This month I bring to a conclusion my mini-series on my journey as a writer, so far. I hope it has not been too personal, and that it has been of some use, interest or encouragement to some of you, wherever you are in your own sojournings.
A germ of an idea, a picture in my mind of a disabled woman murdered in her wheelchair, led after months of churning thoughts, scribbled notes and intense conferences to novel. no. 5, 'An Iron Yoke.' This was a departure for me because, as it involved a crime, it also had to include a police investigation, about which I know little. However, I was uncomfortably aware that I had to get it right. Although the police activity was important, it wasn't central, and I don't see 'Yoke' as primarily a crime novel at all; nevertheless, there are many eagle-eyed crime addicts out there who would pounce on an error with the speed of a striking snake, so I had to get my facts straight - where I could not simply leave them out. Fortunately I had the unstinting help of a friend who is a retired police officer, and I hope for his sake as much as anything that I haven't committed too many blunders. So far nobody has pointed any out to me - but perhaps they are being polite!
'An Iron Yoke' was published early this year, 2016, at a most enjoyable party, and seems to be meeting with approval in certain quarters. I am trying to expand what some might call a platform, via a new web site, social media contacts, talks and reviews, and very recently I have had the privilege of being interviewed by US author Julie Saffrin on her blog, which I hope may increase interest in America.I find she is one of many American citizens who like all things British - our accents, humour, ancient monuments, and so on - and I have no quarrel with that! As I write this I am also awaiting a discussion with my publisher on marketing, and I hope new avenues may result.
To my surprise, ideas for novel no. 6 have come to me quite quickly. Without the germ of a plot and characters taking shape, no novel can start coming to life, and for me that part of it - a story and people I can commit to - is an essential prerequisite. Oddly, though, after five novels, this last and latest was the hardest to begin. I found myself worrying about such things as structure and viewpoint, even though I was awash with ideas for characters, theme, even scenes. Happily I am blessed with a writing buddy who knew how to clarify my perplexity -thanks, Claire!- and so now (distractions notwithstanding) no. 6 is under way.
And then - what next? For my part, not knowing (thankfully) what is to come, I hope to keep on writing as long as I am physically and mentally able and as long as ideas for stories arrive. But life may present me with something that must have higher priority, or God may one day say, 'Enough.Time to do something else.' So I shall concentrate on getting the first draft of no. 6 done. Then I will have as many published books as Jane Austen (though there, in terms of content, skill, quality, fame, and many other things, the resemblance ends!)
Sue Russell writes as S.L.Russell and has five novels available in the usual places as paperbacks and e books: Leviathan with a Fish-hook, The Monster Behemoth and The Land of Nimrod, a trilogy, and two stand-alones, A Shed in a Cucumber Field and An Iron Yoke, all published by New Generation. If we must be pinned down to a genre, I call it realistic contemporary British Christian fiction for adults.
Sue lives in Kent (but sometimes in France) with her husband, currently one daughter, and Rosie the dog. She is an amateur singer and church organist, and blogs at www.suerussellsblog.blogspot.com. (In case you were wondering, with me in the photo is a granddaughter, now quite a lot bigger.)