As the last instalment in the Love on the Island Series, my new book, An Island Heatwave, was always going to be a little harder to write, but I think there have been other factors at work too.
End of Lockdowns
It’s crazy how quickly you get used to a new way of doing things. During the past two years, and various lockdowns because of the Covid pandemic, I increased my writing speed and productivity in general. At first, it was difficult. The world, it seemed, was becoming unhinged. Everything was closing down, and people were dying by their thousands, hundreds of thousands and eventually, millions.
As a writer with a vivid imagination, the situation was unimaginable. Many of us authors closed down. Luckily, my paralysis was very brief. My inability to write in the early stages of the first lockdown in 2020 was mainly due to the physical restrictions of suddenly having to work in a small space together with the Englishman. Once I started using noise-cancelling headphones, however, my creativity returned, and I was back to writing every day.
Many people went crazy, staying at home all the time, but we had our submarine patrol routine, and I was so happy because I was left alone to write as much as I wanted.
Don’t get me wrong, I did miss seeing other people, family in particular. I also missed travel and towards the end of the last lockdown (I hope and pray it was the last one!), I would have travelled to the South Pole just to get out of the UK.
In-Person Events Take Time
After two years of lockdowns, I’ve thrown myself into travel and ‘in-person’ events. (There wasn’t even such an expression before COVID!)
This year, in addition to seeing family and friends, I’ve already been to Africa, on a disastrous holiday to Sal (read all about it here). The Englishman and I attended a convention in San Diego and took a couple of days off to enjoy California afterwards.
There have been award dinners, as well as The London Book Fair, where (I’m now almost certain) I contracted Omicron. The two-plus weeks I and the poor Englishman suffered from COVID, knocked us sideways.
My lovely sister came to visit us once we’d recovered, a visit that has been in the planning for nearly three years.
What I had forgotten is how long all these ‘in-person’ events take. There’s all the preparation, the travel time and the recovery. A case in point is LBF. The fair took nearly a month to recover from. That was a bit unusual, of course.
Obviously, I wouldn’t have it any other way. Meeting new and old friends, and travelling, feed the soul. For a writer, they are a necessity. Where else would all the plot ideas and characters stem from, if not one’s experiences? There is only so much you can mine from your dreams alone.
Changes always affect my productivity, and getting back to some kind of normal life hasn’t been an exception.
There have also been other factors at play with the trials and tribulations of writing An Island Heatwave, Book 6 in the Love on the Island series.
One thing is certain, it hasn’t been easy.
The Englishman points out that this is what I say every time I write a novel, but I do think this book has been more difficult than usual. (He says he’s heard this comment before too.)
Perhaps the reason for my difficult writing process is the hectic spring that I’ve had. I’m sure that’s part of the problem.
It could also be that, as this will be the last book in the series, (although I never say never), I may be going through some kind of withdrawal syndrome?
I found a similar issue when writing The True Heart. It was supposed to be the last book in The Nordic Heart series. There was a dramatic end, which I found very, very hard to write. I did go on and write another book in the series, The Christmas Heart, just to get a happy ending for everyone!
I’m not planning a similar drama in An Island Heatwave, although there will of course be plot twists and tension. So that cannot be the reason.
I do know I’m going to miss my characters and am already thinking about a new series based on one of them. It may not happen, but I’m using this plan as a kind of crutch to lean on when my thoughts go to having to leave the islands and the characters that I’ve grown to love.
Having felt very panicky about the new novel, I decided at the beginning of this week to take a good hard look at my schedule. Previously I’d promised my Readers Group mailing list that An island Heatwave might be out as soon as this June. (The optimism!)
This should be a lesson to me. I am very sorry that I mislead all of my lovely readers, but I do hope you understand. I also hope that you prefer a well-crafted novel to a quicker publishing schedule.
An Island Heatwave will now be out on 31 August and not before. This is the publication date on the Amazon preorder page, so at least I don’t have to go cap in hand to the mighty Zon and ask them to change the date!
You can now preorder An Island Heatwave, which will be out on 31st August, for just $2.99 (£2.99/2.99€). This offer will end on publication day when the price will revert to $4.99. What’s more, if you preorder now, the novel will be dropped right into your Kindle or another reading device on the day of publication. This way, you don’t have to keep an eye out for when the next instalment in the Love on the Island series is out. Isn’t that neat?