The hole after the whole

Maybe I should have been a copywriter. After all, I love words and I love playing with words.

No, I’m not in search of an alternative career. It’s another of those random thoughts that flit through my head now I’ve completed the latest novel, No More Lies. It’s the recovery after the sprint finish, the gin and tonic after the performance.

Writing a novel can be exhilarating, especially when you write crime fiction and there are murders to solve and killers to be arrested after a hectic climax where the hero almost becomes the final victim.

Then it’s all over.

It’s time for Mr Logic and Mr Rational to regain control of your head. And never forgetting that little devil on your shoulder, reminding you of all the loose ends you forgot to tie up.

So much for writing, ‘The End’.

Did the story make sense? Did the characters feel real? Did they behave credibly … or at least in character? Did everything hang together or fall apart?

For months you’ve immersed yourself in your story, living the lives of the characters, facing the drams they face, anxious as they start making up their own stories and lead you in an unplanned direction.

Now you’re sitting at your desk, desperate to dive straight back in and deal with all the questions you keep asking yourself.

Maybe desperate is too strong a word. Tempted perhaps.


Experience has taught me that when I write ‘The End’, it means the book goes away for a few weeks. While I don’t physically pack it off on a cruise of the Caribbean, that’s the sort of distance I’m trying to put between it and me. I need the space so my mind can recover and relax, so I can get on with more mundane, but necessary tasks like reading and return to my story refreshed.

The story doesn’t completely disappear from my thoughts. From time to time, my subconscious will intrude to remind me about a certain detail. Or it tells me more loose ends are fraying. I make notes and forget about it until the cruise ship, Editing and Revision, arrives back in port.

That leaves a few weeks to catch up on all the jobs I set aside while I wrote the novel. Pruning the apple trees takes less time than anticipated so maybe I should plan the promotion for the new book. I need a cover, a blog tour or launch team perhaps.

What about the website? It doesn’t quite cut it the way it used to. Is that me raising my standards? Or is it a while since I took a good look at it? What made me think that selfie looked cool?

Then again, it could be time to venture into the garage and clear away the stuff I’ve collected since I finished the last novel? And those prunings are now strewn across the floor since the refuse sack toppled over.

Somehow, none of it seems appealing.

My January challenge forced me to remain disciplined, so with more logic than enthusiasm, I did a stock take. Within minutes, I morphed into the manager I used to be, identifying priorities, creating project plans and task, allocating resources.

Okay, I wrote a list, but you get the idea.

Fisher's Fables coverIt was like Fisher’s Fables all over again.

For those who haven’t read them, Fisher’s Fables was a humorous blog about my time as the manager of a team of environmental health officers, who mainly inspected restaurant kitchens, that kind of thing.

The blog allowed me to send up management in general and local government management in particular. The characters I created to deliver these send-ups migrated into my crime fiction and the Kent Fisher murder mystery novels.

But as I sat at my desk in Crouch Corner, assessing how I would prioritise which priorities to performance monitor, I found myself looking back, reliving those blogs and the early Kent Fisher stories that went before them.

I opened up the draft of No Mystery, which is the story behind the Kent Fisher mysteries, charting the events and decisions that led to me creating the character and trying my hand at writing crime fiction.

It’s amazing what you forget. And what you remember.

I’d forgotten that I needed to complete No Mystery, having set it to one side while I completed my novel.

The idea’s simple enough – show readers and those who might want to learn more about the characters and books how it all began and developed into the series it is today.

All I had to do was finish the edit, format the paperback and eBook versions, write a back cover blurb so Jane at String Design could complete the cover.

It’s taken a few days, but what fun I’ve had reliving some of the memories – until I realised how many years it’s been since I first conceived Kent Fisher.

Anyway, I’m delighted to say there’s now a paperback version of No Mystery on Amazon for anyone who might be interested. I had planned to put up an electronic version, but I thought it would be good to offer it free to anyone who subscribes to my email list, the Kent Fisher Readers Group.

Just click the ‘Yes, add me to your mailing list’ option below if you’d like a free copy of No Mystery.

Alternatively, you can sign up on my Facebook author page, or use the form in the sidebar on the right.

And in case you’re wondering, I didn’t spend all week working on No Mystery. I updated my website and started planning a book launch for No More Lies. The garage still looks like a holding station for the rag and bone man, but as it isn’t on my list of priorities …

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