Wednesday 15 August 2012

The Journey of a Book

I can rarely pinpoint a single source for the idea that kicks off a book, so I don't know how I decided that I wanted to write a book about mind reading, which eventually turned into Out of Sight, Out of Mind. It wasn't the nuts and bolts of  thought transference that interested me, but the emotional life of the characters, coping with a 'gift' that set them apart and might equally be considered to be a curse. Even more, I wanted to look at how they would react to meeting the person who might be their soul mate, when they were afraid to reach out, because of past hurts. Also they both have secrets to keep. My hero, Jay, has an added complication as he has no memory, but suspects that there is something very nasty lurking in the parts of his mind that he can no longer reach.

The first drafts of the book were written over five years ago. At that time expert opinion suggested that there was no market for any kind of paranormal fiction in Britain, and that if I wrote it, I would never be able to sell it. When you write part time, around the day job, writing time is precious, and if you hope one day to be a published author you can't waste that precious resource on a book that no-one will want, however much you love it. Because of this, I did something that I rarely do, which is write out of order. I wrote the scenes that were clamouring to be written, got them out of my system, then put them away, with regret, in the infamous bottom drawer, where all half finished manuscripts lurk.

I don't know how long they were there. I went on to other things. I never forgot them, but I couldn't use them. Then I picked up a copy of Romantic Times magazine, and saw the call for entries in the American Title contest - paranormal entries. Was mind reading paranormal enough? The dictionary suggested that the paranormal is something outside the scope of regular science. Right - that was good enough. I got out all the bits of the book, sorted them into piles on the floor, and re-read them. I still liked what I had, so then it was a matter of linking, redrafting, pulling the whole thing together ...

Jay and Madison developed and grew  in the time I worked on the book, and showed me complex bits of their characters that I'd not previously seen. It was  wonderful to have an excuse to write an idea that had never really left me. And the result was Out of Sight, Out of Mind.  

And of course, now Britain reads paranormal, along with the rest of the world.


  1. I'm so pleased that the book that was clamouring to be written will soon be there for everyone to read rather than languishing in the bottom drawer. And congratulations for doing something you were told couldn't be done - it just goes to show that you should always listen to your true feelings.

  2. Thanks Chris. This was a classic vindication of the hoarding instinct. 'Never throw anything away, you might find a use for it.' Like odd buttons and bits of string :)