Completing and remembering last year
Review the list of all completed projects. The Elements of Love (short story), Isali Dreams (co-written novella), and Body of Water (novel).
What was your biggest triumph in 2011? Body of Water being at #1 in Amazon UK’s gay fiction chart.
What was the smartest decision you made in 2011? To self-publish Body of Water. I think waiting months for it to be published by a traditional press would have been torture.
What one word best sums up and describes your 2011 experience? Rollercoaster.
What was the greatest lesson you learned in 2011? Agree financial terms up front. I spent days writing a screenplay only to find out that there was no funding available to pay me. I was not a happy bunny.
What was the most loving service you performed in 2011? Giving my best friend blood-thinning injections during a trip to New York. She was petrified and I didn’t think it would make much sense to let on I was equally petrified. I felt sick to my stomach at the prospect of either hurting her or making her bleed.
What is your biggest piece of unfinished business in 2011? Memory of Water. I worked like a dog to finish it over the Christmas break and was gutted when I realised it wasn’t quite ready.
What are you most happy about completing in 2011? Without a doubt, Body of Water, my first ever novel. I wrote the first draft way back in 2009 and left it untouched until January 2011. Seven and a half months later there it was, finished.
Who were the three people that had the greatest impact on your life in 2011? Penelope Fletcher, for being an inspiration. Kate Tenbeth, for being the voice of reason when I was too confused or upset to think straight. My sister, Lisa, for loving me no matter what.
What was the biggest risk you took in 2011? Putting my work out there for others to see. Up until that point I had shared little, if anything, of my own work.
What was the biggest surprise in 2011? That most people liked what I wrote. Sure, there are a few people who aren’t so keen, but I don’t like everything that I read so it’s only to be expected. I’ve had some lovely emails from readers and I both reply to, and keep, every single one.
What important relationship improved the most in 2011? I reconnected with my best friend, particularly after a heart-to-heart in a New York taxi. I’m investing more time in my relationship with both her and her beautiful family. My goddaughter wants to talk about boyfriends this week. She’s eight so I’m under strict instructions to keep it U rated.
What compliment would you like to have received in 2011? I’m proud of you.
What compliment would you like to have given in 2011? You wrote the book I wish I’d written.
What else do you need to do or say to be complete with 2011? I think I’m pretty much done with 2011. From a personal perspective it was my annus horribilis, but professionally it was a year of great achievement.
Creating the new year
What would you like to be your biggest triumph in 2012? To complete The Orcadian Novels, the trilogy started in Body of Water.
What advice would you like to give yourself in 2012? Have fun writing. It’s work, but don’t ever let it feel like work. You write because you love to write. Keep loving it.
What is the major effort you are planning to improve your financial results in 2012? I want to keep honing my craft. My books will get better for that. If they get better then they’ll sell more copies and I’ll make more in royalties.
What would you be most happy about completing in 2012? Spirit of Water, the third book in The Orcadian Novels trilogy. It will bring an important phase of my professional life to a close and open me up to new possibilities.
What major indulgence are you willing to experience in 2012? I’m going to spend more time getting to know myself. Last year proved that the person other people perceive and who I perceive myself to be are disconnected. I’m going to spend a year just being me so I’m not going to get involved in anything other than my writing life.
What would you most like to change about yourself in 2012? I have a tendency to get caught up in the moment and agree to things I later regret. I’m going to take time making decisions about opportunities and weigh them up against the time that could be better spent writing.
What are you looking forward to learning in 2012? I think I’d like to learn to write a longer book, over 60k. I currently say a lot with very few words. I can build a world in one paragraph!
What do you think your biggest risk will be in 2012? After 2011, I’m not taking any risks. I’ll be retreating for most of 2012 and getting to know myself on paper. Maybe that’s my biggest risk, finding out who I really am?
What about your work are you most committed to changing and improving in 2012? I’d like to identify any bad writing habits I’ve developed and find ways to overcome them.
What is one as yet undeveloped talent you are willing to explore in 2012? I’d like to improve my editing skills when it comes to producing my book trailers. I really enjoy creating them but I’d like to develop further in that area.
What brings you the most joy and how are you going to do or have more of that in 2012? I love to hear from readers so I’ll be asking for feedback in a variety of ways. Many have connected with me on facebook and I’m hoping that will continue.
Who or what, other than yourself, are you most committed to loving and serving in 2012? My craft. I want to produce deep, layered work that people can enjoy in conjunction with the fast-paced action that I love.
What one word would you like to have as your theme in 2012? Discovery.