Friday 12 November 2010


As I prepare to head off to Derby tomorrow to sell copies of The Broken Token to an unsuspecting Derbyshire public, I’m feeling mild contentment. Not only did I receive my first royalties on the book today, yesterday I signed and sent off the contracts for the next two books in the series.

Knowing that the publishing future is secure for the next couple of years is a relief, and that someone, somewhere, likes these books and believes in them enough to pay me money to write them is a real vindication. Will they sell in huge amounts? Probably not, but that’s fine. If each one builds a new audience then in time they’ll attract a crowd rather than a gaggle and life will be good.

One thing I have concluded is that writing is a craft, in the same way that designing and constructing fine furniture is. You need to have the idea in your head and the ability to put it together. That’s skill, yes, from some small glimmer of inspiration, and that’s what all writing is.

We learn from everything we do, and writers also learn from all that they write, especially when you have a good editor. I’ve been lucky to have a few, particularly for my music writing, who’ve improved my work tremendously. I have an excellent editor for my novels, and I’m grateful to all of those who’ve worked hard to help. I’m lucky, too, in having a close friend who’s the best writer I know, and who reads my novels and offers suggestions that always improve them (I do the same for him, but whether I improve his work or not, I’m not sure).

Writing is a very solitary occupation. It’s not glamorous; it involves hours of sitting and typing. You live in your head a great deal. But it can prove to be an interesting, occasionally magical, place…

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