New Novel... A Different Happy - available 4th May
Updated: May 2
As publication date draws near I thought I'd look back at the journey of A Different Happy, from the birth of the idea to publication. No matter how determined I've been to speed up the whole process, it still takes the bones of three years!
The Idea - Joy, the main character, left Scotland on a minibus at the end of The Way of Life, broken, free of her secrets, uncertain of her future. Those who had read The Way of Life asked continuously about a sequel, they wanted to know what happened next. Summer holidays walking beaches and cliff-top footpaths near Bidart, SW France, I pictured Joy, battered and broken emotionally, beginning a healing process in this beautiful place.
The Plot – I'm quite a methodical worker when it comes to the structure of my books (I blame it on years of working with excel sheets and reports!). However, the first branches of the plot tree present themselves to me in a series of snapshots which are quickly jotted down, even though these images tend to stay with me until the end.
Writing the Story - It was January 2018 when I wrote 'Chapter One' in my new notebook. The plan, to write 20k words before my writing holiday in Andalucia, Spain, that April. Target driven, I made it along with the 21k I promised myself I'd write in Spain. I was halfway; it then took until December 2018 to write the words 'The End'. Twelve months to get the story out felt good, a real achievement. Next came the hard work.
Editing - Many writers really enjoy this stage, honing the prose, picking at plot niggles, choppy out chunks ' killing their darlings' - not me. I know it has to be done, but I really do drag my heels. When I've done what I can I enlist the services of an editorial agency. I've used Richard at Editorial.ie twice now. I have great respect for his views and feedback, but when he suggested quite a major change, I had a more than a minor wobble. 'It's up to you, this is your book', he said. I could have said no, taken the easy option, it would still have been an 'OK' book. I took the plunge, knowing in my heart of hearts that he was right, so I set about chopping and changing the latter half of the book.
Publishing - A different Happy is now as ready as it will ever be. I'd sent it off to several digital publishers on the advice of Rowan Coleman, an excellent writer and tutor I met in Chez Castillon, last October. Sadly, no takers. So now, like with The Way of Life and Kyla's Place, I'm self- publishing with Amazon. It's a fiddly process, but the help sections are thorough, and now I'm just about ready to press the ‘publish now’ button.
Advertising - Not my strong point at all, It's more fun writing stories. The characters in book number 4 have been calling me for weeks... it's time to set them free to tell their tale. Any help at all with this pesky advertising task would be much appreciated. If you could share on social media, write a review if you read my books, or buy one of my books as a present, I will be ever so grateful.