Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Can writing be an addiction?

For years I dreamed of writing a novel, even more so after my English teacher back in school gave me my only ever A* report for a short story I had written.

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.

Have faith.

Revenge in Thailand - Out now in paperback and as an eBook.

Travel Mystery Novel now in eBook and Paperback

2015 has seen some amazing achievements for me, but none more so than finally finishing my first full novel. That's right, when I'm not designing crochet patterns I absolutely love to write stories, something I have enjoyed since I was a child.

But like anyone who knows, writing and actually completing a novel is no mean feat and I have to say without the wonderful team at NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) I don't think I would have ever completed my first full novel that has been fluttering around my head for the last ten years.

I am delighted to announce that my novel Revenge in Thailand is now available to buy as an eBook, and now available to buy as a paperback, via Amazon! And if you would like to know more about my novel then please do read on as I share Chapter 1 below.

So how did the story come about. Well, over the last ten to fifteen years I have traveled a lot, mainly to the Far East, but it was my first trip to Thailand that really stayed with me. 

Even in times of stress I took my mind back to the time I spent in the Thai Jungle, listening to the sounds of the Cicadas in the jungle and relaxing by the gas lamps on the River Kwai. It really was a world away from anywhere I had visited before at that time and I hope through Revenge in Thailand you too can take yourself away and allow your senses to imagine a little of the exotic Far East - of course whilst also enjoying a fast-paced thriller with a little hint of romance.

Revenge in Thailand by Laura Eccleston

Chapter 1

     I had hot poo.
     This of course wasn’t a medical diagnosis. This was what my best friend Kathy and I had termed for what we felt in our stomachs whenever our nerves got the better of us, although I had no reason to feel that way this morning, I just did.
     It was a typical Tuesday. I’d whacked my phone with its incessant alarm onto the floor and then frantically grabbed it again as I remembered to check for any text messages from my loser of a boyfriend Paul, but as usual there were none. I had then dragged myself into the shower, where I now stood motionless watching the water pour over my head trying to imagine I was under a waterfall somewhere tropical, wishing it was Friday.
     I was of course debating, as I did every morning, whether to throw a sickie, checking the clock in the bathroom every few seconds to see how long I had before reaching the train in time for my horrendous commute to work. I really didn’t feel like going in today as I was still dwelling over the gossip I had heard from work yesterday – the rumour that Paul had been chatting up some other girl in a club over the weekend that quite clearly wasn’t me.
     ‘Maybe they were confusing him with someone else,’ I tried to convince myself, ‘maybe they were just jealous because he was so cute,’ I thought, but I knew deep down it was true. I was just one girl of many and my idea of being his girlfriend was only based on the fact that I saw him more than the other girls did. Kathy always asked why I put up with him, but I was only asking myself the same question. I just didn’t want to admit that I was scared of losing him, even though I hated the way he treated me. I guess I was just lonely and probably delusional, but he had been the only man to show any interest in me in God knows how long – not that I went out, no, I hid away in my own little world, much to the annoyance of Kathy. She would often say ‘you’re turning into your father’ and that idea scared me more than my low self-worth.
     I flicked the shower off, faced the cold that was my London flat and got dressed. I was already late, but I still felt compelled to attempt the tube ride in for reasons I wasn’t quite sure.
     ‘The money?’ I wondered, ‘habit? Or just misplaced loyalty?’ I didn’t know and even though my heart was still planning to stay at home, my feet continued out the door much to my frustration.
     I paused in the communal stairwell as the ‘hot poo’ swelled up inside my guts again.
     ‘What was up with me this morning,’ I wondered nervously, probably compounding the feeling.
     A breeze whisked up the autumn leaves in the doorway and I noticed how the city seemed quieter than usual, with no sirens or people shouting. Even the birds had disappeared. It was as if the Universe knew something I didn’t.
     Sighing, I decided to delay leaving by checking my post box at last. My fear of receiving bills meant the junk mail was poking out of the slit and it was becoming an embarrassment, but something caught my attention. Amongst all the warning letters from British Gas and boring council forms was a small red envelope covered in unusual franking marks and foreign stamps.
     ‘Who the hell is this from,’ I mused, turning it over a few times, convincing myself it was in the wrong box. I tried to think of who I knew from abroad, as my name Emily Lapping was clearly marked on the front, but I didn’t know anyone in my local area let alone anyone from where the stamp suggested, Thailand.
     Realising I had now probably missed my train, and not wishing to face the wrath of my evil boss for being late, I bravely went back into my flat and stuck the kettle on.
     ‘Stuff work,’ I thought, placing the tiny envelope down on the table. ‘With this stomach I’m probably ill anyway.’
     Staring out of the window over the familiar rooftops and grey sky, I watched as the city finally began to wake and a memory flickered in my mind as I planned my sick day excuse, which I didn’t want to acknowledge, but the foreign stamp was glaringly obvious.
     Mum had died in Thailand.
     I could feel the familiar lump reaching my throat as I sat down and with my stomach churning I shakily sipped my hot mug of instant Cuban coffee.
     ‘Had someone known my mother?’ I thought, ‘was this letter about my mother? But why now? Why write to me?’
     I stared at the innocuous letter now propped up in front of me. I hadn’t thought about the past for a long time, not wishing to re-live that moment when my father had told me my mother wasn’t coming home any more. My life as I knew it had ended and not just for me but for my father too. No-one had discovered how or why she had died, just that she had never come back from a rafting trip up in the mountains of rural Thailand. My father had changed from being a sociable, highly respected professor of foreign culture at the University of Westminster to an unemployed recluse who now hid away in his study, and I had been sent away to boarding school. I was seven then and to me it had felt like I had lost two parents, not one.
     The landline brought me out of my thoughts and I realised I hadn’t called in sick before nine.
     “Shit,” I said out loud, my stomach somersaulting once again.
     “Where are you?” my boss bellowed down at me before I could even fake a croaky voice. I listened as she rambled on about how vital it was I should be in, and how she had an important meeting she needed me in for, ‘but who was it really important for?’ I thought, touching the letter. I tuned out the angry voice and thought of my mother. ‘She wouldn’t have put up with this,’ I smiled, and before my boss had even finished talking I whispered, “I quit,” and hung up. Dazed, I went back to sipping my coffee. ‘What had I done?’ I thought, wondering what my boss’s expression had looked like with someone hanging up on her for a change. Anxiously giggling I could feel the hot poo easing, and putting down my mug I finally opened the letter.

Revenge in Thailand (An Emily Lapping Travel Mystery Book 1) Kindle Edition available now!

US - Download Here
UK - Download Here
Also available in the EU.