For more than twenty years. I started when I was twelve, stopped eight years later to enter the medical field, and started seriously writing again six years ago. I had always planned to write again after retiring from medicine but brought that goal forward by a few decades.
I juggle two big balls on a daily basis, pun unintended! Work and writing. Most of my family are abroad and my friends are scattered all over the UK, so I get to see them less often than I would like to. As for writing and work, it’s a fine balance. Long day shifts and night shifts are exhausting, and I tend not to manage more than a bit of social media on those days. If I do a ‘normal’ work day (9-6), then I’ll manage 2-3 hours of writing as well. It takes a hell of a lot of dedication and determination. Once I published though, the discipline was established. I have deadlines to work to and I relish the challenge.
Soul Meaning was initially a short story that I wrote for the British Fantasy Society Short Story Competition. It was inspired by the striking image of the number 17 written in dripping red paint on a black rock on a sandbank in the middle of a lagoon on the island of Mauritius. After considering several ideas around that number, I finally thought about deaths. More specifically 17 deaths. Thus started the story of Lucas Soul, the man who could die up to seventeen times. I knew it could be a novel even before I finished writing the short story; Lucas Soul and his business partner Reid Hasley lived and breathed naturally for me on those first pages. I WANTED to know what would happen to them next.
The first book I wrote when I was twelve was a children’s fantasy novel. It was a ‘Narnia’ meets ‘The Goonies’ kind of story. The next one was a boarding school action-adventure tale. The third book I started, but never finished because I entered medical school, was part of a supernatural YA series. The main reason I returned to writing again in 2006 was because I had an idea for another fantasy series, this one a light hearted, humorous adventure one. The three main characters walked into my head one day and just wouldn’t go away. So, you could say writing fantasy has always been in my blood. Soul Meaning was a complete change of pace and style for me. I have never written something like this before and never, ever thought I could write a thriller with fight scenes, guns, and swords. I ended up surprising myself. I defined the novel and the series as supernatural thriller as I felt it was the best description for the genre.
I guess the final answer to the question is because it satisfies my need for speed, kickassery, and the fantastical. As for romance, it’s definitely present but it takes a backseat to all the action. I like my protagonists to shoot first and kiss later.
A return to light hearted fantasy may be in the books in the future. The three characters that got me back to writing have been sulking in my head for the last three years, since I was forced to abandon them to pursue Lucas Soul and his story. They occasionally pipe up with acerbic comments, so I may have to do something about them before they sabotage future stories. My current plans are to finish the series Seventeen (I haven’t decided on the total number of books yet), then start on an epic, dark fantasy trilogy that has been marinating gently at the back of my mind for the last few years. I also have a tentative idea for a YA sci-fi/steampunk novel that may see the light of day at some stage in the future.
Time is running out for Soul. Can he get to the truth before his seventeenth death, protect the ones he loves and prevent another immortal war?