Author, Interrupted

My research trip for my new book is now officially cancelled, due to coronavirus. This is not unexpected but for an author of travel-themed mysteries, it is quite problematic.

The last two months have been spent choosing locations to visit, developing ideas based on those locations and learning a language for a book I won’t be writing any time soon. So for now, I have put down my pen and am pondering my next step.

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There are quite a few possibilities. I could write something outside my current series but what? A horror springs to mind but I’m not sure that would be good for my mental health just at the moment. Dystopia also seems apt but whether I have the skill set or the patience for that is questionable.

Having a big delay between books in a series doesn’t feel like a great strategy. I don’t want existing readers to forget about me! So I’m leaning towards staying within my series.

Do I set the story here in the UK? A staycation story could work in the series. And as the books are available worldwide, some readers would surely find the UK an interesting setting, particularly as it would be an area with historical significance.

But then there are all the destinations I’ve previously visited. Maybe one of those could be used as a setting. I have only spent a week or so in most of them which doesn’t equate to a lot of material but maybe a multiple setting story could work. 

The challenge with that idea is coming up with a plausible reason the teenage main character would need to travel to several places in one trip.

Alternatively, I could do extra online research about some of those places until I know enough to create a workable plot related to one of them. And then double check everything from my own recollection because it is no longer fresh in my mind.

I could even start two projects so I have a back-up plan ready for the next time something unexpected happens.

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There are pros and cons to all these options but I’m not sure a rational approach is going to help. I don’t write the stories that fit my current skills or circumstances. I write the stories that ask to be written. The ones that whisper to my writer’s soul.

Perhaps a better strategy would be to stop thinking and just listen.

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