“What are you writing next?”

I recently updated my author interview on Smashwords and one of the questions What are you writing next? made me review my future aims.

I am currently working on a short memoir about the catastrophic series of medical events that affected my family in 2015. There were two reasons for starting this project. First, I hoped that writing about what happened would help me come to terms with it better; as I discussed in an earlier post there is evidence that writing about illness and trauma can be therapeutic. Second, other people who are faced with the challenges  of cardiac surgery, bereavement, and stress-related symptoms in themselves or their families might benefit from reading about what helped me to cope, or otherwise.

Writing this memoir is proving quite hard going. Perhaps I have reached the point of  wanting to move forward in life rather than keep dwelling on what happened. I am also wary of conveying the negative and self-pitying attitudes which can so easily mar this kind of book. I look forward to writing something lighter, though my only recent effort has consisted of some sentimental poetry about cats.

What I would ideally like to write next is a really substantial novel. I have already self-published six short ones, and I think that like the vast majority of the thousands of new books coming out every day they are good enough to provide readers with a few hours of entertainment, but will prove to be ephemeral.

Nobody knows which, if any, modern novels will become classics but it is my personal experience that only the occasional book creates a lasting impression. For example, one that I have just finished reading is A Dictionary of Mutual Understanding by Jackie Copleton, a drama set in wartime Japan. I am never going to write a book of comparable quality, and the ambition of producing my own “magnum opus” seems likely to remain unfulfilled in this lifetime, but I do hope to be inspired towards something new. Meanwhile Blue Moon for Bombers, the middle volume of my Three Novellas trilogy, is free from Smashwords till the end of this month. To download a copy click here.

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