Bracken, Blackstoke, and what I can say about the current state of play…

Hey all, I realised I have been giving a lot of updates on what I’ve been reading, and only the casual reference to what I have been writing. Well, let me explain…

Firstly, thanks to each and every one of you who has read a Ben Bracken book this past year, and has offered support and good wishes. You’ve been amazing, and I’m very grateful, and a bit blown away by it (and by a bit, I mean a lot).

Apex came out in July 2014, and with that saw interest in the property outside of the usual self-publishing channels. The rest of that summer was spent in plenty of back and forth negotiation, the result of which, as yet, I still can’t talk about, nor am I able to say yet who such negotiations were with. I don’t want to jeopardise current and future conversations, so I’ve had to keep my mouth firmly shut. 

Needless to say, it has been a heck of a ride, extremely rewarding and exciting. I’m hoping in the future there will be some clarity as to what I’ve been up to, and what the future will hold, but for now… Watch this space.

The third Bracken adventure, The Penny Black, was finished just before Christmas, and I would just love to unleash it. I’m sure most people would say it about their latest work, but I’m convinced that it is easily my best so far. Writing it was just a massive joy, and I can’t wait for it to see the light of day. It has been sent to the parties I’ve been in conversation with, and… again that’s as much as I can say. But, the early reader feedback has been overwhelmingly positive, and I’m thrilled. 

It is a dark thriller set on the banks of the river Bure, deep in the Norfolk Broads. A small community is under siege from outside forces and sinister entities within its midst, and Ben Bracken finds himself in the thick of it.

I viewed The Penny Black as the possible ending to a trilogy of Bracken novels. The door is open to future adventures, but I can easily call it there. That let me add some real gravity to the story, a real all-or-nothing feel, which I think makes it the strongest so far. 

So, while stuff is going on in the background regarding Bracken’s future, I am challenging myself to write something completely different in tone and scope, and that is Blackstoke. I had an idea a while back, which I left on the back burner for the right time, and now we’ve got there. Also, I think now I may have grown up just enough to have a decent stab at it. I want to look at family chemistry, communities in minute conflict, and I’m just not sure i could have done it justice before. The minutia that upset us, when it has no real right to. And then, as I’ve set up this world, I’m going to throw I big nasty spanner in there. 

It’s taking me a lot longer to write this, as for me personally, this is a much bigger challenge, and I want to create a sensitive, nuanced portrait of different people in uncomfortable circumstances. I’m going to have to keep playing at this until I get it just right. I’m about an eighth of the way in, so it’ll probably take me another couple of months.

So that’s where we are. Sorry for any vagueness, but circumstances dictate. As soon as I can explain, I will. Rest assured, your support is mega and means the world. Thank you all!

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Been running around in circles with plot problems the last couple of days, so borrowed my little one’s colouring stuff, got to work with a big piece of paper and some colouring pens and BOOM we have a breakthrough! Censored of course – I didn’t go mad and ruin it with the black marker like the guy on The Fast Show (‘Black! Like the raven’s eye!’)