Sunday, May 24, 2009
Saturday, May 23, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
It's been interesting to say the least with some real highs and lows. I think the major challenge for me, especially in the first few months, was homesickness. For much of that time, for various reasons, I was here on my own and missing my wife and kids badly. However, 'every cloud has a silver lining' they say and rather than moping about, I got down to writing. One of my complaints when back in Scotland was that I never had the peace, quiet and time to write. Well, in Kuwait, I had an abundance of all three - although the lesson there is to be careful what you wish for!
Being completely 'dry' ie alcohol free (another challenge), there is a real coffee culture and most of the big chains have free Wi-Fi so I did spend a lot of time sitting in coffee shops and bashing away on the laptop. In terms of my fledgling writing career, I can safely say the last twleve months have been a big success with acceptance of Gun Law for publication and Gold Fever well on it's way with another four books roughly drafted out.
From a writers point of view, experiencing this extreme climate has been great material for future Westerns. When would a wee boy from Scotland been able to experience temperatures of over 50 degrees Celsius in the Summer, spectacular sand storms and the awsome remoteness of walking across real desert scrub land? It's all 'grist to the mill' as my old Dad likes to say!
It now looks as though this contract will be drawing to an end so we're getting ready to pack our bags, saddle up and move on out! Next stop might be Saudi Arabia, Kenya, India or.....Lanark! But wherever we end up, one things's for sure, I'll be busy on the next Western - look out for a plot involving camels, deserts and at least one sand storm!
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
Before I left my home in Lanark in Scotland last May to work in Kuwait, I belonged to a lovely group called the Lanark Writers. We met every Monday night to share our enthusiasm for writing and it was a great opportunity to review each others 'work in progress.' Sometimes, a guest speaker would be invited and one particular night, Tom Bryant, who was the current writer in residence at Brownsbank Cottage came along. He spoke about ways of getting our work into print; and one of those ways was writing for specific genres like Mills & Boon or Black Horse Westerns.
His words struck a chord that night (thanks Tom) and the next day I went to the local library and borrowed a handful of BHW's. I quickly read them over the next few days and once I had got a handle on the required style, I set to work re-writing a cowboy novel I had started and then abandoned (as usual) a long time ago. After a few weeks I had something I wasn't too ashamed to send off. Mr John Hale took pity on me and decided to publish the book, which I'm not afraid to admit, was a real thrill!
The point of me telling you this is that I know some aspiring writers may not want to be pigeon-holed into a specific genre or house style like BHW or Mills & Boon. For some, they may feel that these genres are somehow 'beneath' them (they're the ones who probably haven't finished a novel yet) but for a beginning writer like me, it's been a great experience. It proved that after starting and abandoning at least half a dozen other books, I could apply myself and finish a full length work. It made me get organised in terms of planning plot, structure and characters and researching historical facts (more of all that in later posts) and last but not least, it's given me a massive boost of confidence -so much so I'm now working on my second novel (working title, Gold Fever) and the ideas for more are piling up quicker than I can write them. Plus the fact, I'm now part of a great community of fellow Western writers (again, more on that in later blogs!)
Bottom line, anyone who feels that they have a book in them, they could do a whole lot worse than cut their teeth on a Black Horse Western! So get going and WRITE THAT NOVEL!