Published on 12 January 2021
Emotionally and mentally, Lockdown has been problematic but I know I'm not alone in that. Thank goodness for writing! I have managed to lose myself in my work which meant that I finished my latest book for Headline well before the deadline.
That left me with the summer of 2020 free and so I decided to write another novel. I wrote every single day for four months! This time, I wrote a cosy crime called Murder at the Seaview Hotel.
It's a fun story about a group of 12 Elvis impersonators (Twelvis) who arrive in Scarborough for an Elvis convention but one of them ends up dead and his blue suede shoes are missing. B&B landlady Helen Dexter and her trusty greyhound Suki are on the case to solve it.
My agent loved the book and sent it to Headline who also liked it. Headline offered me a three-book deal to write three cosy crimes starring Helen Dexter. I'm still in shock! This means that for the next few years I'll be writing historical sagas set in the village of Ryhope where I was born and bred, alternating with cosy crimes set in my favourite seaside town of Scarborough. With no other pressures on my time because of Lockdown, I can give my novels my full attention and it's fantastic to be able to do that.
I live close to the sea and am very lucky in that I have wide open spaces and the beach. I usually walk on the beach a couple of days a week, but during lockdown I've walked every day. I'm also a keen gardener and last summer our garden looked the best it ever has. Each morning during lockdown I write and in the afternoon I garden if the weather allows, or I go for a walk.
Lockdown has given me the opportunity to fully focus on my writing. I wouldn't say I've worked harder, but I've worked more, if that makes sense. I write every morning and allow myself weekends off. It’s important to find something that you love doing and learn do it well. Hone your craft, whether it's writing or singing or acing Joe Wickes' exercises!
Over Christmas and New Year I've been working hard on the structural edits to Murder at the Seaview Hotel, and just this morning I returned the edited manuscript to the publisher, Headline. Structural edits are the really difficult edits, the ones where you have to move passages of text around, delete others and insert more. It's been a real 'grit my teeth and get on with' few weeks but I know the book will be stronger for it.
Now that my cosy crime novel has been sent off, my absolute immediate plans, right now, are to treat myself to a decent lunch by way of reward. Later today I'll familiarise myself with my latest saga which I'm two-thirds of the way through writing and pick it up again tomorrow to carry on with it. I plan to finish the first draft by the end of this month.
But first, a cup of tea!