There’s a good reason many pop and rock bands suffer what is known as "second album syndrome". That first album has been the work of 20 years. All those songs and experiences trimmed down to make the album they had always dreamed of making. But then the record company wants a second album and the band only has a few months’ material to draw upon. It can be tough and many have fallen at that hurdle.
It can be the same way with books. I am sure I am not alone in working on my first novel for many years. Death’s Disciple germinated, got started, got put aside, and re-started many times in the years before its eventual publication by Endeavour Press. By the time it was finished it had gone through more changes than Beyonce’s concert wardrobe.
When I began to write The Eve of Murder (now available from Amazon) I thought about all those failed second albums. All those hopes trampled by the feet of frustration. All that lost momentum. But only for a moment. Because if you really want to write, then you have to learn to lock those fears away and put all that nervous energy into your plot. And if you really want to write, you can’t help but write.
I also realised that my first ambition – to write a classic detective story set in a contemporary time – was just that: my first ambition. I have many more that I have yet to fulfil. This time I wanted to write a more modern book, focus more on motivation and the dark places people can find themselves. I also wanted to have some fun with my characters and see how they would react to my new plan.
The Eve of Murder sees my detective return for his second case. Not only does Detective Inspector Frank Miller have to contend with the discovery of a body, but the town is about to host a major literary festival and Miller’s sergeant is seconded in to babysit the famous keynote speaker. Then the reclusive writer begins to receive death threats.
Once again, the town of Whitby plays a major role in the novel. The tension between its old-world charm and its need to become a modern and successful town makes an ideal foundation on which to build a murder mystery.
I soon got taken up with the plot and completely forgot about second album syndrome. When I finished the book I realised that for me, being a writer isn’t anything like being in a rock band. As anyone who has ever heard me sing would confirm.