I finished my second novel (truly finished it after kidding myself it was completed a few months previously) and then watched it dwindle and die. My former editor had retired and wasn’t taking on the number of books he once did and the new season of editors and publishers who had blanched at Cross Country Murder Song’s multi-layered plot lines and dense flashbacks (or maybe they just didn’t like all that blood?), didn’t seem keen to rush in and scoop up my latest effort. I remember one editor on that first round sending back a note that said CCMS didn’t have any redemption. I suggested they try reading Cormac McCarthy and then shutting up, but I’m not sure my then agent ever passed that on, sensibly.
Then there was another agent and now there’s no agent, well, there is, (and there might be another here, ultimately) but this one is based in LA and he’s helping me out for free, because, and get this, he likes my books. He pushed hard to try and get CCMS to an infamous and incredibly talented director and when that didn’t work, he, along with some other equally powerful people (who like me too! The world’s gone nuts!) tried to land it at the feet of one of my favourite living directors. In retrospect, I’m glad that stiffed, I’d have probably had to attend some sort of writing roundtable, attempted to shake his hand and gone straight over the chair next to him. He’s that kind of guy, well, he is to me.
But where were we? Where are we? The French Alps, currently. At a remote chalet where the snow is scant, but that hasn’t deterred most of my housemates from heading to the hills this afternoon with their skis thrown over their shoulders. Part of the reason I came out here, was that the second novel (The Death And Life Of Red Henley) didn’t die. The aforementioned agent in LA (and his band of powerful friends – think Marvel heroes, but with binders and mobile phones) loved the Red manuscript, so much so that they want to develop a TV idea based around the characters who inhabit Red’s world. Roughhewn, raw, lost, they may even be losers, but they’re enigmatic losers all the same (which is how I think of myself when I’m feeling especially charitable) who walk and talk and live and breathe and wash the blood of their sins off their skins everyday. Cheery, right?
So, here I sit, the second novel’s even picked up traction again, people are interested in publishing it, but I’m not, not until I’ve seen this new adventure through, at least. The sun’s on the mountains and I’m developing another world based around the first one I created a scant, few years ago. It’s hard, but the right kind of mental workout, some characters have aged, some have got younger, some are new to this place and they haven’t got a clue what’s about to hit them. If we ever get a TV audience (if we ever get it on TV), then I hope they feel the same way. It’s a good way to start again; some hope, a little damnation, another year. One more go around…
Happy New Year to you and yours from the mountains and my black, Welsh heart.