Two years ago, my very talented other half got a 3-book deal to write a crime series. Getting that book deal was a fairytale – it’s something we used to talk about for years over a few drinks after work. I would joke that when his movie is made, I want us both to have directors chairs with our names on the back (only 65% a joke). So as his second book is being stocked in a bookshop near you, I can’t help but recall some of the hilarities of our life over the past year or so, as James worked his absolute nuts off to craft his book. A little behind the scenes at what those months living with an author was really like…
My amazement started right at the beginning, when research commences. I always thought that you’d just crack on and start writing but with a crime novel based on true events, there is mounds of behind the scenes work to be done before anything is written at all. In fact James’ study became an ‘out of bounds’ area, full of paperwork and notes that to the untrained eye looks like a bit of a mess…but he assures me everything has its place and he knows exactly where to find each note he has written. Tidy at your peril, though thankfully there’s no much danger for us there.
Then as writing gets into full flow, I slowly begin to realise that his work is as methodical as it comes. Each scene in the book is marked by a different post it note with each plotline categorised according to colour (pink, blue and green). The end result, as James admits, is like a scene from Robin Williams’ One Hour Photo. But as I read his book, the structure is impeccable and all down to the post-it wall. It seemed ridiculous at the time, but there’s method in the madness for sure!
A few months into writing, and our baby Emma was turning 6 months, reaching her most tricky age. So as I got to grips with learning the finer details of weaning, a distinct change in the contents of her nappies and working out why she just won’t nap…I realised that James had a baby of his own. Our two priorities seemed to parallel as he was fine-tuning the details of his baby (the book) too. The only distinct difference, was that the book, unlike our little lady, was not a total insomniac.
When we met and worked together, I knew how hard James works. But this was another league of hard work and he would write into the early hours. He always reminded me not to worry, that his creative juices start flowing around 11pm. At which point I felt particularly bad that we’d both be up all night feeding or nursing Emma! Most days he was so focused that he’d work through the day and as he’d come downstairs for a cup of tea, he’d open his mouth to chat and only a raspy sound would come out.
However despite all these little foibles, there are two things that are unmistakable. I’ve never been so proud of him for making his dream come true and inspiring me to follow mine. So if my sentimental ramblings haven’t put you off, do check out Dance With The Dead: A PC Donal Lynch Thriller which is available via Amazon as a paperback or eBook and also in all major supermarkets.