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In the spotlight

It's almost publication time (as I may have mentioned once or twice before)... and here's a strange analogy for the feeling. 

It's like being caught in a very bright spotlight.

I don't mean that in a bad way.  I suppse it's like an actor's nerves, when he or she is about to step onto the stage. It's what they do, what they've worked towards for all this time, but it's such a big moment and it's charged with electricity.

It's not just about me, either, these feelings.  I can sense the pressure of the expectation of others upon me.

Most importantly, there are my dear and long suffering readers, I've been so touched by how many people have been kind enough to get in touch to tell me they're looking forward to reading Shadows of Justice.

Thank you all, very much.

But here's the curious thing.  I'm also feeling the pressure from my imaginary friends, my beloved characters.

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The Final Countdown

I couldn't resist the 80's pop-tastic lyrical allusion, that being my decade, but I'm thinking about the books thing.

In fact, it's what I've mostly been thinking about these last few weeks, as the day of publication of Shadows of Justice nears.

Have I mentioned the book is out on May 1st?  I think I may have slipped it in occasionally... just once or twice...

Forgive the excitement, please.  What I wanted to talk about was the preparations I've been making, and one in particular...

... choosing a reading from the new book. 

This is proving tricky! 

I've got a few events to do to mark publication, and it's only natural that the audience will be keen beyond belief to hear a sample of my scribblings. (Maybe.)

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A phoney calm

It's now two weeks and one day (not that I'm still counting) until publication of Shadows of Justice, and all is calm... at least, on the surface.

This is a strange time in the life of an author.  The work is done - all two years and more of it - so all that's left to do is wait.

The final edits have been signed off, the cover and blurb, the marketing copy, it's all complete.  Now it's just a question of awaiting publication day.

It's a curious feeling.  Every day, I have a thought about the printing presses running with page after page of my scribblings.  A marketing department contacting bookstores, libraries, readers groups and so much more.

And I just count away the days to May 1st.

There's not much else I can do.  After the launch day, it's into signings and book talks and all the rest of the promotional efforts.  But until then, to borrow a very fine phrase...

"He waits.  That's what he does.  And I tell you what: tick followed tock followed tick followed tock followed tick..."

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Heart of Character

A very fine question has been posed of me, which I shall duly attempt to answer - why am I so committed to my careers work?

The easy response is that there's little more important in all our lives, in my view, than to do our best to help the next generation.

The tougher answer goes to the heart of character, which is why it's such a powerful and impressive question.

Before we go on, a quick visual interlude of me at St James School in Exeter, talking about the importance of hard work in finding a good career, during a prizegiving evening.

Simon St James school 1.jpg

The reason I'm so committed to careers work is because of the impact other people's efforts had on my past and indeed present. And it was so very profound that it's made its way to the heart of my character.

When I was at school, I wasn't a great kid, to say the least - always in trouble, being disruptive, I was suspended and excluded a few times.  I doubt you're surprised by that?

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People and plots

I've been thinking about a journey I've been fascinated to follow.

It's not just the whole writing thing (which has been a delight in itself), but one particular area - the battle between the people and the plot in a novel. 

And it is a battle - because they're both jostling for a limited space.

When I first started writing, I was much more interested in the plot.  I suspect that's quite usual for authors of crime fiction - the story does tend to dominate.

But my view has changed over the years.  I've become more and more interested in the characters in a book.

I suppose it's a reflection of life.  What unites us all more than an interest in people?  Whether it's friends or neighbours, family or strangers, we're all fascinated by others.  

And I love watching people.  I like trying to read them, see inside them, discover the motivations of their lives and the reasons behind them.

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