A lot of things broke in 2020. Life as most of us knew it came to a screeching halt, and everything changed. Everything. All the little things I’d taken for granted – nipping to shops with fully stocked shelves, walking past people in the street without dodging into the road to avoid them, going out for dinner or a day trip beyond our front door – were suddenly gone. Then there were the big things I’d never had to think about before. How long would it be until I could see my family again? If I got ill, how ill would I get? Would I give it to my wife? Would I lose someone I love?
As a paramedic, being at work was scary as hell and weirdly comforting in equal measure. Unlike millions of people, I could still do my job and keep to a routine, no matter how odd that routine had become. Neither I nor my colleagues had ever been through anything like this, and the sheer madness of those first few weeks, where PPE was in short supply, the guidance was ever-changing, and no one understood what the hell we were dealing with, made a traditionally tight-knit workforce even tighter. I did get ill, but I slowly got better, my wife somehow stayed well, and life settled down into this strange new normal.
For a while my writing also ground to a halt, with the story I’d been working on stalling through no fault of its own at around 20,000 words. Try as I might, I couldn’t put my finger on the problem, but I was distracted and struggling to find a rhythm, and I reluctantly conceded that – for the foreseeable future, at least – this one wasn’t going to happen. Strangely, I did still want to write, and a new idea wheedled its way into my brain, a simple big-bang-style concept – a doctor kidnapped by an injured woman – that tempted me with its potential and instantly engaged my desire for distraction and entertainment.
That simple concept became Unbreakable, a thriller/police procedural which is my first book in a little over two years. Reading it, you might spot a few of 2020’s overriding themes. There’s plenty of heartbreak and loss and loneliness in there, but there’s also the joy of finding love and support when you’re at your lowest ebb, and the strength brought about by unexpected friendships. It was tough for me to write in places, and some of those places may be tough for you to read, but my heroines – Elin, Grace, and Safia – were strong enough to carry me through a tumultuous year, and I very much hope you’ll get a kick out of meeting them.
Unbreakable will be released October 1st via the Bold Strokes Books website, and October 12th everywhere else. An audio version will be hopefully be out hot on the heels of the print release.
Annnnnd the winners of the Unbreakable giveaway are: Sharon Davis-Lewis and Miira Ikiviita Congrats!
Given that I have a UK and a European winner, which won’t break my bank in terms of postage, and more than 160 people who entered, I’ve thrown another copy into the draw and that goes to Brooklyn Graham who commented on here. My thanks and love as ever to everyone who took the time to chat and generally be enthusiastic. It is always very much appreciated.
Keep your eyes peeled for an audiobook giveaway as soon as I get my codes.
Unbreakable will be released October 1st (via Bold Strokes) and October 12th everywhere else
For those of you who like to read with their ears, I am giddy as a kipper to confirm that Unbreakablewill be heading onto audio and that the marvellous Nicola Victoria Vincent will be narrating it 😁 The book is due out in October, hopefully the audio version will follow hot on its heels.
It’s my turn on the UK BSB Fest blog hop today. This year’s theme was a general what we like to read and write kind of thing, but I’ve flipped the clock way back to look at what got me writing in the very first place and, like an awful lot of WLW writers, that involved fan fiction. Who doesn’t love an excuse to chat about Dana Scully, right?
The registration link for the UK BSB Bash (Sunday 6th June) is alive alive-oh if you want to sign up for any of the panels/readings/whatevers.
The event will be taking place over Zoom and, once you’ve registered, you’ll get an invite to join your chosen session just prior to it starting. You can register for as many of the panels as you like and everything is free. It really is as easy as that.
This year’s UK BSB Fest is going to be online again, so everyone can pretend to be dead professional while they’re actually Zooming in their PJs and eating ice cream straight out of a tub. No idea what’ll be on the schedule yet, but I’m hoping to be involved in something or other. Preferably the ice cream part. It’s set for June 6th . Save the date!