When Life Imitates Art
You might have noticed things have got weird lately.
When I write I tend to be inspired by things around me. I'm quite politically charged and, if you've read any of my stories, you'll probably see this in my work.
When I finished The Rising Fire last year, I knew exactly where the series was going and the final stage in the saga. I've been building up to this moment for years now. The Running Game is a book about organised crime and corruption. Border Lines is a serial killer whodunnit, but is set against a backdrop of the rich/poor divide and government corruption. Every Storm Breaks is about radicalism and government corruption. And The Rising Fire was an exploration about social injustice, working reform and government corruption (sensing a theme yet?).
Book 5 was going to finish off with a theme that has always troubled me: bio-warfare. In particular, it would feature a pandemic. So when Covid-19 cases started appearing in China it gave me pause. A pause which is now six months in with no end in sight. What I'm trying to say is, whilst living through a pandemic, it is very difficult to creatively explore a pandemic in the series. Especially when the goverment corruption and incompetence in the UK is beyond anything I could come up with in my wildest nightmares.
What's funny - in a laugh to stop yourself crying kind of way - I've always been convinced I'd live through a pandemic and a lot of my work is centered around a dystopian idea. When we first went into lockdown with minor symptoms (no tests available at the time), my pragmatic foresight went into overdrive and I had seeds planted, salt bought for fermenting food, and the local pigeon's days were numbered. As it happened, we've never run out of food and Pigeon Pete is still making regular visits to the garden none the wiser. This doesn't mean this time isn't scary. Actually, for me it's more scary. I was all ready for the zombie apocalypse, the pyjama apocalypse is doing me in. Mental health is hanging by a shoe-string and if I have to watch one more episode of Peppa Pig I'm not sure what I'll do.
This is all an excuse for my lack of production. But maybe, just once, it is valid. I've been stuck in my little house for 3 months with two children and little sign of this being over any time soon. The only consolation is the publishers have been working hard on translations and audio books. I'll talk about them again soon in attempt to get back to work. But for now, I'm working on staying calm, keeping my sanity and hoping soon we'll come out of this into a new world that is a bit better than the one we left behind in the Spring.