So, while my last novel does the rounds in search of a home, it’s high time that I cracked on with the next one, and yesterday I did just that. So that I can talk about it without giving the plot away (the working title is one that would have some significance to those of you steeped in horror lore), I’ll refer to it as TYK for now, if that’s okay with you.
I’ve been torn for the last month or so about what book comes next, to be honest. I had two which had been lying in the back of my mind for long enough to be on the cusp of maturing, but no idea which way to go with to dive into. Different books appealed to me in different ways on different days. Both draw heavily on things I know a lot about, and environments I’ve been deeply immersed in at different times in my life, and every time I settled on one idea, the other would whimper and demand attention.
In the end, my four year old daughter Eva made the decision for me. Part of the problem with TYK has always been the location – in particular, the location that gives a focus to the last third of the novel. I had no idea where it was going to be, and that was preventing me from getting on with it. Well, Eva fixed that for me, happily. Last weekend I took her to Kelvingrove Park in the west end of Glasgow. After much to-do in a wooden fort, and some jubilant chasing of pigeons, we wandered past the corpse of the Kelvingrove bandstand.
It’s been falling to pieces since the early nineties, as far as I can tell, and it’s a little bit odd in design for a bandstand, thanks to the ampitheatre in which it sits. Anyway, Eva dragged me in, and we sat talking about the naughty boys who had written on it, and how all the signs said evocative things like ‘Dangerous Building! Keep Out!’
You would think that my subconscious would require little more prodding, but I was having an amiably switched off sort of a day. We got up to go, after Eva had recreated better days for the bandstand by insisting on doing a freestyle dance for a bemused looking squirrel perched on one of the benches. “Did naughty boys break it Daddy,” she asks, holding my hand.
“They certainly did, darling,” I replied. I don’t know this for certain, of course, but when in doubt, naughty boys are a good bet.
“I like it. It’s spooooooky.”
Finally, finally, the penny dropped, and a big, idiot grin cracked my face in half. Eva got many hugs and treats, after that genius observation. From the mouths of babes, and all that.
So, TYK it is. It’s set in Glasgow, and is about theatre, sort of. It’s clear horror, and hopefully, in Eva’s words, a spooky ride with a blistering finish. Yesterday, I started the prologue, and in TYK, another manuscript was finished by a writer with bleeding fingers, who is on his way to deliver it to his pale master even as we speak…