But first, a bit of background. So, back in December, the success of A Christmas Outing surpassed my expectations, flying high in the freebie charts during its launch week. The comedy short, which focused on a teenager's coming out to his dysfunctional family, was well-received and I wasted no time in writing a sequel - titled This Crazy Thing I Call My Life - which I have since edited and passed on to several kind people (who’ve thankfully been positive about it!). The book is basically ready for release. So why the delay?
Well, life got in the way, and um… more writing. On a train to London a few weeks ago, I started typing a scene from a book I’ve had in mind for some time. This has evolved somewhat rapidly and now stands at over 30,000 words. I’m really pleased with it so far and it will be my second novel, the first being FAG.
So what can I say about this novel? The title and cover I’m keeping under wraps for now. (Sorry!) But I can tell you that the opening chapters are set in pre-war Berlin. I’m really enjoying researching and writing it, even if some sections are tough (emotionally). I’m hoping I can draw you, the reader, into this dark and tense world, on the brink of so much horror, much as many of you were drawn into the claustrophobic boarding school life of FAG. If anything, I think this next novel will take you on an even bigger rollercoaster ride!
Okay, so now I need to promise that I’ll release the other book, the comedy sequel (which works marvellously as a standalone story!) soon. So… I promise. I just need to read through it once more and decide how I’m going to launch it. But it will be soon!
And then it’s on with finishing the new novel. I can’t wait to share more details with you soon.
Thanks as always for your support and patience. And in the meantime, below is an exclusive extract from This Crazy Thing I Call My Life.
This Crazy Thing I Call My Life
This is how it began.
Not how it properly began, of course. It began, as things so often do, the night before, but this is how it began in the sober light of day.
I know I’ve just used the word ‘began’ a lot. You know that thing when you suddenly take notice of a word - actually properly take notice of it? And the letters start to sit uncomfortably alongside one another so that you’re not even sure you’ve spelt it right, or that it’s even a word? That’s what it’s like with me now.
It doesn’t look right. Or is it just me?
I think it looks more like a Bulgarian first name. Or maybe an exotic food that you pretend to like because it’s exotic, but in reality prefer to taste your own vomit, which you may well do after eating the aforementioned exotic food.
My English tutor at secondary school told me always to open a piece of writing with a hook. “If you lose your reader in the opening paragraphs, you lose him for good,” he’d said, his tweed jacket reeking of tobacco. I remember wanting to ask him what had happened to the female readers, and also why the hell he was wearing a tweed jacket at the height of summer. But I wasn’t suicidal.
I’m well aware that the award for Best Hook will never be given to the overuse and resulting re-evaluation of the word ‘began’. I like to think of it as a little two-fingers to my English tutor (RIP), who never gave my essays more than fourteen and a half out of twenty. The half mark, he’d written in his old-fashioned just-about-legible scrawl, was for the uniqueness of my idea that Bill Sykes in Oliver Twist was a closet homosexual. (Which was why - spoiler - he killed Nancy - so he could be with Fagin.) In fairness, my essays
were rubbish, but still…
Anyway, I sense I’m losing you already, so let’s get back on track. It began - no, started - with finding his library card in the pocket of half a pair of jeans. And so opened a new chapter in this crazy thing I call my life…