I haven’t even wished anyone a Happy New Year yet on this site, so consider wonderful tidings for a prosperous 2016 duly wished to you all, dear readers, devotees of my work and the mildly curious who happen to have chanced upon this blog post whilst searching for something utterly different altogether.
New Year, of course, for a writer whose life is defined by works published, is something of a non sequitur. January 1st, whilst I was aware of the groans from hangovers and bravely voiced resolutions, was not the beginning of a new chapter because of the date. I was actually working to a tight deadline until January 4th, so it was after then that I was able to celebrate the sending off of a hefty workload and had time to contemplate pastures new.
Pastures new, of course, being some serious contemplation about the direction of my follow-up novel to Roebuck.
I have been spending a lot of time in Wales recently. That’s partly because it’s the nearest expanse of sizeable wilderness to where my parents live in Somerset. But having spent over two weeks of the last month and a half up here, and looking out as I write these words onto the ruddy shoulder of the Brecon Beacons, sheep-dotted, with a line of bare trees fanning up to the first ridge visible from the cottage window (after which my view is cut, but my imagination charges on, excitement fueled, onto the next horizon and the next) I am realising more and more that this country is becoming very important to me.
I have started buying, for example, large amounts of books on Welsh history and culture, and making lists of far more obscure titles I have earmarked for reading in the British Library. I have started thinking, not just about sheep-dotted moors, but about castles and ruined abbeys and Snowdonia and Pembrokeshire beaches and Bara Brith in chilly, antiquated farmhouse kitchens and the glimmer of slate quarries in the drizzle. Welsh things. Something’s forming, but I don’t know quite what yet. But it could very well be my next book…