I always hoped I might blog more often than once a month - certainly that was my intention - but the demands of a full-time job, the equal demands of writing thrillers and, latterly, the distractions of the World Cup have seen to that. In truth, with my writer's hat on, most of the past month has been about trying to pull together a detailed synopsis for Book #3, something I never did for Chasing The Dead (which is probably why it took ten years to write!), but did do second time round for The Dead Tracks. I found it made an enormous difference to the writing process: I wrote faster, felt more assured in my plotting and characters, and never hit the constant dead ends I did in the first book. Because of that, I'm keen to get as much of a plan down on paper as I can for the third book, even if I ultimately end up – as I did with The Dead Tracks – not always sticking rigidly to it. (Part of the fun with writing the second book was exploring whole new areas on the fly, whilst having the assurance of the synopsis there in the background.)
One of the odd things about planning Book #3 is that technically Penguin haven't asked me to write a Book #3. As it stands, I have a two-book deal with them, and I delivered the second one a month ago, so I'm now in something of a no man's land; effectively between contracts, although that assumes Penguin even want to offer me the chance to write more books. (Believe me, I'm not taking anything for granted. My editor would probably welcome the opportunity not to have to answer countless Weaver emails!) It is a strange feeling, though, and one that reminds me of where I was before Chasing The Dead was picked up. Over the past two years, I've regularly been knee-deep in planning, researching, writing, editing and more editing, as I flitted between Chasing The Dead and The Dead Tracks. But now The Dead Tracks has been through agent and editor, the only thing that remains to be done are the copy edits, which is where an eagle-eyed, super-brained Penguin sub goes through the manuscript correcting my terrible grammar and zeroing in on plot inconsistencies. Beyond that, I'm not sure. This is all new to me. So, I'll just keep everything crossed.
An obvious benefit of being caught in this strange hinterland, is that I've continued to catch up on my reading. Admittedly, the book pile by my bed doesn't seem to have got that much smaller (and being the world's slowest reader probably hasn't helped) but I've made some impact on it. I finally finished The Raw Shark Texts (which I very much enjoyed, even if its supreme oddness eventually started to grind a bit) and I also polished off The Hundredth Man by Jack Kerley. I can't say Kerley's writing style was quite to my tastes, but the book was the dictionary definition of a page-turner and I recommend it to anyone with aspirations to write fast-paced, commercial fiction. Now I'm midway through mammoth graphic novel, The Walking Dead, which is basically an amalgamation of every zombie film ever made (as well as the opening of The Day of the Triffids), but bravely places characters right at the forefront of its story, sacrificing action and pace in the process. Despite its over-familiarity and lack of surprises, I like it, and I can see why it's currently being turned into a TV series.
Talking of TV, I've been catching up on some of that too. After the finales of 24 and Lost, it was on to Spartacus: Blood and Sand. Is anyone else out there watching it? I have to say, it's probably the most ludicrous show on TV, full of silly dialogue and ripe acting, but I'll guiltily confess I can't stop watching it. Mrs W just shakes her head when she looks over and sees a man being scythed in two, but it's so preposterous and over-the-top, that it's kind of charming in its complete ridiculousness. To achieve some sort of equilibrium, I've also been watching Breaking Bad, which is – unlike Spartacus – utterly brilliant. I don't have any guilt recommending that.
P.S. Thank you to everyone who continues to get into contact, in whatever form. It's lovely to hear from you, and I'll always make an effort to reply.
Author of the David Raker novels