Patrick G Cox

The writing challenge ...

Being an author is an interesting, and sometimes challenging, mix. You're constantly having to juggle ideas for your next book(s), identify the research, market your existing catalogue and find space to actually write something. This is true whether you're published by a 'traditional' publisher, or an 'independent'. It is up to the author to make sure the story hangs together, that the background research is sound, and, of course, the written word is going to hold your reader's attention. I find that once I have the first draft finished, I have to go over it several times, tracking down anything I might have messed up - such as changing a character's name, or introducing a plot device that just serves to derail a reader.

Naturally, in this process you also see places where the story needs more development, or can perhaps do with an additional scene. Typically I find myself 're-writing' parts, adding sections and generally 'polishing' the story. Sometimes a character needs to be developed, or even taken out altogether when doing these revisions. And in between, there is always the checking of facts in the background, managing your various online efforts to sell your books, and, naturally, have time for your family and the business of actually living in the real world.

Some time ago I was asked where I drew some inspiration for my plots from. The answer is that I take much of it from life. If one studies history, you soon realise that there is a pattern to human activity, and certain elements repeat, sometimes taking a new turn, or adapting to fit new technology or cultural changes. Even in the most stable civilisations, rogue elements can derail what everyone assumes is the natural progression. That is the underlying premise to Asimov's "Foundation" series of stories, and it is an element I have woven into my Harry Heron series.

So, while it seems to take forever between books, there is actually a lot happening. For now, Harry Heron: Awakening Threat is the task, and the focus. That, and the Frankfurt Buchmesse next month!

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