The Artist and the Serpent is the working title of my first novel. It is all plotted and I’ve written a chunk of it (twelve chapters at time of posting). Despite a great deal of newly-developed discipline regarding writing, my progress is slower than I would like. While I try not to let housework get in the way of writing, I suspect that this approach would begin to attract unwanted attention from the authorities if I failed to feed, clean or clothe the children, or allowed them to run feral in the neighbourhood. And fair enough, really.
My son, when he was six, kindly designed a cover for the book. He has also offered to help me hole-punch the pages and tie them all together when I’m done, which is a relief, because in that format I think I would lack the stamina for a print run of more than three copies.
Obviously a book with this snazzy cover art will sell itself, but for those who judge a book initially by its back cover write-up, here’s a taste:
London, 1939: the eve of the second world war
Lucy Danes is no sleuth. She is a painter, rendering her subjects in the heroic trappings of Greek and Roman mythic heroes. Her work is bright, bold and larger than life. She always left the murky shadows of mystery to her husband, Detective Inspector Paul Danes. But now Paul is dead, Lucy’s life is in pieces, and a month on the police still have no suspects, no leads, no idea who would murder one of their own. Despairing of justice, Lucy tries to lose herself in her work, but then a letter arrives, speaking from beyond the grave, and reveals that Paul had known he was in danger.
Afraid she is being followed, Lucy soon realises that the danger did not die with her husband. Her own life depends on finding Paul’s murderer. But how can she succeed where the police have failed, when she does not know whom to trust, each discovery creates more questions than it answers, and she herself is under suspicion? As Lucy follows the trail of clues she is drawn into an unknown chapter of Paul’s life: his military service in the Great War. If she can survive the sinister world of spygames and festering vendettas what she finds may bring justice for the murdered man, but it also threatens to destroy Lucy’s cherished memories of her heroic husband, and even unwrite their rapturous love story.
And this is why housework seems dull. Who has time for laundry when there are intrigue, romance, myth and espionage to write about? If you are all set to rush out and pre-order The Artist and the Serpent, I regret to inform you that we aren’t yet set up for that.
First I need to finish the book. Sigh.
I am trying. Double sigh.
Rest assured when it happens there will be much much noise in this space regarding this accomplishment. For now I shall restrict myself to this bit of shameless self-promotion:
If you are a literary agent or publisher and you are utterly captivated by, or at least mildly curious about, The Artist and the Serpent, please feel free to contact me at adventuresconsidered [at] gmail [dot] com for a full synopsis and/or first three chapters. Set me a challenge. I always work better with a deadline.