Smells Like November

Drum roll, please.

NaNoWriMo is now less than two weeks away. It’s the most wonderful time of the year, when I give up sleep, Google things that might get me put on the no-fly list, and watch my body composition turn to 70% caffeine, 25% gin, 5% bones and muscles and the like.

Last year was a huge success. I wrote 51,159 words in 30 days: words which weren’t perfect, but formed the backbone of Say Nothing. Over the past year I’ve edited, deleted, cried over, and re-written those words into a complete novel. I’ve never worked harder on, or been more in love with, a writing project. Why it took me so long to put my obsession with love for history together with writing, I just don’t know. But it’s definitely ‘my’ genre.

I’ve known since writing the very first chapter of Say Nothing that it will be a series. I’ve known from the first chapter how I want the series to end (no, I’m not telling). Over the last few months, with NaNo creeping ever closer, I’ve been planning its sequel. I’ve got the bare bones of a plot, from start to finish. I’ve got pages and pages of research notes. So, without further ado, I’m happy to say that this year’s NaNoWriMo project is….


…..not the sequel to Say Nothing, because that would be far too sensible and logical.

I’ve done the literary equivalent of planning a wedding and leaving the fiance at the altar – then running off with a younger, hotter beau I just met. Sorry, dearly beloved, as-yet-unnamed sequel. I promise I will return and do right by you. I’ve just got to take care of this first.



Seattle, 1991. There’s no shortage of disaffected young people in garage bands, screeching out angry verse over distorted guitars. For some, music is just a hobby; a distraction. For Jesse, it’s a career plan. He’s got the band, he’s got the talent, he’s got the look- the only thing he doesn’t have is a record deal. The grunge scene in Seattle is about to explode, and Jesse’s band might be exactly what a label is looking for.

But not even Jesse, who’s always dreamed of being a rock star, is ready for everything that comes with it. His reluctant bandmates, even less so; and as they rise up in the music world, the dark pleasures at their disposal threaten to consume them.

I’ll come back to historical fiction, and I’ll come back to Northern Ireland, 1972. For now, this is where my love lies. It’s inspired by some of my favourite music, and rock stars who left us too soon. It’s going to be gritty, dark, and grungey. It’s going to put your heart through the wringer, and mine too (I’ve already fallen in love with one character in particular).

Let’s face it: listening to Nirvana for research is more fun than delving into the Irish history shelf, even if you’re the type of person who has an Irish history shelf.

And as an added bonus, when I inevitably don’t have time to shower this November, I’m not being gross. I’m not putting writing before personal hygiene. I’m just getting in the mood, man. I smell like teen spirit. Right? RIGHT?

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…oh god, November isn’t even here yet and the lame jokes have started. Send help.

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