What I’m Doing When I’m Not Here

I always promised myself I’d never write a “Sorry I haven’t posted in a while…” post.

So this isn’t one of those posts. I’m not apologising, nor am I labouring under the illusion that hordes of you were out there waiting for my latest post. I’m just trying to get back into a regular rhythm, without too much fuss.

I’ve been writing a lot – just not on here. I’m hard at work on the third novel, which I’m alternating between being excited about and depressed by, a sure sign that I’m getting close to finishing. It’s a semi-historical, semi-contemporary novel, with one thread involving my real-life great great grandfather and another involving a present-day man who is most certainly not me. More to come on that.

I’ve also been doing lots of other writing – freelance journalism, book reviews and the like. The freelance journalism is paying the bills for my life here in Crete, while the book reviews pay anywhere from $50 to “thanks very much”, but are fun to write.

My latest one was for Shiny New Books, the new(ish) web magazine published by four book bloggers I very much admire. Check it out if you haven’t already – it’s a great place to discover new books to add to your reading pile. The reviews are generally in-depth enough to give you insight into the book, but not so long or detailed as to make your eyes glaze over. If you’ve read the blogs of its creators—Tales from the Reading Room, Annabel’s House of Books, Harriet Devine’s Blog, and Stuck in a Book—then you’ll know what to expect.

stillman-199x300My contribution to Issue 2 was a review of Tom McCulloch’s debut novel The Stillman, published by Sandstone Press, a small publisher in the Scottish Highlands. The novel tells the sad story of a 50-year-old stillman at a whisky distillery who has closer relationships with the machines he monitors than with the people around him. He keeps the various elements of his life carefully separated, until someone starts emailing him his dead mother’s old journal entries, and everything comes crashing together.

Worth a read, I think. The book, I mean, not my review. But if you want to read the review, here it is.

12 thoughts on “What I’m Doing When I’m Not Here

  1. Great review Andrew, and thanks for introducing me to Shiny New Books. Good luck with the novel – I’m also doing a lot of writing at the moment so my blog has suffered, but it’s all in a good cause!

    1. Hi Dina

      Good to hear from you 🙂 I’ve hardly blogged all year, so it’s good to know that you’re still reading. You’re right, it’s a good cause! But it would be nice to keep a better balance.

      Hey, I just checked your site and your blog doesn’t seem to be suffering at all! Lots of good posts on there. Will start getting caught up.

  2. Looking forward to your next novel.

    “involving a present-day man who is most certainly not me”

    I guess that when one writes about a character with a few similarities to oneself lots of folks start thinking autobiographical ?

    Shiny New Books looks to be really neat!

    1. Hi Brian
      Yes, I was trying to avoid the autobiographical assumption! Actually the character doesn’t have too much in common with me, but we do share the same ancestor, so that makes some people think he’s me in disguise. Also the novel involves family, so wanted to make it clear that it’s not my real family! Yeah, SNB is a great magazine – hope you find some stuff on there you like.

  3. Your review is most definitely worth a read! It’s wonderful to have you as part of our team – here’s to issue 3! (she says rather weakly at the moment…)

  4. Hi Andrew,

    It’s good to hear from you. I’m happy your third novel is well on the way despite the time eaten by freelancing.

    Emma

    1. Thanks Emma! It’s good to hear from you too. It’s always hard to get the balance right, I find, but I’m doing OK. One thing I’ve struggled to fit in is reading other people’s blogs – I’ve barely had time to keep writing my own! But I’ve missed reading your billets, so will head over and see what you’ve been up to 🙂

  5. Nice to see you back blogging, Andrew! So wonderful to know that you are working on your third novel now! I can’t wait for it to come out. After reading ‘A Virtual Love’ I was hoping that the grandfather character would get a novel of his own. Now I am very excited to know that in your new novel there would be a grandfather character (maybe a new one, but still). So wonderful to know that he is inspired by your great great grandfather.

    1. Thanks Vishy, you too! Maybe the grandfather character will get a novel of his own one day, but I’m afraid this one isn’t it – they’re quite different. Good to know I have a vote for the return of Arthur, though 🙂

    1. Thanks Delia! Maybe he’ll get his own book one day, but not for a while – I’m always keen to write new things once I’ve finished the old. I’ll give more updates about the third novel as it goes on, but for now it’s going nicely. Am spending a couple of days at a beach town right now, sitting in a hotel and writing on the balcony. Getting lots done 🙂

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