I was sitting with my wife one evening, I was a bit fed up and very tired. I had recently been diagnosed with having Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (or M.E.) and had left work, which is a whole other story. We were trying to think of something I could do that was nicer, less stressful and above all less tiring than software engineering. Listing things I was good at; we came across writing. I have always been able to write well and quickly and it was nice to realise that I had a skill outside of computers. Recently my writing had been limited to technical proposals and reports for work. I churned these out at a rate of knots, faster than anyone else seemingly could. Talking about it more and more, the more I realised that not only was I good at it, I enjoyed it. Enter my first novel, ‘No Love Lost’.
No Love Lost was the story of a woman who bumps into her old college boyfriend and starts to fall in love. Quickly, however, he disappears and she has to go to extraordinary lengths to find and rescue him.
My motivation behind this particular story was my general dissatisfaction with fiction I find and read on Amazon. All I can ever find is either specifically for women, I am in touch with my feelings but I am still a man and have my limits, or outrageous stories of super-human men fighting and killing baddies. You have your literary works of course but I read for enjoyment, not education or learning; having had enough of that at work. So I wanted to write something different, something in between. I wanted action, emotion, sensible stories and real characters. I wanted a nice read.
I fell into a common trap, however with No Love Lost. There was too much sex, too much violence and it all got into rather a mess. Instead of trying to rescue the story for the fifth time, I moved on. My motivations remained, they formed my rules:
- The main character should be real. They cannot be perfect in any way.
- The story is not part of a series, I shall not establish plot or traits to extend to another book.
- There can be emotional parts but it should not be needlessly heavy.
- It should be readable, words need to flow and dance across the page.
I wrote it, it was a lot of fun. At the time I was in Italy with my wife and she was enjoying enrolling on Italian language courses as we travelled. I was still very tired and at times could only sit in our accommodation. So I wrote. I described where we were, Xen followed me through Italy coincidentally, driving forward the story as he did. I published it. Bit of a mistake really and sorry to the few people that read it. Eventually I had my wife read it, pointing out how long it was. I needed to have added another rule:
Thirty thousand words less, Sarah (the wife) having slashed and burned my ramblings and repetition, and it was far tighter and a much better read. Can you tell she hasn’t edited this?