Well, the Christmas season is almost over and my stomach is about to let out a great sigh of relief. I’ve eaten too much, I’ve drunk too much. Proportionally, I’ve probably gained the same amount of weight of ham I consumed (a lot).
I spent Christmas Eve at my parents which was lovely. My three year old son, Jack, spent most of the afternoon jumping on my Dad every five minutes to wake him up. Christmas was spent at my brother-in-laws with my wife’s family. One of my nieces is an avid reader. I noticed a copy of Rachael Craw’s excellent debut novel, SPARK, on her bookcase. I think my niece was vaguely impressed when I told her I knew Rachael and that we were facebook friends. I asked where one of my novels was (RAPTURE). She said (somewhat mysteriously) that it was with a friend. Okay. Fine. At least it’s getting read even though it won’t translate to sales.
Speaking of which, a friend who works as an attorney in Oklahoma (Hi, Micah), dropped in to get me to sign a copy of APOCALYPSE (RAPTURE TRILOGY, #3) for a teenage relative. He tells me that my books are doing the rounds at the local high school. Very flattering. I’m all for book sharing but it would still be nice to sell a few copies.
I donated ten copies of RAPTURE to my local library a few months back. I went into the system to check that they had been added and I couldn’t find them so I asked the librarian. I was informed that they might have been sold. To say I was shocked was an understatement. At no point did they mention that that was a possibility. I thought I was doing something positive for my local community and I feel a little stung by the betrayal. I met with the head librarian who is very nice. She apologised profusely and has promised me that this will never happen again. I think there was a misunderstanding with the librarian who initially accepted the books. I don’t think she quite understood that I was a local author and that several of my books are already in the library system. Once the pain eases a little, I might consider donating some other books.
I have written absolutely nothing which has been good for my sanity but not so much my self-esteem. When I don’t write, I feel I’ve been lazy, even though it is the holiday season. I am wracked with guilt and guilt of all emotions, is one I don’t deal with very well. Next week, I will wedge my writer’s hat firmly on my head, put fingers to the keys and see what I can come up with. I hope it’s good.
I have a few writing jobs on my list. Foremost amongst them is to sort out the RAPTURE graphic novel. My UK collaborator, the talented artist Mat Dawson, have been working on this project for some time. Being both relatively new to producing a graphic novel, we have tried a somewhat odd approach. Mat draws the pictures and I add the text after the fact. This seemed to be working fine for a while but now we’ve reached the point where I have to take the bull by the horns. In other words, I’m going to have to write a script for Mat to follow. There’s simply too much material for Mat to illustrate otherwise. This could prove challenging.
Mat’s computer also died recently so we agreed that he would give the graphic novel a rest for a while (I have more than enough images to work with), and he has turned his attention to a picture book that I wrote some time ago. It has been with my agent for a while so Mat is illustrating it and we are going to self-publish. I’ve never self-published a picture book before so that could be a challenge.
I’ve got a few educational contracts starting (or continuing) in the New Year. In other words, writing fiction/non-fiction texts for the education market. Plus teacher notes. It’s always a bit of a juggle between these and my YA writing but I’ve become reasonably adept at managing my time over the years. Not only that, but I only have to be at my school for the first and last few weeks of the year. The rest of the time will be dedicated to my thesis and educational writing. It will basically mean that I don’t have to work weekends anymore (which my wife is very pleased about) and donate more time to my son.
I’ve also got to prepare the synopsis for my new novel which is (once again) based on Greek myth. This is for my course next year (Masters in Creative Writing). My agent (the fantastic Vicki Marsdon) and I have agreed on a basic outline and now I just have to put pen to paper. Or fingers to the keyboard. Whatever. You know what I mean.
Speaking of my agent, the agency had some meetings in New York just before Christmas. They got my RAPTURE TRILOGY and my latest novel, ARGOS, on the desks of a number of NY editors which is exciting. Most offices close down there until the 5th January so I’m trying not to think about it in the meantime. Fingers crossed.
My U.S publisher (Month9books) for my YA novel, MINOTAUR, announced a release date of September 29th, 2015. This is very exciting although I was hoping it might be a little later (or sooner) so I might be able to travel to the States to do some promotion. As it stands, this date is right in the middle of lectures. It is what it is and so I'll have to roll with it.
Overall, it’s shaping up to be a fantastic year. Just writing this has inspired me. I think it’s knuckle cracking, fingers to the grind stone, churn out lots of words time. You never know – they might actually be good.
Phillip W. Simpson
Phillip W. Simpson is an author of YA and children's books.