I was once told that I was probably brought up during the last era of great literary writers. The author friend who said that to me I feel was right. I was brought up on good literature where the characters were two dimensional and where we sometimes didn’t get that happy ending – what springs readily to mind here is Graham Greene’s novel,  BRIGHTON ROCK and John Le Carre’s THE SPY WHO CAME IN FROM THE COLD.

One of my novels – FORBIDDEN LIAISON – didn’t have a happy ending and some comments I received were not that favourable, whereas, A LIFE ONCE HAD did have a happy ending and has received very favourable reviews. One of them being:

A good read. I almost felt I was a witness.

What praise indeed: I couldn’t have wished for any more words than that short-but-sweet phrase, because it told me the writing was vivid and leapt off the page.

I am finding more and more novels padded out to enhance the wordage. But prose padding doesn’t enhance a novel for me, it only makes it longer, and sometimes boring. If it is not relevant to the plot: story: or the characters, then it is superfluous. But even then, it should be kept to a minimum by perhaps drip-feeding information throughout the story.

A writer has to keep the reader interested, and if that interest wanes then the reader might give up half way through, and I have done this several times lately. But, instead of being annoyed that I bought the book in the first place, it has made me think carefully how I respond to the work, and I try to be objective when commenting. Roberts Harris’s ENIGMA I felt could have been pared down somewhat and I did comment so.

Is it the fact we spend a lot of money on novels from well-known authors and want to get our money’s worth? I personally would rather spend good money on a cracking good book that keeps me interested throughout, only then do I feel I have had my money’s worth.

The age of lengthy literature is perhaps dying out, but that does not mean, though, that we writers should not endeavour to turn out good, well-written novels that keep our readers wanting more.

Good book hunting.









                                               Forbidden Liaison CoverMed

Although I have not been writing for the past six weeks I have been reading, not only other authors’ books, but three of my own which I call my German Trilogy, and will be publishing their second editions shortly.

Not only have I ironed out some typos – some of which I swear happen when Amazon publish – but have tightened up some prose. These books are not altered in any way, the story-line is still the same; just a few words have been taken out – or put in – and as one reader commented, one of them was too ‘lovey-dovey’. I took this comment on board, and changed nothing, as the story revolves around the relationship between the two main protagonists. It would be like telling DHL to leave out the relationship between Connie and Mellors in Lady Chatterley’s Lover.

I have been extremely encouraged by readers comments on the above three novels and found those who did comment went on to read the others in the trilogy, with some readers going on to read the books I have in other genres. Thank you readers for those useful comments and your continuing support.

But as I am still only halfway through my 7th novel, it still has no title: 40,000 words in and I have not been able to find a suitable one. This novel, when finished, will be in the historical fiction genre. It takes place in France, the three months preceding the D Day landings, and as we are spending a few weeks holiday in Brittany, France, this year, I am taking the opportunity to do some research into the D Day landings, with the intent of finishing this 7th novel when I get back, hopefully for it to be published in the autumn, or at the latest, Christmas of this year. And, by the time its finished I hope to have come up with a title.

PS. The best novel I have read recently is ENIGMA by Robert Harris, another Nottingham born writer – even though I thought it could have been edited down, it was still good read. It is a fictional thriller surrounding the breaking of the Enigma code at Bletchley Park. The other novel is DEEP STATE, a thriller by Oliver Tidy, also a good read if you like espionage and terrorism.