Catching Up . . .

Has 2020 been all about Covid? In a way, yes. In many ways, no.

For a lot of people it’s been about re-evaluating. It’s been a wake-up call.

Do I need to commute so far every day? Do I love this person I’m living with? What’s the point of continuing in this job I hate? Why am I putting up with so much outside of my control? I could go on… the list is endless. Everyone has been forced to stop and THINK.

2020 has been a shit year for many. There we are. In the words of Mad-Eye Moody, “End of story. Goodbye. The End…”

But it hasn’t all been about Covid.

For instance, among my family and extended family three people are living with cancer at the moment. The worst moments of some people’s lives have taken place, all while Covid exists as an annoying accomplice in the background. Cancer hasn’t gone away. Nor have any of the other ailments killing people every day.

My husband’s work has changed completely. He’s adapted and is a podcaster now and wants to do a Masters for himself, because as he put it, “You just sometimes realise if you want to do something for yourself, you’ve got to do it now. There’s no time.”

We had a major financial scare at the beginning of this year. Suffice to say, there are some dodgy, dodgy companies out there… and they will still be doing what they do post-Covid, because some things never change.

I’ve heard numerous times from my daughter, the words, “I hate coronavirus!” All she sees is that she cannot meet her friends in the same way. She can’t stay over at Grandma’s. She couldn’t go to school. She hates seeing her parents in the scary masks and doesn’t understand why so many people are angry and impatient everywhere. And all the adults ever seem to talk about is fucking coronavirus. LOL.

I started writing a series of books last winter, almost a year ago now. I put fingers to keys to create the Bad Series well before any of this kicked off.

I wrote this series during some of the worst times of my life, but I worked SO HARD throughout to stick to the brief I set out a year ago – to write it as it was meant to be written from concept to completion. I oftentimes write my books real-time and that’s why more often than not, I write in first-person present tense because I want it to have the feel of “happening right now” – that you’re living the story alongside the characters. The epilogue of the Bad Series brings the characters right up to about now (2020 – the year which in future shall not be named). However, I am no way going to ever mention the C-word in any of my books. WHY? Because it doesn’t have a place. Not right now. Maybe not ever. The issues I chose to write about and have been detailing for ten years are, to me, much more prevalent, evergreen and pressing. Issues such as family, relationships, friendships, mental health, overcoming trauma, acceptance of one another and love.

If you want to discover what my post-natal brain conjured eight or nine years ago about the future (2023) then read my predictions in the Unity Series. If you’d like a window into what my highly sensitive nerve endings picked up on as being our future, Unity comes very close in a lot of (interpretational) ways. If there was a message in the Unity Series, it was to think for yourself. To not allow ourselves to be pushed apart. Broken, we can be divided; together, we’re unbreakable.

Fiction, as it turns out, is more important than ever. To me. To you. To the world. A safe space in which to translate and work through everything going on around us.

I know how lucky I am every day to be able to venture into my own private domain. To have the skill to be able to knit my concerns about the world within good stories. To have my safe space.

I recognise, now more than ever, there is pain out there which goes far beyond the virus and it is being squashed away because of this C-word thing going on and interrupting our lives.

Domestic abuse is up. Cancer patients are waiting. Many elderly are suffering because they simply cannot get out. They are missing that VITAL chance to be around the younger generation and feel connected to the world. People are telling themselves their suffering is small and therefore they aren’t going to the doctor with that ache or pain or lump they’d normally get checked out. And MONEY still isn’t being placed where it is needed most. And the WRONG sectors are benefiting from this crisis while the pre-existing and various struggles of millions are ongoing and far outweigh some people’s reluctance to don a mask.

And the very fine balance of people’s mental health is being tested like never before. Those of us who have never had a mental health issue – are wondering if it’s coming for us next. Because sometimes, some days, you just wake up and think, “What the fuck next…?”

For someone who processes events slowly, and then all at once, the next writings from me might be very interesting indeed.

Is 2020 a write-off?

I don’t know.

Personally, this year has taught me that I am there for a heck of a lot of people. And I will always be. But stepping back sometimes is something I have to do. Trying to save people is something I can’t accomplish. Even when I can see what they’re doing is causing damage only to themselves, I can’t step in. But maybe somebody reading one of my books might read it… and be moved to see things clearer than if someone in their lives had sat them down and told them.

For some, lockdown was their saviour. It was finally their chance to take stock. To catch up on sleep. No more boarding a flight every week. No more sardine-in-a-can train journeys. Time spent catching up with their partner and/or kids. Time to spruce up the house or driveway or back garden, or front – maybe all the above. Time to grow out your hair and/or nails. Time to breathe. Time to actually speak to your neighbour. A chance to buy local. A chance to sell local. A chance to be local.

If I’m anything to go by, let me tell you, one thing is for certain.

Post-2020, creativity is going to be UP!

Things are going to change, and it is going to hurt, but through the enormous amount of creativity that is coming – because nothing can come from nothing and who we are, the experiences we’ve had and the hearts we own are everything – we can be together.

Watch this space…

One of the secrets of UNBIND…

It’s been a busy week of writing, editing, networking and… I have gotten a few more reviews of Unbind! I’m quite proud that most readers seem to be coming back with the same thoughts – the sex is well-written but isn’t tantamount, yet adds a certain extra flavour! Even one lady told me her husband says, “Thank you.”

I am reluctant to talk about Unbind until enough people have read it (finding time for the old plugging is proving a nightmare right now with one issue or another!). Anyway, there is one dynamic of this book I’d like to talk about and it’s the day that changed the life of our hero in this novel, Cai Matthews. I drew from Ian McEwan with this one… the scene where Cecelia and Robbie “do it” and her little sister gets totally the wrong impression… you know the one, in Atonement. By the way, I love Ian McEwan but someone once told my love scenes were a bit more, well, you know…

In my bid to be contrary and write something I hoped would be totally original, I wrote the same pivotal scene in Unbind from three different POVs. The day Cai’s life changed forever can not only be viewed from his perspective, but also his mother’s, and the spying housekeeper’s. Each POV (deviating from the main narrative which is Chloe 1st person, past tense) is from the third person in past tense. I just wanted to twist words a little bit because you have to question what’s true sometimes. We’re so often given a headline or a news bulletin, you know, and we take it as truth. I had to stand from above this scene and look down on it from a bird’s-eye view, then tell you what people are seeing or more to the point, not seeing. Sometimes, there’s just that little piece of missing info that sheds a ton of light on the scenario. I think we read third person like we read first person, the only difference is in third person we have less of the emotion and we’re not driven by the protagonist as much, more by the narrator delivering that passage or chapter(s) as the action happens. You’ll have to read it to decide for yourselves… but I doubt you’ll think this is the cleverest trick I rolled out in this book!

Anyway, the title Unbind very much refers to the nature of the Catch-22 Cai finds himself in, and this is what he has to find his way out of, but you might not expect the way in which he does escape…! The whole Unbind-ing of his predicament isn’t simple, and so, moving into the planning of the next novel… we shall have a much more emotive delivery of Cai and how his world works. We will dive right into the mind of an artist… and one thing I am desperate not to do… is rely on soap-opera to move my writing along. Nope. I won’t include a car crash or anything like cheating or whatever… this is purely a character assassination (with sex) that will hopefully test me and my writing yet again, hopefully thrilling you in return! Ideas are already brimming my mind!

Check out Unbind if you’re looking for steamy romance with just that extra bit of intrigue and some characters that feel real to me, so I hope they do to you too! One elderly chap said, “This would sell without the erotic elements.” I think my week is complete. 🙂