Since Christmas I’ve been editing a new book that’s a real departure for me. It’s a supernatural thriller rather than straightforward crime, although it starts with the brutal murder of a young girl and charts the effect this has on her parents and those caught up in the events that follow.
If asked to sum it up in a sentence, I would say it’s about a supernatural assassin who you summon with grief but pay with your soul.
A far cry from the close-protection world of my series character, Charlie Fox.
It’s not that I’m intending to move away from the series, far from it. DIE EASY: Charlie Fox book ten is just out and I’m planning the next instalment. Plus I keep receiving wonderful emails and comments on Facebook and Twitter from people who have either been reading the books from the start, or have only recently stumbled into Charlie’s world and are loving it. I don’t say this in any way to brag, but to express my own humbled delight that so many people actually seem to like what I do. Any writer will tell you this can be a constant source of amazement.
Without readers we are merely talking nonsense in an empty room.
But the new book is substantially different and that worries me just a little. It deals with the supernatural, for a start, with Buddhist philosophy and Catholic doctrine thrown in. It has an ensemble cast—a misfit group who band together to fight against an ancient evil, each for reasons of their own. As mentioned, it starts with murder, and there’s a strong theme of retribution and its consequences. But apart from the fact that it features a strong female protagonist, one who is prepared to make any sacrifice to do what she believes is right, it’s a very different story from anything I’ve written so far.
I’m nearly done with the edits. I’ve made substantial changes from the first draft, which is another departure for me. Normally I would self-edit as I go along and not make sweeping alterations after that. But this time I think—well, I hope, anyway—that it’s lifted the whole of the narrative up a level. I could be right, or hopelessly misguided. At this stage it’s impossible to make any kind of value judgement.
One thing’s for sure, though. For me it’s a total leap in the dark.
So, ’Rati. How willing are you to read something totally different from an author you’ve previously enjoyed, even if it’s maybe not a genre you’ve tried before?
What was the last leap of faith you made? And how did it work out for you?
This week’s Word of the Week is hagiography, which used to mean the biography of saints or venerated persons, but has now come to mean any biography which over-idealises or idolises its subject.