At last, I have completed the first draft of my fourth book, ‘Horizontal Living’. It continues to chart the fortunes of Roy Groves, the principal character featured in my first three books, but it’s rather different in flavour to the earlier novels. I guess you could categorise it as a ‘comedy thriller’.
After years of battling business rivals and even vicious criminals during his business career, Roy has retired from the rat-race and settled in Southern Spain where he is looking forward to a quieter life. Little does he know! He gets talked into taking on the role of President of the ‘community of owners’ at the development where he lives and that is when trouble starts. He becomes entangled with a diverse cast of characters as he discovers the darker side of life in Spain and the resultant shenanigans range from hilarious to darkly disturbing. I hope my readers will enjoy the switch of gear.
So … first draft complete – what comes next? Well, I will now embark on a process of editing, rewriting, more editing, more rewriting etc. Firstly, I’ll be looking to correct inconsistencies in the plot (you’d be surprised how easy it is to completely forget what you wrote more than a year ago and find that you have later contradicted yourself!). Then I will endeavour to cull superfluous detail, while adding more detail where it is appropriate to create atmosphere or set a scene. I may rearrange the order of scenes or even complete chapters in order to improve the flow of the narrative. All the time, I’ll be looking out for typos, clumsy grammar, punctuation mistakes, and spelling errors.
Even after I have done all this, I expect there will still be plenty of mistakes in the manuscript so I’ll submit it to an independent copyeditor and then a proof-reader to pick these up.
Finally there will be some mechanical steps to be taken before publication. These include file conversion from Word (in which the original manuscript is written) to file formats suitable for paperback and Kindle versions, and adjusting the spine width of the cover to accommodate the exact number of pages which the book ends up with. I might also take the opportunity to revise the blurb on the back cover of the book. I wrote the blurb around eighteen months ago, before I’d even started on the actual manuscript and, inevitably, as books do, this one took on a life of its own as I wrote it, so the blurb could perhaps do with amending slightly to more accurately reflect the finished article.
So how long now before ‘Horizontal Living’ hits the shelves? Even at this stage it’s hard to be precise, since the timescale for carrying out the activities outlined above is difficult to predict accurately. My guess, though is that the book will be ready to publish somewhere around May 2016. I’ll keep you posted!