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New plans for “Million Eyes” and my stop-off at Heartbreakville

Well, 2018. I’m not sure how I feel about you anymore. It started off well. First seven months—great. Last five—not so much. Now I’m afraid I’m looking forward to seeing the back of you.

After a long-ish hiatus, I’m back. Blog’s going to take a slightly different form from now on, but I’ll get to that. Since it’s been a lot of months now since I last posted (apart from a quick update yesterday), I thought it would make sense to share what’s been happening in Berryland.

So I moved to Haslemere, a charming little town in Surrey, in January. I moved into a beautiful flat with my girlfriend and was pretty darn happy. After some initial articles at the beginning of the year, I decided to give the blog a rest. This is because I wanted to focus my attentions on a new novel whilst continuing to submit Million Eyes to agents. Meanwhile I’ve been continuing to write monthly conspiracy/mystery-themed time travel articles for the Time Travel Nexus.

Then something happened in August. For the first time since we met in April 2016, my girlfriend expressed out-of-left-field doubts about our future. Two weeks after that, she was telling me she didn’t love me or was even attracted to me anymore. She said things to me that day that put my pride through the wringer and left my ego black and blue.

It was all a tad confusing, though. She was diagnosed with depression at virtually the same time. Was it her talking? Or the illness? Which came first? The depression or this apparent lack of fulfilment in our relationship?

These are questions I’ve been asking for months. Sadly I don’t have any satisfactory answers. I probably never will. All I know is how sudden it was. One minute she was happy and planning our wedding. The next she was telling me she didn’t want me anymore. And it all happened in a matter of weeks.

Can you do a complete emotional 180 on the person you were going to marry for no obvious reason? Can you fall out of love in a few weeks? Can you wake up one day and just not be attracted to your partner anymore? Yep, on all accounts, is what she’d be saying if she were reading this.

As far as I’m concerned, that’s not how real love works. I don’t say that with some inflated sense of my own ego. I have it on good authority (friends, family, the girlfriend herself) that I did nothing wrong. Despite obsessively over-analysing everything about our relationship over the previous two years, I’m still clueless as to what happened. Things were great. Not perfect (what relationship is?) but great. I now suspect that her feelings for me weren’t as deep or as meaningful as she always led me to believe, or perhaps even thought they were herself.

In any case, I moved into Heartbreakville and have been getting to know the place well. It’s not a fun town and I’ve been trying to find the road that leads out of it. My bloody awesome family and friends have been helping with that. So have some cool new toys (a vinyl record player being the most exciting), Christmas songs (have you checked out Gwen Stefani’s holiday tunes? They’re brill) and Netflix binges of The Crown, The Sinner, Making A Murderer, Star Trek and Mr Bean. Oh, and there was that hazy evening with my uni friend when I rediscovered my love for too-much-vodka jelly (and paid for it the next day).

Heartbreakville’s a bit of a labyrinth, though, and there’s a lot of traffic on the roads that go through it. Still, the car’s moving and has fuel. And I ain’t stopping. The bruises on my ego are starting to look a bit less purple and I’ve realised that in time I’ll find something—and someone—better. Someone who’s more mature emotionally, whose feelings are less fickle, less temperamental, and isn’t going to give up on something amazing at the drop of a hat.

I’ve also changed gear, writing-wise. Before, I was prepared to wait years to find the right publisher for Million Eyes. But having submitted to a LOT of literary agents and got nowhere, I’ve made a decision. Million Eyes is going to be released next year. At the moment I’m continuing to submit the book to small, independent publishers and I’m waiting on one particular literary agent whose street it’s very much up. But I’m only going to do this for another few months. If I don’t get any interest, I’m going to self-publish, and I’m going to put as much money and time and effort as I can afford into promoting it. I don’t know what form it’s all going to take yet but I’ve waited long enough and it’s time to get Million Eyes out into the world and hope it takes off.

This means that, for the moment, I’ve parked the other novel I’m working on, the working title of which is Scuzzling, in favour of the sequel to Million Eyes. At the end of the day, whether Million Eyes is successful or not, it’s a story I need to get out of my system. I have absolutely no plans to abandon Scuzzling as I’ve done a shit-ton of world-building and have a fully-fledged outline for it. Plus, I’m now a Grindstone Literary shortlisted novelist thanks to Scuzzling. The first 3,000 words of it were shortlisted by Conville & Walsh literary agent Emma Finn as part of the Grindstone Literary International Novel Competition 2018. So that’s a definite inducement to carry on with it.

I’m also giving this website an overhaul. I’ll be relaunching it with a new design and name and restarting my blog. Future articles on conspiracy theories, mysteries and urban legends will form part of a monthly column. At the same time I’m going to be writing about more general topics, mainly related to writing and the things that make me happy, sad, annoyed, inspired and everything in between.

So, that’s where I am. Looking ahead. Trying to get excited about the future. Trying to let go of the past. Some days just trying. But all the while remembering that I’m a writer. And writers are experts at endings.

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