hello there. This is my third blog entry. If you haven’t looked in before, I’m trying to convey a flavour of what it’s like living here in South Yorkshire, writing crime novels (especially stories about Inspector Angel) while also trying to live something like a normal life. Now if that would be of interest to you, join the gang and please read on.

Since last time, I have had some interesting emails from very some nice people. One particular gentleman asked me if I was a relation of Herbert Silverwood, the evangelist who came from somewhere here in Yorkshire. Sadly I am not, but I had met him 20 or more years ago. He was a nice old gentleman wonderfully and sincerely gifted. I expect he will have passed on to greater glory by now.

You know, I’d like to hear from you. If you send me an interesting email, I might publish it here and you could maybe see it in a week or two.

A writer friend of mine, lovely Shirley Wells, reminded me that this diary goes all the way round the world. Wherever anybody with a computer, who might be at home, in an office, up a tree, in a boat, on a hot beach shaking down a coconut or wherever, who might be interested in Angel, or anything else I write about, can have a peek here for free.

Well, of course they can, cobber. I hadn’t thought about it. So it’s an opportunity for me to say to hello to all my friends in faraway places … such as Imagination Theatre in Seattle, Washington, USA, who I have written plays for; also my cousin, Paul in Northfield, in Michigan, USA, (it’s the town where Jesse James was shot dead); my wife’s cousin and good friend Robin and his lovely wife in Singapore, and my wife’s nephew, a great young man, Robs who has a posh job in Perth, Australia. Hope you’re all happy, making a few quid and getting a few beers wherever you are. Great stuff.

I say, on August 7th, I had not had a good night, didn’t sleep very well, and after I’d had my prunes and bran flakes and a mug of tea, I was upstairs, unshaved and in my pyjamas and dressing gown bumbling between the study (it’s a little store room with a desk, a computer and a filing cabinet in the corner) and the bedroom, where I do most of my writing on a laptop on the bed, on one elbow. I had wanted to write, but pains in my back and tooth-ache were getting at me and all I could think about was what to grumble about next. Well, it was that sort of day … chucking it down with rain as well as everything else. My wife was in the bathroom getting dressed, as I passed the door, I came back to tell her that the new two ply toilet paper doesn’t tear properly. Which it doesn’t. Each ply tears at a different length, which is damned inconvenient. I was going on at length about this and she was beginning to get ratty and I was getting rattier, when the phone rang. I turned and went into the bedroom and answered it. I expected it was somebody wanting to selling me something. I once had a girl ringing me up at eight o’clock at night wanting to sell me a wheelchair with 35% off!! I don’t even need a wheelchair. I could have reached down the wire and choked her. Anyway, it wasn’t. It was an appointments clerk at the hospital. It was about my appointment at the hospital for an examination and check up on the 21st. Would I like to come in earlier? Yes. Of course I would, I said. When? Soon as you can. How about today? Today? Can you make two o’clock? Today? Yes. I thought a second. Why not? Of course I can. Yes, I said. Yes. Right, she said. So, it was on.
I started moving round then. Had to. Time and tide and all that. Washed and shaved in no time. Shower. Clean vest and pants and all that for the doctor. We gobbled lunch … tomato soup, mashed banana in milk, apple and pear … and we were there, outrageously early at one o’clock, seen early at one-forty-five, told I was clear for another twelve months. Clear! Great. I said WONDERFUL, THANK YOU, God. Got dressed. Home for two twenty-five. Done, dusted, don’t have to worry about the hospital, and I’m clear for another twelve months. Absolute Magic. Fed the outside cats. Went upstairs. Wrote almost a full page.

The following day, the 8th, the galley proofs of MURDER IN BARE FEET (to be published on October 31st) arrived for me to check over. That was the last opportunity for me to make sure there were no mistakes to be reproduced a thousand million times, for all the world to see for all eternity what a fool I am. Another tedious job. But I decided to let it wait.

You see, I was afraid that I might lose the thread of the book I’m currently writing yet again. Well, you know I am in the middle of another Angel book, and had had two disturbances to my stream of thought. One of them was getting the website open on time for July 1st and the other thing was a painful wisdom tooth. I eventually had to have the damned thing out. Both these things took my concentration away from the writing. Once you’ve lost the thread, you’ve got to re-read the narrative, refresh your memory, pick up the characters, the plot, the intensity of the thing and regain the momentum. I had lost all that.

I was determined it was not going to happen a third time. I made everything wait, that I could, until I’d finished the book. I reckoned it should only take me about another 10 days. Dammit. I had everything, the characterisations, the clues, the exposé and the ending in my mind. I just had to get everything down in the right sequence, in the right words, to make the right length, while it was fresh and before I forgot it. Why doesn’t anybody understand that?

Anyway, on August 20th at 8.30 in the morning, I finished it. I say ‘finished’. I still need to go through it and polish it, but there’s no risk of me forgetting anything. It’s written down. I have got every character’s name right. The plot works. The story’s thrilling, unique and crisp. I am quite excited. Hope everybody else will be. (If it’s accepted, it won’t be published until September 2009).

Now I’ve chance to catch up with jobs I’ve left. Got to check those galley proofs and sort out my accountant. I am sure he’s getting things wrong. I think I’m being charged for all the Bejing fireworks!

Well, I hope you had a super holiday. We didn’t go away this year, maybe we’ll manage it later on.

Must go. Got to polish my book then think of a plot for a new book … and I haven’t an idea in my head.

Please come back in a little while and I’ll tell you what Angel’s up to and how I’m getting on.