The Black Rook will be released in 16 days, and I can scarcely contain my excitement.
Despite a whole host of life’s interruptions and obstacles, I am finally able to point to a date on a calendar and say, “On that day my debut novel will be published.”
That date will be the 1st of January 2023. A perfect way to start the year. For approximately ten years, the story that came to be known as The Black Rook has stood paramount at the back of my mind. I began scribbling my initial ideas for the novel in my first year of university whilst studying for a BA in Fine Art at the University of Bolton. By the end of my three-year degree, I had drafted and edited the 500-page novel. However, due to crippling self-doubt in myself as a writer, and following a deep, dark depression that I fell into following my graduation from university, for many years The Black Rook never saw the light of day.
From time to time, I returned to The Black Rook and edited the novel in full. I would commence these edits with the mindset of “This will be the final edit and when I’m done it’ll be polished enough to approach publishers with.” However, the demon of self-doubt never quietened down, as I never felt confident in the piece of literature I’d created.
This cycle continued until 2020. When the awful pandemic struck, I’d practically given up on my ambitions as an author. I told myself that my only option in life was to pursue a “normal” career in management and that my dreams of sustaining a living off being an author were at best fanciful and at worst delusional. But when the first lockdown was imposed in England, I turned to my The Black Rook manuscript and decided to give it one more go. After all, I had been furloughed from my job. I needed something to do with this newfound free time.
And so, I embarked on one final draft of The Black Rook. When I finished, I approached literary agents, but after my emails fell on deaf ears, I decided to approach small presses with the novel instead.
After months of rejection, I almost gave up. I was on the verge of making the decision to self-publish the novel instead, and then suddenly I received an email from a small publisher based in Ontario, Canada, offering to publish my novel.
Now, approaching the release date of the novel, I have to pinch myself to realise this is all really happening.
I hope that you will enjoy reading The Black Rook as much as I did writing it.
In the meantime, I have a few short stories and poems here on my website, and you can find my Medium link at the top of this page.
I hope you’re all doing well and have a lovely Christmas time!