Thursday, May 04, 2006

How old?

Trace got tagged with this meme, and then didn't tag anyone else, which meant I just had to pick it up. If she had tagged a bunch of other people, I could have ignored it.

20 Years ago

I was eighteen. It was almost a year since I'd left school, three months since I'd failed to improve my maths A-level grade at a sixth form college in Cambridge. I was travelling through Japan, discovering the delights of third class on a passenger ferry through the Inland Sea from Osaka to Hiroshima. Accommodation consisted of a narrow tatami mat in the middle of a huge cargo hold, the floor of which was lined with several hundred other tatami mats, each home for the night for a third class Japanese citizen. These people are not embarrassed by bodily emissions. I spent most of the journey outside, staring at the stars.

10 Years ago

I was living in Roslin, about four hundred yards from the chapel. The Horse Student was one year into becoming the Horse Doctor and I was hard at work on my first novel, Running Away. For the fourth year in a row I was preparing to spend six weeks at my parents home, working on the event organisation and course building for the Scottish National Carriage Driving Event at St Fort in Fife. It seemed like a fortune at the time, but actually the pay sucked. I kept on going back each year until we moved to Wales in 2000.

5 Years ago

I was working at the Disease Control Centre in Llanishen on the outskirts of Cardiff, helping with the effort to eradicate the outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease. Vets, Agricultural consultants and assorted other hangers-on congregated in large numbers to staff the emergency task force, and we were all put up in cheap business hotels on the outskirts of town. It felt weirdly like being a fresher at University all over again. Only without the sex.

Having failed to find an agent or publisher for my first two novels, I was busy rewriting my third, Head, based around a conspiracy theory about the Knights Templar, Roslin Chapel and the truth behind the myths of Christianity. It could have been a bestseller...

1 Year ago

I had just been to the launch of Stuart MacBride's first novel, and met with several nice people from Harper Collins. Buoyed up by them, and by helpful critique from Mr Stuart's agent, Phil (who isn't as short as everyone makes out), I submitted the first book of my fantasy series The Ballad of Sir Benfro to an agent I had approached with my first novel ten years earlier.

The house building project, which had been on and off for the best part of a year, finally died when the farmer who was selling me the plot suddenly asked for another £25k, spinning some yarn about being offered twice as much by another party. Since the plot is still for sale today, I suspect he was just greedy and thought I'd cough up, having gone to the trouble and expense of getting plans and planning permission.

1 Month ago

Stuck in a bit of a rut, I was tinkering around with a few short stories, uncertain what to do with them. I was stalled on the planning for Benfro books three and four, partly because I was in no great hurry to write either of them. Toying with the idea of writing a crime fiction novel instead, but unsure about striking out in a completely new genre.


Did the last half day of paying work for the foreseeable future. This is good, because it means I can concentrate on dragons; bad because it means I'm going to be skint by the time Harrogate comes along in July.


I shall continue plotting book four of Sir Benfro, and try not to think too much about how a fifth book is looking ever more likely. Will these dragons ever leave me alone?

Like Trace, I'm not going to tag anyone with this. So you all have to do it. Ha ha ha ha!


Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

You're evil.

May 04, 2006 6:13 pm  
Blogger JamesO said...


May 04, 2006 6:45 pm  
Blogger Sandra Ruttan said...

You're foisting this on everyone!

May 05, 2006 6:45 pm  

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