By Jay Stringer
As I work away on the final book in the Eoin Miller trilogy, there is a part of my brain dedicated to working out what comes next. I have a few ideas. Some books that are almost ready to sit and write, some that are only just starting to come together as basic ideas.
And that's before I factor in realities of things like contracts and necessity, and of which stories I'm most likely to get to first. The running order changes daily.
This month an interesting thing happened. I was invited to contribute a short story to an anthology (I've bee invited to a few all at once actually, but more on them when it's polite to say.) For this particular anthology, I had no idea what my story would be. Usually I've got something sat at the back of my brain waiting to be turned into a short if I get the time, but on this occasion, nope.
So I started to read around again. I was doing research for a story I want to tell at some point, and that lead me to reading about an event in 1985, and pop I had a story. But I didn't have a character. I started to scratch around looking for one, but couldn't find an angle.
Then, about two weeks ago, I worked on a round of copy-edits for Runaway Town (Miller 2, due in March-ish) and the editor asked a questions about backstory. And once again, pop.
I knew exactly who the main character for the short needed to be. More over, I began to realise he had a full novel in him, and the fight was then how to pick a tiny part of his story and focus in on that for the short.
So there we go. Happy accidents. I don't expect it to be my next novel, or even the one after that, but I now have a book I didn't have a month ago - a crime novel set in the Black Country in the 1980's and featuring the father of a certain half-Romani gangland detective.
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