Shh. Don’t tell anyone. But I think I may have started writing a new novel.

I had an idea, you see. To be honest, it was more of a feeling, a mood… a sense of the kind of book I wanted to write.

Call it an itch that needed scratching.

A bit of background here for those who don’t know my writing. A lot of it comes out quite dark. In some cases, very dark.

So this idea of mine was simply that I would lighten up.

Apparently, some people find my books too dark. Why not write something for them? I thought.

In my defence, I should point out that no one actually dies, you know. No one even gets hurt a little bit. It’s just words on paper. They’re not real people.

That said, I do accept that there are degrees of darkness, as there are of all things.

Just to be clear, it will still be a crime novel. I’m not ready to attempt a RomCom just yet.

So inevitably people will die in it. Probably quite nastily.

The question is how do you make a story in which characters die violent deaths uplifting? I hate to use the word ‘redemptive’ but maybe that’s what I’m straining for here?

I don’t know. I’m not even sure it’s possible. Or if it is possible, I don’t know whether I will be able to do it.

Maybe it will come out as dark as everything else I’ve written, despite my best intentions. The last thing I want to do is write a ‘cozy’. But I’m not averse to what my dad used to call ‘black humour’.

Right now I’m in the doodling phase. Sketching out characters. (It has to start with characters.) Opening their cupboards and looking for skeletons.

I think there will be a musical theme to it.

And it will probably be set around Christmas. In 1914. So yes. The feel-good factor of Christmas. Coupled with the horror of the great war.

That first Christmas of the war seems especially poignant to me, and not just because of the famous football game that may or may not have taken place at the Front. People had hoped that ‘it would all be over by Christmas’. But now that fragile hope was starting to crumble. The reality was dawning: they were in for the long haul.

I suppose what I’m coming to is the realisation that I can’t write something wholly light and frothy, no more than I should write something utterly dark and bleak.

You cannot cast shadows without a source of light.

And even the dimmest light appears to glow more brightly when it is surrounded by darkness.








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