THE DORCHESTER LITERARY FESTIVAL PRIZE 2020
I am delighted that Blessèd are the Meek has been long-listed for this local writers prize, meaning that it has reached the final six. These books will soon be reduced to a short list of three, so fingers crossed...
Sadly three other books were chosen for the short list ahead of Blessèd are the Meek.
Disappointing, but of course these judgements are always very subjective. I will have to try again, maybe next year with the title below.
A NEW NOVEL
Spring 2020 and there is another book on the way.
Since the autumn of last year I have been working on a new novel, one that is a development of the short story Runaways which I wrote in 2012. This was a twist on the real life case of British maths teacher Jeremy Forrest who abducted a 15-year-old pupil, his girlfriend, and headed to the south of France with her.
In my story the teacher is female and the pupil is a 16-year-old boy. They are hiding in plain sight on a campsite in an unremarkable town in the Sologne region of central France and are spotted, and recognised, by an English resident of the town who suddenly has a decision to make.
Even when I was writing Runaways I remember thinking that the most interesting character was indeed Val, the witness. What I have done with the new novel is tell her story, both before and after the encounter with the teacher. It is part psychological drama, part ghost story: a contemporary novel with an echo of resistance against (and collaboration with) the German occupiers of France during the early 1940s.
The Sologne, a quiet area of forests, lakes and mists south of the Loire, is the setting for much of the narrative, although the story's climax takes place in England, and notably on the dramatic coastline of Dorset.
The novel is provisionally entitled The Blush of Betrayal.
I have had it proof read and edited and as far as I am concerned it is very presentable.
I have submitted it to a range of literary agents and now await the flood of polite rejections and hopefully at least one positive reply which may lead to a publisher. If necessary I will self-publish as I have done with some success in the past.
One way or another, I hope that readers will be introduced to Val and her partner Bobby before too long.
Spring 2020: Keep away from the coronavirus and stay healthy!
Summer 2020 Update:
The novel was provisionally entitled The Blush of Betrayal but I (via several other interested parties) have decided to go with a title that had suggested itself to me earlier, Inappropriate Behaviour.
Meanwhile I have made plans to self-publish with Honeybee Books in the autumn.