I hope everyone had a great Christmas and New Year! And thank you for the huge amout of messages sent to my website and via social media about how much everyone is enjoying Origin - it really makes me happy when people enjoy my work, it makes me think I'm in the right business!
I've spent the last three weeks with my wife's family in Poland for the festive season, which was fantastic - tried ice skating and skiing for the first time, and I'm still alive to tell the tale!
But I didn't avoid work entirely - as I mentioned in my last post, Headline Publishing bought the rights to my next novel last month, and so I have been completing the 'planning phase'.
At the moment, the novel is unwritten - it was a three-page synopsis that was sold, and I will describe some of that nerve-wracking process here!
Some time ago, my editor Alexander Hope and I sat down and started to discuss what would be next after Origin. I explained that my personal preference - although I have ideas for two direct follow-up stories to Origin that would create an interesting trilogy - was to write something completely new for my second novel.
I know that a large number of readers like series of novels, where writers always use the same characters, but this is not something I've ever had a personal interest in. I guess I get bored easily, and want to keep trying different things!
Luckily for me, my editor listened to my request and said he would consider reading proposals about other, unconnected stories. I immediately set about jotting down several ideas I'd got brewing, and sent them off to Alexander, as well as my agent, Luigi Bonomi.
It turned out that although Headline were happy to have a different story, from a business perspective they wanted it to be on the same sort of lines as Origin - an action conspiracy thriller which crosses genres and has an unsual twist.
I had to go back to the drawing board with a couple of the ideas, before getting it cracked (or so I thought!). My editor liked it, and started to discuss it with other people at Headline (sales and marketing, international rights, other editors, etc). The feedback was that the story was great, but still didn't quite have that little extra twist that Origin had. There was nothing specific required as such - just something a little more.
After struggling for some time, my mind too full of ideas to seperate one from another, my wife and I decided to repeat the scientific method that had led to the background story of Origin - relax the mind with a liberal dose of wine and then discuss things until the early hours of the morning!
I'm not saying that drinking is always the answer, but in this case it certainly worked! All of a sudden, I saw the story from an entirely new angle, and I worked the new ideas in immediately.
Alexander and Luigi both loved the new version, and it was taken to the next stage at Headline - the acquisitions meeting. After this it was several days of frayed nerves as I waited for the answer, and then it was joy (and relief!) when I got the email from Luigi saying that Headline had agreed to buy it.
I have therefore spent the past four weeks on research, and have now planned the novel in depth - sequence by sequence, and scene by scene. Now I just need to write it! Publication is slated for October this year, which gives me roughly two to three months for the first draft to be completed.
So I'd better get cracking!