Pull up a seat, I have news…

It’s been a while…

I aim to write weekly bog posts, but unlike Olympic and Paralympic archers, my aim is not always true. So, I’m sorry about that.

The truth be told, I’ve been having some down time. And thinking about where my writing journey will take me next. It has taken me to… a sequel to Anti-Virus. Which *cough cough* maybe, might, perhaps, is likely to become a trilogy. Put it this way, not only do I have the title for the sequel organised, I also have the title for the third book in the series. You know, thinking ahead.

It’s how I roll.

I can’t remember if I confessed this on here as well as over on my Instagram account, but I had been toying with the idea of a spin-off to Anti-Virus, so you didn’t have to read the first novel to read the second. A bit like those series on Sky Witness where they have crossovers, you know? However… a couple of lovely people who have read Anti-Virus (how many times can I write ‘Anti-Virus’ I wonder?) have wanted to know ‘what happens next’. To be fair, I did leave the ending open for that a little, just in case I had the drive to pick up the threads of the story and continue, although it was by no means a cliffhanger.

I have to say, by the time I’d finished the editing, I didn’t want to do this. I was kind of ‘done’. I was all ready to switch genres to my already drafted dark fantasy novel. But… those reader requests, the fact that Callie and Jak kept on bothering me to continue their story, plus some time and space away from their dark and dangerous world… it got me sucked back in to dystopia and the future of these strong, feisty women.

I seem to be addicted. I already have the first two chapters in the bag. Or rather, drafted in Scrivener. You get my drift.

What’s that you say? What’s the new title? You want to know?

This is the here and now. The future is ENDEMIC.

I can’t wait to keep you updated on where this next journey will take me, Callie Hannigan and Jak Hartwood. And some new characters, one of whom is… nope, I’m not sharing yet. You’ll have to wait!

Blood. Sweat. Tears.

Happy Unleashing Day!

If that has piqued your interest, then yay, I’m a better marketer than I thought!

Seriously though, today is launch day over on Amazon of my debut novel, Anti-Virus. I can’t quite believe it! I wrote an actual whole book that people in the world can buy and read. I also wrote a book that has had 5 star reviews on Goodreads! Writing a novel has been a dream of mine (sometimes buried for many years) since I was a little girl (my mum probably still has some of my handwritten stories in the Sideboard of Doom in the lounge). Just a few decades later and I have achieved!

Why blood, sweat and tears? Hmmm, well.

There was no actual blood let in the creation of my novel, but lots of red pen was used, that’s for sure. There comes a point when I need to use paper and print off my writing and read it in a different format. That’s where the bad things that have been hiding on screen tend to come into the light (and boy, were there some bad things!). So yes, red pen made a huge appearance at the editing stage (twice).

Sweat? Definitely. I began writing the germ of this novel years ago and then Life happened. I picked it up again pre-pandemic and finished the first full draft at the end of 2019. I was in edit mode and then doubt set in as the pandemic raged. It didn’t feel appropriate to write a dystopian fiction when dystopian fact was consuming the world. However – Anti-Virus isn’t really about a pandemic, not in the way your typical pandemic novels and films go. So I got over that a few months later and set to work. Sweating receded, and here we are.

Tears? For sure. Of frustration at first because I had wanted this novel to be worthy, to mean something, to honour my dad (I’ve written about that before). But then, as the saying goes, you should write the book you want to read. Using an imaginary force to push something that I wasn’t really feeling (and to be honest, I think it would have come across as a diatribe given the mindset I was in at the time) was a good way of stopping me in my tracks. So after that I got on with the novel that really wanted to be written, and Anti-Virus was born.

And so, here we are. It was hard work. It needed discipline, it needed attention, it needed focus. it was both harder and easier than I imagined it would be.

And it was so much fun.

And I’m going to do it again.

My name is Freya and I’m a write-aholic.

Ch-ch-ch-changes!

If there’s one certainty in life, it is that things are constantly changing.

And yet I am being consistently inconsistent by not posting every weekend, like I had planned to do, and like I had probably written somewhere on here that I was going to do.

I know, because I know roughly how social media works, that if you aren’t consistent in your presence, it negatively impacts The Algorithm and The Metrics. You know what else I know? Life is way, way too short and my mental health is way, way too important, to get myself tied up in knots over that stuff.

To be perfectly, bluntly honest with you, I get overwhelmed by the accounts on the tiny number of social media platforms that I use that are unfailingly, Swiss watch consistent in their output and/or have an aesthetic that makes their posts instantly recognisable. Maybe it’s just me who feels like that, maybe there’s something wrong with my attitude to the whole social media bandwagon. (I’ll just add a little side note here – I admire the people who have the ability to ride the wave of social media and have the energy to be so consistent, polished and professional. I don’t have the resources to be always ‘on’ in that way, sadly).

Despite my somewhat lackadaisical approach to the social media aspect of self-publishing, I have reached the point where Anti-Virus is now with my lovely ARC readers, or as I somehow managed to name them ‘Team AV’ (sometimes I can be down with the kids and get a tiny little bit social media savvy). Other authors are reading my work – gulp!

All joking aside and all social media ambivalence aside, I am damned proud I I have got this far. Sometimes I have wanted to tear my hair out, sometimes I have given my manuscript the side-eye and hated it with a burning passion that has been breathtaking (often when I have got up from my working from home computer after a long hard day and then sat down at my own laptop), but now, now all is forgiven. It has all been worth it.

I’ll be firming up my publication date and announcing it to the world in the next few weeks.

And I can introduce you all to Callie Hannigan. She’s been waiting so long. So have I.

Welcome to the world of Anti-Virus.