In terms of releases, 2019 is my least productive year so far with just two books published. In terms of writing, however, it’s easily been my most prolific.
Both books sent into the wild in 2019 further developed my DI Bliss series, with #4, The Reach of Shadows, and #5, The Death of Justice, joining the first three successful books. I got to explore both Bliss’s past and the current team in more detail over the span of those two novels, and each progression encouraged me to continue and improve further still. For me, at least, the series was not running out of steam. Happily, my readers seem to agree.
Across the year I have also written two additional full novels. The first explores completely different territory for me, representing my biggest challenge to date. It features my first female lead, and the book is set entirely in northern California without a British character in sight. It’s called Fifteen Coffins, and although I haven’t yet decided if it will be a standalone or the first in a new series – perhaps circumstances will dictate that for me – I’ve come to like the end result very much. Beta reader reviews have been extremely positive, also. Having lingered over its publication, I have interest from a publisher whose communication and enthusiasm has impressed me enormously, and I am hopeful that a deal will be struck early in the new year. The second book is #6 in my Bliss series. It’s called Endless Silent Scream, and I am publishing it on 9 March 2020. In addition, during editing lulls, I have managed to get more than 20,000 words into Bliss #7, Slow Slicing, as well starting a one-off novella which follows one of Jimmy Bliss’s early investigations as a lowly DC. Oh, and for good measure, I also threw in the first two chapters of a third Mike Lynch book.
If all goes according to plan, then 2020 will hopefully see the release of three novels and a novella, and that will represent a very happy new year indeed. Along the way there have been a few stumbles, but I have learned so much more about myself and other people this year. In the main it has been positive, and the depth of generosity from a number of fellow authors, book bloggers, my own readers and even those who don’t know my work very well, has been extraordinary. I’m not going to name names for fear of accidentally excluding somebody, but if you read this you know who you are because I will have thanked you at some point during 2019. Just this week I have received cards and gifts from readers who have become friends, and that is very special indeed.
Although I had to cancel a couple of events this year due to illness, I also managed to attend two. The first was at the Deepings Literary event, which was wonderfully organised and fun to do. The second was a joint reading/signing/Q&A with fellow author Eva Jordan at our local branch of Waterstones in Peterborough. A well-attended, fun evening. Getting to meet my readers has been a real privilege over the past few years, and 2019 gave me this opportunity on two occasions, both of which were a genuine pleasure.
All that remains is for me to wish you all a very happy Christmas and a splendid new year. Who knows, my sixty-third year on the planet may prove to be the best yet.