Remember me? I wouldn't blame you if you've had a temporary bout of amnesia. I'm having a hard time believing it's been five months since I last blogged, but that's what the column on the right is telling me and, as we all know, THE COLUMN NEVER LIES. (Literally, it never lies. I tried editing it, so it looked like I blogged way more often, but it wouldn't let me.)
The good thing is, you actually haven't missed that much. I'm right slap bang in the middle of The Lull at the moment, which probably sounds bad, but is actually really nice. With Never Coming Back seven months old, and Book 5 (out: 14 August) now finished, drafted, re-drafted, and being ripped asunder by my eagle-eyed copy-editor, I'm filling my time waiting for notes on the latest by ploughing on with Book 6, a novel you won't be reading until Space Year 2015.
Confused? To be honest, I've managed to confuse even myself. Don't worry, though: given the high level of 'WHAT'S GOING ON?', this handy checklist will hopefully make sense of it all, as it'll give me the chance to tick off everything I've been up to since November. Ready? Let's go!
BOOK 5, AKA THE 'WITHOUT A NAME' BOOK
Actually, that's not technically true. It does have a name, or at least it did. But for a variety of reasons, it was decided that the name I wanted to give it wasn't quite right at this point. I won't go into the why's, the wherefore's and the do-you-mind-if-I-don't's (© Fry and Laurie), but the upshot (and most important thing) is, the novel itself remains the story I wanted to tell.
In truth, this part of the book-writing process is always a blessed relief to me. Writing a novel can sometimes feel like scaling Everest in flip-flops, and I write in such a fastidious way, unable to move on to the next chapter without getting the last one just so, that by the time I submit the manuscript, I'm basically at the point when I can't think of anything better than making it my editor's problem for a couple of months. I know lots of authors blitz through a super-rough first draft, just to get the bones of the story down on paper, but I'd never be happy working that way. I know it without even doing it, like I know I wouldn't be happy planning a book down to what happens in individual chapters. So instead, I plod on, taking ten months to finish a draft, but at least submitting (I hope) something that doesn't require as much ground-level attention when it arrives on my editor's desk. Certainly, bringing it back to Book 5, this has probably be the least amount of drafting I've ever done with an editor on one of my books, which (again, I hope) means my way works sort of works. Ish. Like I mentioned at the top of the blog here, I'm currently in a holding pattern, waiting for notes from my copy editor, whose job now will be to drill down into the fine detail, unravelling things that my editor and I have missed, things that don't tie up, continuity errors, spelling mistakes, grammar, and all manner of other, microscopic things.
In terms of the plot, I'm not sure I'm quite ready to talk about it here yet (you'll have to sign up to my brand new newsletter to get the first ever taster of what the story's about, nod, nod, wink, wink), but – as I think I've said here before – my hope is it's got a very different feel to Never Coming Back. It's geographically smaller for starters, as it's set entirely in the UK, but I think it retains a sense of scale which will appeal to people who enjoyed the Vegas sections in NCB.
Oh, as soon as there's more on it, I'll post it on here, Tweet it, and 'Book it. Or you could subscribe to my newsletter to get details before anyone else. Er, which I mentioned already.
BOOK 6, AKA THE 'WRITING NOW' BOOK
Hard to talk about this, given that I've stopped short of revealing anything about Book 5, but it's going well, I'm about halfway in, and – as is my usual schtick – I haven't quite figured out where it's headed yet. If that sounds mildly terrifying, don't worry: it is. But rest assured that this is the slapdash approach I've applied to all my novels so far, and they turned out alright. Uh, right?
DISCONNECTION, AKA THE FREE BOOK
You might already know this, but I figured it was worth repeating just in case: I wrote a short story (along with fellow Penguin authors Nicci French and Alastair Gunn) based on ideas the Twitter community came up with, and you can download it FREE OF CHARGE. That's £0.00. Kindle and iBooks versions are available, and the reason it might be worth it? There's a special guest appearance by Mr Raker.
NEVER COMING BACK, AKA THE ALREADY-DONE BOOK
You probably don't need me to tell you a lot about this, so I won't go on, but what I did want to say was a massive THANK YOU to every single person who bought a copy of Never Coming Back. I've been bowled over by the response, and very, very humbled by the lovely things people have said in emails to me, on Twitter and Facebook, and through the Richard and Judy website. You may be interested to know, if you don't already, that the book was nominated for a National Book Award, and awarded 'Best Crime Thriller of 2013' by the UK Apple iBookstore. Neither of those things would have been possible without the incredible support I've had for Raker #4.
And we're done! Bit of a different blog to usual, but hopefully it has helped fill in some blanks. As I mention elsewhere, if you truly want to be kept up-to-date with what's going on in the world of David Raker (and, er, me) then please do sign up to the Newsletter. I'll be posting first details on Book 5 there, including the plot and cover, before they go anywhere else, and it won't be one of those annoying emails that clutters up your inbox every couple of days. It'll likely be quarterly, so the most you'll hear from me is four times per year (five, if I'm feeling happy at Christmas).
Blimey. I would have made an awful salesman.
P.S. Since the last blog, I've read:
The Explorer – James Smythe
The Poacher's Son – Paul Doiron
The Wrath of Angels – John Connolly
The Black Box – Michael Connelly
Blue Monday – Nicci French
Little Face and Hurting Distance – Sophie Hannah
The Good Father – Noah Hawley
I Am The Secret Footballer – The Secret Footballer
Author of the David Raker novels