Here’s the first photo I’ve taken outside this year. Suitable mood setting for the novel draft I have just finished. It’s currently called Villain Miriam, and is set on an invented Scottish Island called Toftsay, Toft meaning the site of a house/building/homestead and -say being a suffix meaning an island, commonly found in the bounds of Scandinavian Scotland. There’s a woman at the heart of the book, an inscrutable witch who has lived since at least Norse times – she’s a kind of Cailleach figure, the hag-goddess who brings winter and drops stones to form mountains, though that sort of thing is behind her by the time we see her in the novel. Her ways are quieter and more devious. Two girls come to be servants in her house, and the story is of how they are at once charmed and trapped and gain their own forms of power amid at terrible loss. It’s a long while until the novel will be up to the standard I hope for it, though sections were completed as part of a novella earlier, and you can read an extract on 3AM: Magazine here. The form it takes is flash fiction and fragments. I hope to be finished by October this year, right before my debut novel, Flesh of the Peach, comes out. Then the process of trying to get it too out into the world. It’s the second novel I’ve written set in Scotland, though the first, originally my PhD dissertation, entitled Kilea, is set aside for now. I hope one day too it will be published. No dead darlings there, quite yet.
Also on the go: a second flash fiction collection, hopefully just a little longer than On the Edges of Vision. It might take a while going in tandem with two sets of novel edits, but the relief of writing over editing will probably help it along. Some stories are forthcoming in print and online, I’ll link when I have links to share.
It’ll be a year of writing, a year of submitting flash, a year of rejections and acceptances. I hope it is for you too, or art-making of other sorts, or whatever you wish to be doing. In great amounts, and well-done.