The future / Monday, 21st October 2019

What one man will be working on

I’m just about recovered from my travels. Had some weird weird dreams where I swear I’ve been sleeping in a berth on a ferry somewhere in Washington state, but it’s really really similar to my bedroom at home but it clearly isn’t the same place. And of course it is. Must be a mild form of PTSD or something. Or jetlag, which I suffered badly from over there, waking between 4:30am and 5:30am every day. I know why Starbucks open so early, it’s to cater for jetlagged Brits.

Anyway, it was a gruelling trip. Not work as in events or anything like that, but work as in being constantly switched on and taking everything in. Soaking up the location, the people, the sights, the sounds, the smells. I walked 30,000 steps every day in Seattle. I visited a few crazy places I’d earmarked for FBI book 2, including taking said ferry journey across the Puget Sound to a small town called Bremerton. I made a pilgrimage to Kurt Cobain’s house in the Lake Washington district of Seattle (1.5miles from our airbnb). I sat in a train for 12 hours through Washington and Oregon. I drove through Oregon to the small town of Weed in northern California, following the 65 mile trail to Mount Shasta on the horizon — I swear it was like driving through a Reacher book cover, just missing the ex-services dude walking into the distance. We drove down to Redding in California, and there’s absolutely no reason to drive there, it’s a nothing town. We drove to Portland, but on the way I KILLED THE CAR by putting diesel in a gasoline tank. In Britain, it’s really hard to buy a petrol SUV, but not in America. And the Enterprise folks didn’t think to mention it to a limey-ass SOB like me. The tow truck guy picked us up in Yreka, CA (surely an abuse of Eureka, which is over on the Oregon coast), and he let us ride in his cab while he blasted out his prepper audiobook at ludicrous volume. A prepper is someone preparing for the apocalypse. Walmart sell magazines for preppers. Anyway, after the greasiest-ever lunch (half a packet of pastrami and a load of cheese in a fried sandwich) at Medford International (I suspect they have one flight a day to Mexico or Canada), I drove us up to Portland through rural Oregon. Portland was a blast, a really cool city, full of hispters doing their thang. I much preferred Seattle though, as it felt real. Glad it’s where I’m writing about. Powell’s books is incredible, a whole city block filled with books. I had to jettison lots of stinking clothes to fit all the books I bought in my case back. Three flights in 36 hours and I was back home in the borders, feeling like I’d never been away. Funny how it works like that.

Okay, so now I’m back. What does this week hold? Well, I’ve got to start working on the second FBI book, which I’ll hammer on with on Monday. I’ve made a lot of changes to it based on location research, but also from working on the revised synopsis to book 3, which needed a hell of a lot of work. But it’s opened up a can of worms in the ending to book 2, so I’m having to rework that as well. All fun and games, but it won’t impact the writing of book 2 next week. So it’ll be heads down thumbs up from me next week. I’ve got about 90,000 words to write in about four weeks, but the outline’s 25,000 words and has been signed off by my editor. The biggest issue will be keeping it short rather than having enough.

And that’s all for this week. Hope you’re enjoying these — next week’s will be back to normal, hopefully along with me.

— Ed