Events, Writing

Four Years of Writing

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4 years. 3 books. 250,000 words. That’s a quarter of a million words! Actually, it’s more than that, but a quarter of a million sounds like a nice healthy number. Do you remember how, as an 11-year-old, you used to groan when the teacher asked for a 200-word essay? 200-words? Pah! I spit in the face of 200 words now!

Those are the numbers behind my Wardens of the Black Heart trilogy. I couldn’t tell you how many hours of my life that represents, but if I had to give a rough estimate, I’d say somewhere between 200 and 250 hours per book. And that’s just the writing, editing and proofreading. There’s plenty more time been spent on social media trying to spread the word and pinging off e-mails requesting – OK begging – bloggers to review my books. Then there’s the formatting, re-formatting, wrestling with Microsoft Word and uploading to the Amazon KDP platform. When all this is factored in, along with the time spent dreaming up the plot and jotting it down in electronic notes at random points, I think I can safely assume that this has been a 1000 hour+ project.

Tomorrow sees the publication of the third and final part of the trilogy: The Well of Tears. Readers (honestly, there are a few) will finally get to see how Lorna and Monkey’s story arc plays out and whether they can hold off the threat of those dastardly wardens.

My story has come a long way from the spark of inspiration that led me to create the character of Monkey, the boy who loves to climb. At that point, I didn’t have much more than his love of climbing to fuel the story, but once I added in Lorna and Charles Gooch and a bunch of mysterious objects, the creative juices began to flow.

Now, like a nervous football manager who, having selected his players and drilled them on his tactics before watching them step out onto the pitch to meet their destiny, I have done just about all I can to make my stories the best they can be. Whilst I will take all the plaudits for the good bits and, just as importantly, shoulder the responsibility of any faults in my work, it would be unfair for me not the share some of the blame, err I mean the credit, with others who have played their part. Yes, it’s time once again for the hundred heroes column.

Naturally, I want to thank everybody who has shown an interest in reading my books and especially those who have bought and read one of them, but there are a few people, or groups of people, who deserve a special mention.

First and foremost of these is my youngest daughter, Rachel. From a young age, we’ve known that she is a mathematical genius, but it would appear that the cogs in her brain are particularly well-suited to editing her Dad’s book. Rachel has spent many hours wading through my first and second drafts, and it is to her enormous credit that my final manuscripts are as error-free as they are.

In addition to reading and giving her opinion on the (almost) final draft, my eldest daughter Lauren has used her artistic talents to help turn my eBook covers (created by OliviaProdesign) into paperback versions (more on that in a later post). I’m also grateful for Lauren’s advice on social media.

My friend Darrin has read all three of my books before publication and provided useful feedback on each occasion. More than anybody, Darrin is a useful barometer of whether the ending of a book is good enough!

I’d like to think various online friends from message boards for their kind comments and encouragement: Craig from AmazonExiles on Goodreads and a whole host of people on The Digital Fix Forums.

Chelle on the Curled up with a good book blog was the first blogger to review my books, and I’ll always be grateful for that. She has since reviewed Black Hearts Rising, and was good enough to host the cover reveal for The Well of Tears. As an indie author, it is hard work getting any publicity for your book, and so we all owe Chelle, and other bloggers like her, a debt of gratitude for giving our books a little foothold in the literary world. Thanks also to the bloggers who recently reviewed Monkey Arkwright – you can see their reviews here.

Now, with the convivial backslapping out of the way, all that’s left for me to say is: go and buy my books. Preferably all of them!