Any sane person would be working on one or, at most, two projects at a time. Me? I’m currently working on…(checks off on fingers, tongue protruding slightly from between teeth, gazing blankly into the distance)…
One: a long novel, The Assassin’s Garden, and wondering now whether I should be totally reconstructing it, although I am already a hundred thousand words into it.
Two: a second novel, that I started after I had published Making Friends with the Crocodile, and which I have temporarily shelved while I try to finish The Assassin’s Garden, even though I had already written some 15,000 words or so.
Three: two short-ish short stories, that is to say about five thousand words each, toying with them like a replete and disinterested diner toying with the last few mouthfuls of spaghetti Bolognese (and if that doesn’t put you off of my writing, then nothing will).
Four: a long-ish short story of about thirteen thousand words that needs a stern talking-to before being allowed out into the world on its own.
It’s remarkable that I’ve actually got around to finishing anything, really.
Some more details:
‘The Assassin’s Garden’ is my major work in progress. Currently about a hundred thousand words long, it needs some major revision. It has taken me almost five years so far, and it would be nice to have it finished sometime soon! Set mainly in Victorian England and Victorian India, it is part detective story, part historical fiction, partly fantasy and partly gothic. Currently, for a couple of the chapters, I am finding it necessary to do some research on medieval Persia. It is possible, I concede, that I am being a little too ambitious…
Once I have finished that, I will return to the other new one (as yet untitled).
The short stories come and go, and by the time that one of them is finished, or at least set aside for a final edit, I have invariably started another. Subjects and styles range from myth and fable to ghost story to cold war era Europe and, of course, modern India. I am fortunate that in having spent some time in India, travelling and working, most of the descriptions are based on my own experiences there and hopefully have an authentic feeling to them.
And so to the long short story: A Whodunit set in 1930’s England. It just needs a little tidying up, but I just don’t seem to get round to it.
So, with a whole lot of short stories ready, or almost ready, to publish, one of my current problems is deciding what form to publish them in. Do I release a collection of short stories? I am tempted to publish a short book of themed stories – the Indian tales. Whatever form they take, however, they will be published first of all as an e-book.
My first published novel, ‘Making Friends with the Crocodile’, is set in India, as are many of my stories, and it concerns the relationships within a family in a small village; more specifically, how women are treated and thought of in a male-dominated society. A thorny subject? Perhaps, but Indian society itself is beginning to take a long, hard look at this topic, so I do not consider it taboo for a Western writer to tackle. What do you think? Our record in the west is hardly perfect, of course. It is available in e-book and paperback on Amazon, and also as an e-book on Kobo.