Monday, 26 January 2015

Disorder and Reorder

This image (from The Belfast Telegraph website) hints at the subject of DISORDER

I'm still a little discombobulated following the completion of my novel, DISORDER. Now, I say completion, but there will be more work, no doubt. Even if my PhD supervisors, by some great miracle, consider it a work of genius, they'll have suggestions for improvement, as will the small band of beta readers who have received the manuscript over the weekend. That's the thing with books. You'll find something to tinker with right up until the day it's published, and sometimes after that.

But back to the discombobulation (I'm getting my mileage out of that word -- yeah spellcheck, it's real). I happen to be a good chunk into another manuscript already and have ideas for another book that I'd like to start and finish this year. There are other projects in the works as well, but since the best way to hear God laugh is to announce your plans (hat-tip to Sam Hawken for that little pearl of wisdom) I'll not go into any detail about what they might be or how quickly I need/want to complete them.

So what's the point of this post? I don't know, really. Maybe I just want to mark the occasion of having completed another novel. Could be I'm procrastinating because today is the day that I plan to get neck-deep in my other novel-in-progress. Most likely I just want a reader or two to give me a virtual pat on the head and say, "Well done, Gerard."

In other news, my reading pile is diminishing at a quicker rate than it did in 2014. That was an example of God laughing at my plans, I think. I'd set myself the task of reading 100 books in that year. I stopped counting about five months in because I was running way behind schedule, but I'm sure I didn't make it to 100. Probaly closer to 50, truth be told. I did start reading faster after I stopped counting, though. A revelation that probably means something. I should note a few stand-outs that I never got around to reviewing. Just the NI ones for now:

Blue is the Night by Eoin McNamee

The FANTASTIC conclusion to McNamee's 'Blue' trilogy. I'm not sure what McNamee has planned next, but I feel like I could go back to the start of the 'Blue' trilogy and read it again before his next work of genius comes out anyway. There was a distinct closing of the circle at the denouement of this novel that drew my mind back to the The Blue Tango and Orchid Blue. I just wonder if I'll get around to that reread before the next McNamee becomes available to me.

The Final Silence by Stuart Neville

The Final Silence is the fourth of what has been dubbed the 'Belfast' series. I read this one during a busy time (hence the lack of review), and blazed through it. Neville publicly 'fessed up to a long bout of writer's block a little after the release of this novel. It was The Final Silence that bore the brunt of his dry patch. I'll not make light of the difficulties he experienced (which Neville outlines in this very honest blog post), but what I will say is that The Final Silence eventually became an excellent novel. A fine example of how to write a thriller. In fact, it's my favourite of his works now, a spot previously occupied by Collusion (which Neville also had trouble completing, if I remember right). The Final Silence very recently picked up an Edgar nomination. It seems I'm not alone in realising that this is a particularly strong book.

The Blame by Michael Nolan

Nolan does not see himself as a crime writer, and neither do I. However, due to the subject of The Blame (the aftermath of a bad batch of Ecstasy tablets), the work cannot help but touch on criminal activity in Northern Ireland. But this novella is not about the crime. It's about the protagonist trying to figure out if he is to blame for the death of a friend. And it's not just himself he has to convince. The question still remains unanswered for many in his circle of family and friends and those within his wider community. It's a fast and energetic read and a wonderful showcase for Nolan's developing writing talent. I hope to see a novel from him in the near future.

There may have been other NI novels that I failed to review, but they've yet to occur to me, and this post is getting too long as it is. In my next post, I'll simply list the books that inspired and facilitated the writing of DISORDER.

Currently reading The Dead Ground by Claire McGowan, by the way. I'd started it before the new year. Before I went to LA, in fact. The only reason I stopped after the first few chapters is because I didn't want to bring it on my journey to Bouchercon. It's a signed hardback, y'see. More on that one when I finish it.


seana graham said...

Well done, Gerard!

And thanks for the reading recs. I've read a lot of Mr. Neville, but I never seem to be quite caught up with him. And I must get on to Eoin McNamee as his name comes up all over the place.

Gerard Brennan said...

Thanks, Seana! :)

Yes, definitely try McNamee out. Adrian McKinty would urge you to as well, I suspect.

Realised I'd forgotten to go back and link to Stuart Neville's blog post about writer's block. That's fixed now.



seana graham said...

Thanks for the link. I noticed that and then forgot to mention it, and I would like to read it.

Gerard Brennan said...

No problem. It's a great insight.


seana graham said...

I liked the way he took it apart, distinguishing it from other existential states. And of course I like the happy ending, which now includes an Edgar nomination for the blocked book he mentions.