Reflections from my Writing Room March 2023


March has sneaked up on me and I’ve realised February zipped by with no Reflections blog. It wasn’t that I didn’t do any reflecting but I didn’t spend much time in my writing room because for two weeks I wasn’t in the country. Instead, I was lucky enough to be in Jordan on a thrilling trip that included the sights we all know about - Petra, the desert at Wadi Rum, the Dead Sea – but also some that were new to me. We saw desert castles, Graeco-Roman cities and antiquities, crusader castles, spice markets and places of biblical interest. We stood on Mount Nebo, where Moses had his first glimpse of the Promised Land but had been told by God he couldn’t cross the River Jordan to settle there. Jordanian people, the places, society, culture and lack of hustle and hassle all surpassed my expectations.

While there, I used Facebook as a travel diary for photos and daily reflections. If you fancy a sneak peek it’s on my personal (not author) Facebook timeline. I’ve made the Jordan posts public so people who aren’t on my friends list can view them. Here’s the link:

Now I’m back, I’m making up for lost writing time and juggling three projects. The first is my next psychological suspense novel. Its working title is Taking a Life and some of the characters are mad, bad and dangerous to know; others have issues or are unreliable or morally dubious. The central character, Amy, has left a high-powered job in London to run a rural bookshop. But everyone around her wants a piece of her – to marry her, to be her – but maybe someone wants to kill her?

I also have a plot outline for the novel after that one and I’m a few thousand words into a rough first draft. So much for something new. For the next couple of weeks I’ll be working on something old. I’m relaunching a second edition of my domestic suspense novel Lies Behind the Ruin, first published in 2019.

Lies is about a family whose problems in the UK overwhelm them so they escape to France aiming to convert a ruined farm building into a home. But secrets and lies follow them because - how can you build a new life on toxic foundations?

Lies was my second novel, published by the small press that had also released my debut After Leaving the Village. Unusually for an indie press, they had a business model with a strong focus on paperbacks and bookshops rather than eBooks and Amazon. For me, that was fabulous because branches of Waterstones hosted launches for my first two novels and my books were in stock in local bookshops and in libraries from South America to Hong Kong. After Leaving the Village sold well by small press standards but Lies Behind the Ruin didn’t get enough promotion or advertising so it underperformed.

Now I have the rights back, there’s an opportunity to find new eBook readers who will certainly have missed it first time around.

When my debut After Leaving the Village came out of contract after five years, it was republished by my current publisher, Darkstroke Books. They did a brilliant job of re-editing with a stunning new cover that clearly signals to the reader that it’s a dark suspense thriller. We also gave it a new title Girl Out of Sight. It was rereleased as a second edition last October and I’m happy to say the eBook is selling well.

When the rights of Lies Behind the Ruin recently reverted to me, I decided to take a punt on self-publishing.  I’m making minimal changes and keeping the same title but I have commissioned a stunning new cover. I’m desperate to share this in a cover reveal across social media but I’m holding back until I can announce the publication date. Therefore, readers of my Reflections blog are about to see it here first. In the pictures you’ll see the original cover – eggshell blue with a strip of French village life across the top; and the fabulous new cover – a creepy ruin with over-sized moon and a torchlight effect. Which do you prefer?

Whether the new edition of Lies Behind the Ruin flies or flops, is up to no one but me. If I’ve learned anything in six years of being published, books don’t sell themselves. You have to get behind them and give them a good push.

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