I’m in a kind of hiatus currently. In between edits of Passage and moving on to a collaborative novel between myself and highly popular and successful hybrid author, Simon Turney. But more about that shortly.
Passage is currently with the editor in the UK. It’s also had some beta-reads. Having never written contemporary fiction before, I wanted to see what readers felt, to make sure I was hitting the right nerves. To date – so far so good. They generally all felt the same way and were happy with the direction the novel took. I made a few changes – suggestions they made with which I agreed – but generally the narrative kept its direction. That was heartening. But waiting for formal edits is always nerve-wracking, so it’s good to think about other things.
Which brings me to Simon’s and my collaboration. Simon is highly regarded in both mainstream (he’s contracted with Orion and Canelo) and indie circles as an excellent writer of Roman and Byzantine fiction. I’m known in indie circles for 12th century historical fiction set in Europe and the Byzantine empire and mostly centred on trade. Simon approached me with an idea for a collaboration and when I read his proposal, I thought it truly had legs and agreed, without hesitation.
(see Pinterest for images that set our scene)
We plan to co-write a novel set in the nineteenth century about a brother and sister from Yorkshire who are sentenced to transportation to Van Diemens Land (Tasmania). Sadly I can’t tell you why they were transported – that would be a complete spoiler. But as many of Simon’s fans would know, he isn’t shy of murder and mayhem and I suspect there will be plenty of that! As most also know, Simon is a Yorkshireman born and bred, and his research to date, filling out the background of the story set around Ripon, has been fascinating.
As those who are familiar with me will know, I’m Tasmanian born and bred, the great great grand daughter of a convict transported from England for stealing two sheep to feed his starving family. I’m just beginning the research at my end and last night, started reading about female convicts transported to VDL. I foresee some in-depth trips to Port Arthur, a couple of convict tours round Hobart, time at the Cascade Female Factory, maybe trips into the hinterland or Maria Island. Mostly, I see myself sequestered in the State Archive reading the detailed paperwork left behind by the colonial administration. In amongst all of that, I know I will find letters and diaries from which we can draw our fictional characters’ journeys. Simon foresees a possible duology. Maybe even a trilogy. Time will tell.
I’ve been fiddling and faddling since Passage was finished. Achieving very little what with my first cataract op and then Easter and waiting for the editing to return and my next op (Monday). So it’s wonderful to start planning, researching, allowing new ideas to percolate. Even to taste them on the tongue like a piece of chocolate.
Mostly though, I’ve just been reading, stitching, gardening…
…babysitting and walking.
But I can feel the brain cranking back into gear now. Ever so slowly, but cranking nevertheless. I can’t imagine what life would be like if I couldn’t write.
That’s the news from me and from my partner in crime, Simon Turney.
Roll on our collaboration!