Updated: Jun 1
Where Crows Land is my third novel and a third time of changing up the pace, trying something different to my last outing.
The whole concept of Where Crows Land came from one sentence I wrote one night whilst trying to come up with a new story. It’s the sentence that starts chapter two, “When was the last time you saw Sarah alive?”
This sentence prompted an entire list of possibilities. I then began to extend the story outwards from this sentence, shaping the entire plot around it’s premise.
I had always shied away from writing a detective story because the genre is so cluttered and it seems like it had all been done before and a lot of stories in recent times that I have crossed seemed like just regurgitated copies of what had came before.
However, there was something about the constant suspense and anticipation coupled with the piecing together we do ourselves whilst following these kinds of stories that intrigued me. To me, there was nothing better than following the story to it’s climax and finding all of the small details that I had overlooked which are then revealed. The ability for a story to turn the tables on what was true and what wasn’t, often leaving me dumbfounded as well as many others seemed powerful. The talent to string the audience along for a ride who think they have it all figured out, just for the rug to be pulled out from underneath them and leave them in awe, that was a talent I wanted to strive for in this book.
The name, Where Crows Land is symbolic to a catalyst within the story. I wanted an ominous sounding title. Crows are often linked with death and Where Crows Land seemed to me to appear to sound like an impending event. When coming up with the title, I wanted something that was not similar to Layla’s Song, instead I wanted a kind of more poetic title.
The character Drew Rachel Snow is also an anagram of Where Crows Land.
Again placing my story in Belfast, I tended to focus a lot more on the rural outskirts of Belfast. With my past two novels being very heavily city based, I wanted to take this one a little further out to get a different type of feel to it as well as exploring the possibilities the country has to offer the narrative.
Away from the lights of the city streets and plunging into the darkness of the countryside I feel offered a more ominous tone to the story as well as the feeling of isolation.
There were many points of this story where I began to question myself in the direction I was taking. I questioned my theories on the plot and the pieces I was trying to string together that would make sense in the end, some of the breadcrumbs I was leaving either seemed too obvious or were too exaggerated and made no sense in the end. All of this created numerous writing blocks where I couldn't see past the next page. I didn’t know what to write and I was also questioning if I should go back and change things up from the beginning to take the story in another direction.
After much thought, I kind of did both. I changed the starting point of the story and added in some scenes to better make sense of the characters and their intentions. I even switched the prose from first person to third person limited.
For those not savvy with literary terms, I changed the story from being told by the main character to the story being told from a narrators perspective, my perspective in a way.
Knowing very early on how it would all end, the ending was still something that stumped me as how pull it off in the right way that was not too dragged out but also packed the right punch. As I write this, I am writing the very last chapter which wraps everything up. I have just finished the crucial chapter of the story and the big reveal which I think I pulled off well and in the way that I wanted it to unfold.
Lately I have been toying with the idea of sequels or a series of books. I do however, have an idea for a sequel to Layla’s Song. One I have put on hold for now.
I plan to take a step back for writing, at least for a while. With that being said, the last time I promised myself this was after Layla’s Song. Six months later I wrote the first chapter of this book, so I guess we will see. If there is a growing fan base and sales, it may prompt me back faster but for now that is just wishful thinking to come from my relentless effort that I put into the marketing of my books. I have a very limited budget.
I do have one story that I have had in my head for at least two years now. I don’t want to give too much away as I do hope to get around to it at some stage. It would be a big change up for me as it is more of a drama about a struggling musician. It’s not the classic rise and fall from fame after getting done over by his record label and agent, the story is a lot deeper and more thought out than that but the change of pace may be a bit of a shock to me to write which is why I wanted to wait for the right time to write it. Maybe now that this novel is done I may look at it, who knows. I know that I would be capable of writing it as I have a lot of the story in my head already. It would be called, Chasing Sunsets.
It wouldn't be the first time I’ve switched up genres. When I started writing, I wrote sci-fi. When I made the switch from screenplays to novels I switched over to crime fiction which is what I have continued to write for three novels now. It would still be my preferred genre but I do not want to limit myself to one genre for all of my work.
Many writers stick to one genre that they specialize in or thrive in. It also means their readers know what to expect but there are great storytellers like Stephen King who has also wrote outside of his genre. Going under the pen name of Richard Bachman, he wrote, The Shawshank Redemption, The Running Man and The Green Mile to name a few.