I'll never forget her asking if it would be okay for her to read it out to the first year students. I was of course delighted, if a little nervous, although saddened that I never received this supposed master piece back when I left.
Even so, like most things in life, writing a full blown novel ended up on the fantasy back burner. This was until I went to Thailand. I had never left Europe, but had been lucky enough to earn some extra pocket money through some freelance design work and decided, rather than paying off my debt, to go on a two week back packing trip around Northern Thailand like you do.
As soon as I set foot on foreign soil I felt like I was in a James Bond movie, and the endless movie set scenes inspired so many stories within me. Throughout my journey I kept a travel diary and it was this diary, upon my return to the UK, that inspired me to put together some notes for a novel set in Thailand.
Over the next few years I would occasionally write up some chapters. I was always clear on my story plan, but the chapters always kept changing. I made the fatal mistake of joining a writing group who ripped most of my work apart on a daily basis, so for years I got nowhere. I even began to hate my novel.
It wasn't until I discovered NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) where you are challenged to complete a novel of over 50,000 words within a single month, November, that it all finally came together. Ten years since my trip to Thailand I thought, right. Now is the time to finish this story. I stayed away from writing groups. I even stayed out of the NaNoWriMo forums for fear of ridicule and I wrote. I wrote the story that had been in me ever since I first step foot in that Thai jungle, and the words flowed.
To be fair I felt a little bit like a cheat as I had a few chapters to start off with, but by the middle of the month I had written more than I had within the last ten years. The story was finally coming together. The characters were finally coming alive and my novel Revenge in Thailand had finally been written.
I couldn't believe how easy it had been. Simply focusing on the story and the characters, as if watching a movie happening in my mind, I had finally gotten the story out, but then it was over. Yes, I had the arduous task of editing it all and getting it ready for publication, but I missed the story. I missed the adventure and I missed my characters. It was like that feeling of when you have been watching a really good movie and then the end credits finally come up. I felt sad.
So along came book two, Murder in Tokyo, and here I am again, avoiding real-life and living in my inner movie and I am loving it. It is like an addiction. A free movie that continues every day and I don't want it to end, and it's all happening so much quicker than before.
I am a strong believer in that everyone has a story within them and if you have one yourself don't give up on your novel. One day it will breathe it;s own life and be born. Just find some quiet time, take the NaNoWriMo challenge if you really dare and stay away from other authors, and maybe you too will finally finish that novel you have always been dreaming about.
Revenge in Thailand - Out now in paperback and as an eBook.