NORTHMAN is launched! I have no idea where it has been launched to, but it’s now been sucked into the black hole that is Amazon. Soon, I will have to find it again and turn it into a paper book. I know. Paper. I still love it.
It’s taken a long time to get here. Northman was started in 1995, but remained unfinished until this year. It had a lot of interest in ’95; I gained a top London agent for it and it went to Hodder or Arrow and they liked it. But I didn’t finish it and their interest waned.
Now, I know you’ll be agog at this confession. How could I miss such an opportunity? And how could I use a word like ‘agog’?
There is a simple answer. I was too busy. Oh and I’ve always liked the word ‘agog’ because it reminds me of Gog and Magog, two of my uncles – or rather my nicknames for them.
1995 was a year during which I can’t remember having a single day off. I was so busy I could see myself arriving where I had been a few seconds ago. Einstein has a lot to answer for. I must have made a dozen commercials, the same number of promos and a short film about a psychotic telephone called ‘Inanimate Objects’.
Commercial work as a writer and director paid the bills and allowed me to feed my kids. Despite the promptings of my agent, the publishers were not supplying upfront money. My commercial clients were falling over themselves to give me money. My wife and children starving? No contest.
In 2010, I had doubts about finishing and publishing NORTHMAN. I wondered if people would find it old hat. But as I read it and reacquainted myself with characters I had genuinely grown to either love or despise, I realised it wasn’t old hat. It was new hat, but using a familiar cloth and a new Mad Hatter.
If I look back with an honest eye it was okay in 1995 but in 2012 it’s so much better because I’m so much older. I’m proud of it. Surprisingly, the feeling is similar to the times when my two sons left home to build their lives.
I made a choice then and even if my novel grinds along in the darker nether regions of Amazon, it was the right choice.
I wish you well in all your choices.
So, to cut a short story shorter, here’s NORTHMAN.