My new novel, We Won’t Leave This World Alive, is now 21,000 words in and although I’m working without my usual plot structure, which helped me keep the various strands of The Gamblers in my head, it is all coming together really nicely.
It does help that the novel gestated in my head for a long time before I started writing it properly, so I know where the story needs to go. The plot is set solely in the north-east of England and the main characters, despite being criminals, are a more sympathetic pair than the assorted low-lives that populated The Gamblers.
This novel is also my first foray into first person narration and it is also my first attempt at a murder-mystery, although it’s several shades darker than the Raymond Chandler and Ross MacDonald novels that I read in my formative years. I’m not sure why my muse takes me to such dark places, but I sure as hell know I’m not going to fight it. Crime fiction certainly can be played out in a rarefied atmosphere of gentility (as it often was during the early days of British crime fiction), but that’s not something I could ever write. My stuff takes place amongst drug dealers and thieves and loansharks and other people who might be able to climb above the bottom rung of the ladder if only they weren’t so bloody slippery.
Thus far it’s nowhere near as violent as The Gamblers but I have a feeling that there’s a lot trouble awaiting the novel’s heroes, The Stanton brothers, somewhere around the corner.