Firstly, I finished and published Class of '92 on the 30th December. This has been an incredibly successful launch, with several hundred copies sold already and a massive boost to the rest of the range as a result. This has meant that January has been my most successful month to date. To be at a point where I have more income coming in each month than I had in my last full time job feels pretty special. I'm so glad I didn't listen to those early doubters with their "don't give up the day job" advice!
It hasn't all been wine and roses and I have to say that there were times when I was writing Class of '92 when I had my doubts (we creative types all have them). But I knuckled down to it and burned the midnight oil, or more accurately the midnight Merlot on more occasions than I can remember as I was determined to get it right. There are authors out there who are churning out several books a year but I prefer to take my time and I won't put something out until I'm completely happy with it.
Judging by the feedback I have had - and I don't just mean reviews but all the private messages (thank-you so much for them - I love hearing from my readers and reply to every one), that extra time was well worth it. I can't remember a book being better received than this one. Clearly tapping into the whole 1990s nostalgia thing was a good move.
Now on to my current project. I have not started a new book yet. I have several different ideas I am toying with but nothing I am ready to start on just now. Instead my focus throughout January has been on turning The Time Bubble into a script. This is something which I have found immensely enjoyable. Writing scripts is not something I have ever done professionally, but I do have a lot of history behind me in this area.
|Coming to a movie theatre near you soon?|
Well over thirty years ago now, back in school, my friend Francis and I started writing our own little plays in exercise books as an alternative to paying attention in boring lessons. The characters were all people we knew indulging in extremely libellous activities. No-one was immune - from fellow students to teachers to various celebrities of the day, These plays carried on throughout college and into my twenties and often verged into the realms of time travel in various ludicrous and humorous scenarios.
I even showed one of them to a famous film director once, the legendary Roy Boulting who lived in my village and used to come into the shop where I worked every day to buy his copy of The Times and 20 Dunhill International. He did actually read it and was very kind in his feedback, suggesting I was a promising newcomer. In reality it probably came across as juvenile crap and he was just being polite. I was only 19 at the time after all. That was as far as things went back in those heady days of 1989 because due to various other important teenage commitments I had at the time such as work, the pub, and trying to get off with girls, my script writing career got put on hold at that point. For about three decades.
Now that I'm turning The Time Bubble into a script, I'm reminded of those days and how different writing a script is to writing a novel. There are things that you can do in a novel that you can't do in a script - for example, showing people's feeling and motivations through their inner thoughts can be done easily in a book - not so easily on screen. This is just one difference. So it certainly isn't just a case of cutting and pasting the dialogue out of the book into the script - that's not enough. Like with everything I do - if I'm going to do something I'm going to do it properly.
As I mentioned above, I have found the process very enjoyable and I do feel it plays to my strengths. I have always found the most difficult parts of writing novels the bits where I have to describe a scene or a person's appearance. This does not come naturally to me even though it's one of the first things they teach you on creative writing courses - so I am told. Dialogue, however, flows onto the page, especially the humorous bits. That's why you get so many scenes in my books with Kent and the other drinkers in the pub. These scenes may not always advance the plot very far, if at all, but I just love writing them. It's breaking the rules but I've never been one for convention. Maybe I should just write a sitcom set in a pub.
When this script is finished, which won't be much longer, the real challenge will begin - getting it made into a film. I have been in discussion for a couple of years now with Ross Arrowsmith, a talented young film maker in Bicester, about doing this but for one reason or another we've not been able to look at it until now because we've both been too busy with other projects. One of the biggest projects Ross has been involved in has been producing the excellent sitcom In Other News which if you've not seen it, is well worth going over to YouTube to check out now. Here's a link to one of the episodes: In Other News Series 1, Episode 1
Ross and his team crowdfunded this project, raising several thousands pounds to produce it. I believe that we can successfully do the same for The Time Bubble, particularly with the large existing fan base I have built up. I know everyone's asking for money these days but I am sure that there are a lot of Time Bubble fans out there who would love to see a polished, professional production of the story. Crowdfunding isn't simply a case of saying "we want to make a film, please give us your money" - we would want to give something back. So for example, contributing twenty pounds might get you a signed DVD on release, a larger amount might get you an invite to the premiere, or your name in the credits. It is all very early days and Ross and I need to sit down and work out in fine detail what we need before we start the process.
The biggest expense is likely to be paying actors and I think it's very important to have professionals on board. I certainly don't want this to look like some amateur production - I value my work too highly for that and so does Ross.
There were other routes I could have gone down with this - such as trying to sell the script to a film studio but I love the idea of working with Ross and doing this ourselves. I am always seeking new challenges and have reinvented myself many times - becoming a successful entertainer and then a successful writer after deciding the rat race wasn't for me. If the dedication and will is there, there's no reason why I can't add scriptwriter and producer to my CV. The beauty of the internet age that we now live in is that there is virtually nothing you can't do yourself if you are determined enough to succeed.
Your feedback and support on this would be hugely appreciated.