I owe it all to my good friend Paul T. He sent me the link to the competition webpage when a mate of his told him that the deadline had been extended. Twisted Wing had been finished a few months back, and I was at the stage of writing synopses and drafting letters to agencies. It seemed like a great opportunity, and I sent it off with my fingers crossed.
I've been writing since I was a little kid. Short stories to start with, then the ideas for novels kicked in. Stephen King reckons you should write first thing in the morning, last thing at night; any chance you get. "Easy for you to say," I thought. "You're a multi-millionaire, mate." Then I read that before he sold Carrie he was working two jobs and writing at 3am before going to bed, and I felt bad.
I like to have at least a few hours free before I even sit down to my laptop, so I mainly write at weekends. Sometimes I'm lucky to get a thousand words out, but sometimes you have one of those magical days when it just rushes out of you and you find it hard to keep up with the words in your head. Writing the last two chapters of Twisted Wing was like that - I meant to shut down the computer at 7pm and have some dinner, but it was half eleven before I stopped typing!
Twisted Wing is set in Cambridge, where I live and where I went to Uni. I love Morse, but this isn't your standard police procedural - the story's mainly told from the point of view of the students who find themselves being picked off one by one. It's nice and violent too (I don't do genteel poisonings), though we're not in Bret Easton Ellis territory just yet! Here's the synopsis that was used in the Long Barn Books press release:
The claustrophobic environment of Ariel College, Cambridge has become the hunting ground of a serial killer.
For the students, a siege mentality has developed following weeks of media interest in "the Cambridge Butcher". College life has become not about surviving their exams, but about surviving full stop.
Forensic psychiatrist Matthew Denison is sure that his traumatised patient, student Olivia Corscadden, has the killer's identity locked up in her memory. That within the little clique she belonged to lurks someone with a grudge. Someone who thought: 'what's a little decapitation between friends?' And that someone is just getting started...