...or, the meaning of my Twitter handle is finally revealed.
Now this is how you start the week. Well, actually, how I’ve started my week is laughing till I cried at a certain news story relating to David Cameron: if you could convert schadenfreude into electricity, I could probably take care of the entire country’s power requirements for the rest of the week. But I digress.
There’s even better news: I can at last announce that my novel Hell’s Ditch will be published later this year by Snowbooks.
The dream never changes: a moonless, starless night without end. The road she walks is black, bordered with round, white pebbles or nubs of polished bone; she can’t tell which but they’re the only white in the darkness, marking her way through the night.
In dreams and nightmares, Helen walks the Black Road. It leads her back from the grave, back from madness, back towards the man who caused the deaths of her family: Tereus Winterborn, Regional Commander for the Reapers, who rule the ruins of a devastated Britain.
On her journey, she gathers her allies: her old mentor Darrow, the cocky young fighter Danny, emotionally-scarred intelligence officer Alannah and Gevaudan Shoal, last of the genetically-engineered Grendelwolves.
Winterborn will stop at nothing to become the Reapers’ Supreme Commander; more than anything he seeks the advantage that will help him achieve that goal. And in the experiments of the obsessed scientist Dr Mordake, he thinks he has found it.
To Winterborn, Project Tindalos is a means to ultimate power; to Mordake, it’s a means to roll back the devastation of the War and restore his beloved wife to the living. But neither Winterborn nor Mordake understand the true nature of the forces they are about to unleash. Forces that threaten to destroy everything that survived the War, unless Helen and her allies can find and stop Project Tindalos in time.
I’m absolutely delighted by this. My previous novels were all written to commission, having first been pitched to a publisher; the same’s true of the upcoming Redman’s Hill. And don’t get me wrong, I love them all. But this is the first book I just wrote on spec and sent out to be snapped up; it’s a very different feeling.
Hell’s Ditch is the first in a four-part series, The Black Road. It will be released as a hardback and ebook this coming December, with the paperback to follow in March 2016. The second novel, The Devil’s Highway, will be out next October.
The Black Road started out as an idea for a screenplay when I was nineteen, and resurfaced, changing each time, as a novel in the late ‘90s and a radio play in the late 2000s. By then it had grown into something much bigger and more complex than the original.
I wrote the first half of Hell’s Ditch in 2010, before work on it was derailed by a death in the family, then picked up the threads in 2012. It spent its time looking for a home before the good folks at Snowbooks took a shine to it; till now, the rest of the story’s been in limbo, waiting to be told.
I’m very, very excited about this. I’m really looking forward to seeing Hell’s Ditch in print, and to continuing the journey in The Devil’s Highway.
The Black Road is waiting. I hope you’ll join me on it.