Simon Hall is the BBC’s Crime Correspondent for the South West of England and author of The TV Detective Novels. He talks about the excitement of writing and publishing his new book – Shadows of Justice.
It sounds like a joke, I know, but I can think of no better way of expressing the emotion – What can you do time after time after time, but never lose an atom of excitement about? The answer –for me, anyway – is to have a book published. The sixth in my tvdetective series, Shadows of Justice, is released on May 1st and I’m jittery with the anticipation. I’m just as abuzz and aflutter as when the first was published, some five years ago now. It’s tricky to describe exactly what it feels like, the culmination of all the work that goes into a book. I sometimes say it’s like being a child on Christmas morning, or an expectant father waiting for the moment of birth. But, some scoff – it’s just a book.
They don’t know writers! They don’t appreciate all the endeavour that goes into a book, but more importantly the feelings we invest in the things. To us, it’s not just words – it’s heart and soul.
I’m sometimes reminded of a quotation from the great Bill Shankly, former manager of Liverpool Football Club. ‘Some people believe football is a matter of life and death; I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that’. He was half-joking, as am I when I talk about the feeling of a novel being published. But it’s certainly not just a book. Not to the person who created it! When I give talks about my writing, I often find people are surprised by the amount of effort that goes into producing a novel.
I worked on Shadows of Justice for about four years in total. From the germ of the idea, to building it up and polishing it, then planning it; from the writing to re-writing to re-re writing and so on, not to mention the editing with my agent and publishers….And for all of that time, you live with the book. You go to sleep and wake up with it in mind. You’re thinking about how to improve it. How the characters behave. Whether the plot is interesting enough. How real the settings feel. No wonder you get wowed by the day of publication.
As for the book itself, the tvdetective series is about a television reporter who covers crimes and gets so involved in the cases that he ends up helping the police to solve them, often using the power and influence of TV to assist.
The theme of Shadows is justice. Not society’s version, with the police and courts and lawyers, but an individual’s belief. It’s about a group of people who have suffered grievous wrongs which were never properly acknowledged, understood and righted, and the actions that leads them to take. It’s about the extraordinary lengths that victims are sometimes forced to when justice fails them.
And although I’ve enjoyed it, writing this guest blog has just gone and stirred up all that pre-publication excitement again…
Yours, breathlessly, like a child on Christmas Morning!
Simon can be found on http://www.thetvdetective.com Twitter: @thetvdetective