There will be a new Hotel Story soon – stand by.
Meanwhile, people sometimes ask me: ‘when do you write? And what are you working on now?’
Here’s a snapshot.
I concentrate my writing on weekends and free evenings. My goal is to do an hour of writing every day. I’m also learning Turkish, and aim to do an hour each day. I know: they’re over-ambitious targets; I achieve one or other about one month in two, and both about one month in six. I’m generous to myself on what counts as writing – eg this blog, research or meeting another author as well as physically putting pen to paper. I usually write in long-hand, then transcribe to the computer.
This target-driven approach works for me. I’ve got up to a reasonable level of Turkish in three years in Istanbul, and have done plenty of writing. Mostly I work in the evenings between about 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. (today it’s a sunny Saturday afternoon and Troy “the writer’s friend” is plotting an imminent intervention with the keyboard). At the weekends I sometimes write for four or five hours in a day. Many nights and some weekends, I don’t write at all.
My top project is my new novel Istanbul Rising, about which I blogged back in August. I’ve written about 25,000 words. Writing a new novel is, as any wannabe writer knows, a huge undertaking. Another target – to complete the novel by this summer – has crashed. But I’m moving ahead.
My second project has been publishing the first novel I ever wrote, Biotime, on-line. Biotime is one of my favourite novels; I know it could become a cult hit (a cross between Cloud Atlas, A Handmaid’s Tale and Brazil), if I could make it more discoverable. Between 2 December 2014 and 30 June 2015 I published the first 30,000 words of so of Biotime free, on this blog, in 43 excerpts. You can read them on one place on this site. The good news is that I’m meeting a publisher later this month to talk about it – I suspect she will suggest some improvements. But that’s good, right?
My third writing project is publishing and supporting my Hotel Stories. These were not originally written for publication. But after I had some terrific feedback, I thought they would be a good vehicle for testing out e-publishing on Amazon. I have published four of them (The Two Rooms, The White Blouse, Gents and Britches) individually. But the best-seller, and best value, is “Hotel Stories: The Complete Collection“, with all four hotel stories and a bonus extra story, Novy Bor (“New Forest”), set in 1990s Russia, which is not available anywhere else. Click the link and check the reviews. A fifth Hotel Story, “Too Cool to be Corporate” is coming soon.
I occasionally run a promotion for the Hotel Stories or do a bit of fine-tuning – eg designing new covers through a guy called alexander2010 at fiverr – a quick, clean and amazingly good-value service.
Project four is running this web-site. Setting it up was a steep learning curve – I was much helped by the wonderful Stephanie. It’s easy to spend a long evening tidying up links, making sure the pictures look OK, updating posts, and so on – even before you start writing anything. The biggest danger is obsessing over how many hits you’re getting – I try not to look more than once every ten seconds, but it’s tough.
Project five is my back catalogue of novels and short stories. In addition to Biotime and Istanbul Rising I have written five other novels over the past couple of decades. They include:
– a comedy I was planning to publish last year, but have now shelved for the time being. A somewhat known Hollywood producer friend of mine is talking about making a movie of the book – watch this space;
– A Killing in Sevastopol, a thriller I wrote in 2012 about tensions between Russia and Ukraine over Crimea. Possibly the most prescient thriller ever – or the biggest missed opportunity. Or both;
– Blood Summit, a thriller set around a terrorist attack on a G8 Summit (remember them?) in Berlin, and The Skip Outside the Lenin Museum, a thriller set in 1990s Moscow, are both prequels to A Killing in Sevastopol, featuring some of the same characters;
– Holiday Period is a prequel to Biotime, set a few hundred years earlier.
I also have a back catalogue of short stories, such as Novy Bor (I’m proud of the photo, by the way).
So that’s it. It’s demanding. It’s a joy. It’s writing.
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