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November 2020: Some good news, plus the secret to creativity…

Good news! (I thought I’d start with a cheery note).

I’ve found a publisher for the fourth Dan Forrester novel! Scare Me to Death was copy-edited earlier in the month and I’m just waiting for the proof edit. Publishing date 9th April. Exciting!

This particular book sees Lucy and Dan piecing together the fragments of a brutal and complicated case from Morocco to Macclesfield. While Dan is fixed on solving an air-disaster – a passenger airline exploded, just thirteen people survived – Lucy tries to prove an old schoolfriend innocent of murder. Both events are inextricably linked…

Like the other Dan Forrester/Lucy Davies books, there’s a lot more going on than they first realise, pushing them both to their limits personally as well as professionally. I do like to put them through a bit of a wringer because that’s how in-depth character is created…

So, here we are, in the middle of another lockdown. This time I’m very grateful that I can meet one other person from another household to go walking with, so I don’t feel quite as deprived as last time.

This has meant that my creative flow hasn’t been disrupted quite as much, and my new manuscript has been toddling along nicely. My agent read the first 5,000 words and loved it (phew). She now has 20,000 words and I’m waiting to see if she still loves it now the story is unfolding. Fingers crossed.

Being able to get out and about means that my creative flow hasn’t been disrupted quite so much. (Image: CJ Carver)

When I’m writing the first draft, I do a lot of beditating. I don’t think I’ve mentioned beditation before, so here goes. It’s when I first awake in the morning, when I haven’t yet moved and am still curled up in bed, eyes closed, listening to the birds outside my window. In this somnambulant state I allow my mind to drift. This is when I have some of my best ideas.

It’s best to beditate before you start the day’s to-do list and when your mind is quiet. Mind wandering is apparently the secret to creativity, so as far as I’m concerned, I can stay in bed all day and legitimately say I’m working.

I may not have been overseas lately (who has?!) but I counted my blessings when I managed to get to Scotland in September to go salmon fishing. It was one of the hottest weeks on record up there and all fish had their sunglass on and were at the bottom of the river keeping cool. No fish caught, but sitting on the riverbank with an ice-cold beer was heaven.

Fishing on the Spey, no fish taking but lots of sunbathing instead. (Image: CJ Carver)

Ben Rinnes looking majestic in the distance. (Image: CJ Carver)

I’ve done a shed-load of reading, as I expect you have too. There are, sadly, a lot of not-very good books out there, but there have been some crackers too. Like The Death of the Fronsac by Neal Ascherson. The story starts when a French warship explodes in the Firth of Clyde (true) in 1940 and shows how that terrible – and still not fully explained – event stalked the lives of a group of men and women in the years ahead. A riveting portrait of wartime experience.

I don’t know whether it’s because of the pandemic, but I’ve been much more drawn to historical fiction and biographies than straight crime thrillers. I wonder if your reading habits have shifted too, and why. If you have a mo’, drop me a note on email, Facebook or Twitter as I’d love to know! 

Another cracker was Lucy Foley’s The Guest List, which I tore through. If you fancy a modern-day Agatha Christie set on a remote island on the west coast of Ireland, look no further. It’s a classic whodunnit as well as a taut psychological thriller.

Finally, comes Sapiens by Yuval Noah Harari. I read this in between lighter books over a few weeks and really enjoyed learning about humankind and how we got to where we are. Hugely thought-provoking, it was a surprisingly easy and digestible read. It’s not just a history book but covers humanities, religion and society. I found it fascinating.

What’s next? Christmas, I guess. It feels like a very weird world at the moment not knowing how it’s all going to pan out, but as long as I have my wood burning stove, a cup of tea and a good book, I feel I’ll be okay. I hope you will be okay too.

All the best,


© CJ Carver 2020