¦ Dialling in from the Sky Bunker ¦
Dusted. First draft. Book number 8. Weeks of editorial and proofing ahead, no doubt, but that can wait. Right now I’m holding onto and celebrating this moment.
Finishing this book means a little more to me than usual.
The last novel (the Black Lake) took seven weeks, which I wrote between May and July last year. This one took five months. But, I actually started it back in April last year and it’s had a number of interruptions: travelling to Malta, writing The Black Lake, touring around Sicily, starting to write Rise of the Iconoclast only to pause that to resume this one. And then the dark weeks and months of September 2012 to January 2013 when I thought everything in my world was coming to an end.
Long story. I’ll tell you over a bottle of whisky one day.
One good thing did come out of all that horror.
Perspective. And a desire to balance my obsession with writing with the desire to actually live my life.
So since January I’ve been doing one month of writing followed by one month off.
Probably one of the best regimes I’ve put in place.
May was my writing month and rapidly consumed by socials as friends came down from Newcastle for a few days, and then another over from Spain for a week.
We joked about them “interfering” with my writing.
I’d much rather have had their company than the isolation of the Sky Bunker.
But loss of potential “writing time” did focus my mind and give me the impetus to crack on and not stop until I was done, done, done. More easily said as work has been utterly insane and exhausting for months now.
So this weekend began at 8 o’clock Saturday morning. By 6.30 pm Saturday night I’d had enough. Me, an Indian takeaway and a couple of glasses of red wine switched me off. And then 7 A.M. today, I’m up, and out in my car. Roof down. Early morning sunlight. Gary Numan Pleasure Principle on the stereo. I drove into the city, parked up, and did the Harbour Walk with my mind lost in deep thought. I nailed it. The final chapters of the novel. There, in my head, walking but not aware of anything really but what was going on in the cinema scope of my mind. I love moments like that. When the whole plot comes together, all the strands, all the unanswered questions, and you can clench it, one-handed, hold it up and look at it and be pleased by seeing it all brought together. I found a cafe that was open early Sunday mornings. Coffee and a roast vegetable sandwich. Bloody delicious. I scribbled down notes like a mad man before the ideas has a chance to slip away.
I got it all down.
Then the drive home. Me grinning, genuinely happy. Gary Numan wailing away with discordant tones and the music reminds me of being 8 years old. It’s happy memories. And a sense of connecting the back then with the now. The child full of dreams with the adult (now 42) able to create fantasy worlds with the written word.
In the end, I wrote 9,000 words this weekend.
And I got there. To the end.
So here’s to senior verifier Jadon Purgo.
He’s been my imaginary companion for all these months. The good times and the very bad.
I look forward to you reading through the exploits he’s had to go through. With you wondering if he’ll live and survive, or end up like some of my favourite characters – torn apart, shot, stabbed or lost in a realm of madness.
The Social Club will be the third novel set in the post-apocalyptic survival horror universe of Yellow Dawn – The Age of Hastur; it follows Dog Eat Dog and The Black Lake (which recently received critical review in the Guardian newspaper website UK) – all three of which are separate stories but sharing the one universe. Another five novels exist taking place in this shared universe before Yellow Dawn wrecked such global havoc and devastation, you can view all of these novels here.
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