So, what next?

by Marie Marshall

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… I hear you ask. What’s next after crashing into the world of teenagers and vampires? Well, you know me of old, how I proudly state what my current or next project is, and then you hear no more about it. The fact is that writing a teen-vampire novella at breakneck speed has knocked me back on my heels. It was such fun! I’m left wondering whether fun increases in indirect proportion to literary merit, but frankly I scarcely care. Last night as I lay awake I suddenly had the premise for a sequel. I wonder. Maybe not yet. Anyhow, finishing the first draft of a book does not mean the end of working on it. The novella is currently with a couple of readers who are proofing through it with a specific task in mind. Then it will go off to my publishers (who asked for it in the first place) to see if it will do. That’s when the really hard work starts, as it is scrutinised in minute detail by the in-house editor. That’s a process I have just been through with The Everywhen Angels – tedious, but necessary.

Which brings me on to the task(s) which will be engaging my attention next. Hopefully The Everywhen Angels will be out before Christmas. There will be the job of bringing it to the public’s attention. A similar job will be needed for The Phoenix Rising from its Ashes – that’s the major, new anthology of 21c sonnets, of which I am Deputy Editor. Also on the desk is completing a macabre story for this year’s Winter Words literary festival; this task involves getting to grips with the dialect of the Shetland Isles, a very specific branch of Scots, in which a major character speaks throughout, and which pervades the story.

I think that takes us up to Hogmanay. So what then. Well, I still have another novel on the desk, one for which I have done a lot of research but which is proving difficult to write convincingly. The main problem with it is that I have decided to use the third person (as an ‘omniscient’ narrator) rather than the first, and this is a major departure for me as regards longer fiction. My usual mode is first person, because I like to get under the skin of my protagonist and draw the readership close to her/him. Writing in the third and yet being able to carry readers with me is no easy option, but I won’t let it defeat me. I’ll get there some time. However, competing with that novel-in-progress, are other ideas. Will the sequel to my teen-vampire novel seduce me? Will I write a totally different novel, the seed of which is in my mind, about a cynical wizard-detective? Or will I go off at a tangent to all of these? Already I’m considering proposing a collaboration with an artist on a project to produce a graphic novel – such a tempting idea for me, but maybe not for the artist. So who knows. I’ll make you no promises, and meanwhile you can be sure my mind is bubbling.