Blimey. A miniature Hinks has arrived. My world suddenly revolves around a tiny, fractious, humanoid shrimp. Any thoughts of writing have gone out of the window as I spend my (completely nocturnal) existence fawning over his pouting little face and dodging his bodily fluids. We’ve named him Arthur and he’s taken on the mantle of kingship quite happily – issuing royal decrees with a haughty expression and a tiny clenched fist. A friend of mine said parenthood felt like being taken apart, atom by atom, then reassembled as something completely new. I’m only a week in, but I can already see what he means. I feel a bit like Darius v.2.
I’ve haggled with my editor, the infamous Nick Kyme, for a writing break while I focus on cooing, but in a few weeks, Arthur-willing, I’ll crack on with the second Orion novel, The Tears of Isha. The first part of the trilogy is only just going to print and won’t hit the shops for a few months yet, so I’m starting book two without any idea what people thought of the first one. That feels a bit odd but it’s probably for the best as reviews – good or bad – tend to throw me right off track. I’ve dedicated The Vaults of Winter to the boy Hinks, so it should be guaranteed at least one good review – even if it is in 15 years’ time.
My shortest (and most disgusting) story, Cankerworm, has just gone on sale as part of Black Library’s 15th birthday celebrations. Meanwhile, over on the Founding Fields site, Sanctus is getting a bit of love in their Architect of Fate review. Orion is stuck in an anxious, leafy limbo, as I wait for my editor to read the first draft. I’ve leant him my antlers to help him get the right vibe, but he seemed reluctant to wear the green tights. Not sure why. The really big news, though, is that the new Lower Dens album will soon be out. I’ve watched this video for Brains so many times I can still hear it ticking when I try and sleep. This has to be the grumpiest singer in pop, but what a beautiful sound.
I know, I know… I really should have outgrown this kind of thing by now, but I think I will always be a sucker for out of tune, Velvets-inspired indie guitar. I really hope this band make it over to Nottingham at some point. I want to drink lots of cider, wear a stripey t-shirt and pretend I’m 18 again.
Call off the search. I’ve found the perfect music to listen to when writing fantasy novels: Argentinean communist folk guitar. Atahualpa Yupanqui’s album, Soy Libre, is ideal. I was struggling to find the right way to describe a demon-possessed jackdaw (we’ve all been there) and Atahualpa’s haunting melodies set me right back on track. Witness the power of folk! The Vaults of Winter has just crossed the 80K mark. It’s also become a tale of smoke-filled music halls, broken hearts and South American revolution, but I’m sure the editors won’t mind. Now, where did I leave that capo?
Quick update! The Vaults of Winter has some cover art, courtesy of the talented Slawomir Maniak and I’ve just crossed the halfway mark. I’m 50,000 words in and finding that wearing antlers is a great way to stay focused. The cats aren’t too impressed though.