Unfortunately, I’m not very good at updating my website. I’m not very hot on social media, either. Though I love writing (luckily), I really struggle with any form of self-marketing. It’s just not amongst my giftings.
Realising this, I’ve decided I must try harder, so have resolved to update my website every Friday throughout 2018, and hopefully beyond (except when I’m away). I don’t promise anything exciting, but I will try to be honest about what I’ve been writing, reading and doing during the week. So here goes…
With my Odysseus series now finished and published, I’ve been contracted by Canelo to write a trilogy about Heracles (better known by his Roman name, Hercules). This is an old idea that has been floating around in the nether regions of my brain for a few years, anticipating the day when Odysseus would finally return home to Penelope and live happily ever after again. Though there are many myths associated with the Superman of the ancient world, Heracles’s best known adventures were the Twelve Labours: the Nemean Lion, the Lernean Hydra, the Ceryneian Hind, the Erymanthean Boar, the Stables of King Augeas, the Stymphalian Birds, the Cretan Bull, the Man-Eating Horses of King Diomedes, the Golden Belt of Queen Hippolyte, the Cattle of Geryon, the Golden Apples of the Hesperides, and – finally – Cerberus. So that the tale I’ve decided to focus on.
I had originally planned to retell the story over two books, but Michael, my editor, sagely advised three books – mainly because trilogies work better than pairs of books. Eager to please, I agreed and planned three. The first in the trilogy has already been written and undergone its initial edit. It’s now with Michael at Canelo for its second edit, and hopefully will be out as an e-book and paperback in the spring.
I know this is fast going, as readers of the Odysseus series will remember it usually takes me a year or two to produce a book. However, since March 2017 I’ve been working as a full-time author – as opposed to one day a week, which was the case for the previous ten years – so I’m now able to give a lot more time to my lifelong passion. Strangely, though, I find I’m not writing five times as much each week. This is probably due to this strange new phenomena I’ve encountered – Imagination Fatigue. Without a whole week to recharge my ideas, I notice myself running out of steam by Friday, when productivity starts to drag to a halt. That said, I’ve made a good start with the second book in the trilogy, which is – as yet – unnamed. The first is currently called Son of Zeus. Hope you like it.
Incidentally, the second book begins with the Erymanthean Boar. Obviously, the creature Heracles faces is a grim opponent of supernatural dimensions and abilities. But it seems its more worldly cousins can be pretty deadly too: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/dec/04/hunter-dies-in-germany-after-wild-boar-he-was-trying-to-shoot-attacked-him.
Looking back over the past week, I’ve had a few days off for Christmas and been enjoying some time with my wife and daughters. On New Year’s Eve, we had a few friends around to see the New Year in. It wasn’t an alcohol-steeped affair – just a good bit of catching up and playing a few games. This morning I went for my regular Friday breakfast at a local delicatessen/bakery/restaurant. It’s a bit old fashioned (I’m told the wallpaper hasn’t changed since the 1930s!) but that suits me just fine, and the full English breakfast is beyond comparison. One of the friends I eat there with has the proud record of DJing the longest running Northern Soul disco in Europe, which he started back in the mid-1960s.
Films I’ve watched this week include: Dunkirk, the 1958 original with John Mills (5 stars); Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (4 stars – I recently enjoyed going on the studio tour at Leavesden, London, which I highly recommend); Tangled (5 stars – a brilliant film, even by Disney’s high standards); and I am currently halfway through Guardians of the Galaxy 2 (colourful start, very entertaining).
There are no fiction titles in my book list at the moment, as I’m busy researching the Great War for a future book project. A few days ago, I finished True World War 1 Stories, a frank and eye-opening collection of first hand accounts compiled in the 1920s and reprinted back in the 1990s. I’ve just started on Band of Brigands, by Christy Campbell – a well-written history of the men behind the first tanks. Today I picked up a recent release at my local Waterstones, called Passchendaele: A New History, by Nick Lloyd. It gives a fresh insight on that most terrible of Great War battles – including a strong emphasis on the German view of the fighting – and reveals just how close the British came to an outright victory that would have advanced the end of the war. Unfortunately, our house rabbit managed to get onto the kitchen table and has already nibbled a corner of the book. I don’t blame him – I can’t wait to get into it myself.
A while back, I decided to read that great tome of the ancient world – no, not the Iliad or the Odyssey this time, but the Bible – in the space of two years. I’ve just started the book of Ecclesiastes, which includes the following poetic lines:
“All things are wearisome, more than one can say. The eye never has enough of seeing, nor the ear its fill of hearing. What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.”
“For with much wisdom comes much sorrow; the more knowledge, the more grief.”
Something to ponder on.