So, ‘The Blade’s Fell Blow’ has gone to be published and will be delivered to any pre-release purchasers on the 951st anniversary of the Battle of Hastings! Of course I am very pleased about this as it is the culmination of a lot of work. I was very impressed when Amazon linked all three of my books together in one advertisement. I am hoping that the existence of a complete trilogy will encourage more readers of historical fiction to enjoy the adventure that I created.
I have now moved on and I am primarily working on my fantasy novel, to which I have given the working title of ‘The Queen of the Mountain’. However, I always seem to need to have the next book underway as well and so I have started preliminary work on a science fiction novel. The first draft is underway but what I have found to be really interesting is that my style of writing has changed. For the Sorrow Song Trilogy I used a very descriptive style and I did this consciously. I wanted to recreate the world of the Saxons in as much depth as possible to help give the books a significant degree of credibility. This produced a very lyrical style that I enjoyed working with.
For ‘The Queen of the Mountain’ I did not consciously set out to change my style of writing but I found that during the first draft it became less descriptive and more immediate. I think that this was necessitated by the tone of the book in that there are more exciting events happening. In the ‘Sorrow Song’ each novel worked towards a significant battle with a lot of scene setting and character development going on. There were the occasional skirmishes of course but the books each traversed a set path. With ‘Queen of the Mountain’ there is a lot more going on. Even though it is a fantasy with a whole new world to explore my writing uses more brevity so as not to slow the pace.
To be honest I had not realised this change until I started work on the science fiction book, which has the working title of ‘Pangea’.This is also something of technological thriller in which there is a lot of action and it is even more immediate than ‘The Queen of the Mountain’. With ‘Pangea’ I have stopped writing long descriptive paragraphs and instead the characters are describing what they see in the same way that people do in real life. I have quickly found that this allows me to develop the characters through their dialogue. Another advantage is that it has stopped me from writing a Palaeontological field book, which might have been fun in itself but only to dinosaur nuts like myself. By restricting the descriptive passages to only what is absolutely necessary I found that the story moved faster. Fast is good. The main motivation of the book is a chase across prehistoric landscapes and slow chases are boring.
Clearly, writing different kinds of books encourages me to develop different writing styles and that in turn, I hope, improves my skill as a writer. Of course, if I had decided to write only historical fiction, which I was encouraged to do, then this would not have happened, or it certainly would be less likely. The moment I stepped out of the genre to write ‘Eugenica’ was the moment that I confirmed my decision to write what I wanted to write. To be true to myself as an author, hopefully that does not sound pompous? When I started writing I read several articles that were concerned with a writer writing for a specific audience, getting to know the reader, identifying what they wanted, and then directing your efforts down that narrow path. I do not criticise this approach as it has worked for some and as much as I would enjoy commercial success it is not the reason why I write.
I write because I enjoy telling stories.
This is the reason why I am not a genre writer. My imagination is not confined to any one particular genre of literature or cinema or theatre or art school or science. In fact I actively choose not to have any favourites. I believe that having favourites is limiting, that it closes you to new experiences whereas I want a broad horizon. There are things that I like and there are things that I do not like but there are also things that I have yet to experience and I am eager for that. I hope that my opting not to write for any specific genre will not put people off my work but rather reflect my own philosophy of being open to trying something new.