I would like to welcome the wonderful Eric McFarlane to my blog today. I cannot wait to read his new release, A Clear Solution– being married to a scientist, who once lost his job in similar circumstances, I am sure I am going to be chuckling my way through the whole thing!!
Over to you Eric…
First of all thanks, Jenny, for allowing me to post on your blog.
I couldn’t quite believe it when I heard that my comic crime novel A Clear Solution had been accepted by Accent Press. The novel is a zany light-hearted comedy with a protagonist who always seems to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Rather than blether on about the novel I thought I would say something about how it came into being as its gestation period was protracted.
A Clear Solution was born may years ago when I and my colleagues in the pharmaceutical company I worked in were given notice of redundancy. Devastating of course but the upside, although I didn’t recognise it at the time, was that, unusually, we were given five months notice during which the factory and my section would continue to tick over. I found that my own job, development and supervision, evaporated overnight. No more factory equated to no more development and I was left supervising a bunch of ‘old hands’ who needed little supervision. What to do?
Well, job hunting obviously and that I certainly did but that still left many hours to fill so… writing. I’d always written to some extent: notebooks filled with scribbles, short stories, travel, observation. So why not write a novel? After all novelists made lots of money, didn’t they? Write a novel and sell it. How difficult could it be? I cringe but, yes, I really was that naive.
So I started writing. It would be based in a laboratory – write what you know, and it was going to be a comedy. I’m not sure why but there it was. There was no planning, none at all. It just proceeded in a linear fashion with one situation leading to another. If stuck I asked myself what is the daftest thing that could happen at that point in the action?
Several jobs followed over the next few years and writing time dropped but I continued with the novel and wrote a flurry of short stories. Then I read a comment somewhere to the effect that there was no market for comedy. So why am I writing comedy? I dropped A Clear Solution (yes, I was that easily influenced) and started writing a thriller. This in turn was dropped when I had an idea for a novelisation of an SF short story I had written. Then, unbelievably to me now, I launched into yet another novel length project. At this point I stopped and gave myself a shake. You’ve got to finish something. So A Clear Solution it was, being the project nearest completion..
I completed it, typed the end and felt pleased with myself, then looked at what I had – a mess. So of course more months of fleshing up, cutting out and joining loose ends before I felt it was ready.
Over the previous few years I’d learned a lot about writing and the publishing industry and was no longer quite so naive, so when I sent the novel out to a couple of targeted agents I did not expect it to be instantly accepted and my expectations were met in full. During the next months and years more than fifty agents and publishers turned it down. It could have been dispiriting (OK, it was dispiriting) but there had been three handwritten notes during that time with positive comments. I’d also posted 7000 words on youwriteon.com review site and received some excellent feedback, in fact reaching the top 20 on that site in one month. If any writers are looking for feedback I’d recommend it – if you have thick skin. The comments can be brutally honest.
While this was going on I completed the thriller and the SF novel and began to look for interest in those.
I had consigned A Clear Solution to the back burner and decided that it was my candidate for self publication should I decide to take that road, when I heard about Accent Press looking for submissions in an article in Writing Magazine. They were looking for crime rather than humour, well the novel has crooked policemen and a number of suspicious deaths so why not? I sent it away and forgot about it.
I remembered about it during a holiday in Australia when checking my e-mails. There was a note from an Accent Press editor who was reading my submission and liked it. Could I send the rest? Could I? Well no, I couldn’t, not until I returned to the UK three weeks later but that didn’t seem to be a problem. The surreal element was that this editor, working for the Welsh Accent Press, was currently living not 50 miles from where I was staying in Melbourne.
So six months later here it is on the shelves. Difficult to believe. Now I have to persuade them to take the follow-on.
Corpses, cats, and chemical catastrophes…it’s all just another day in the lab!
All that lab technician Daniel Dreghorn wants is a better job, more money, a new flat – oh, and perhaps to meet a few more girls. It’s not much to ask of life, is it? All his dreams are answered with one visit to a faulty cash machine, but is it too good to be true? Yes, Daniel, it is…
Daniel’s life goes from bad to mad as a series of deaths are attributed to him and some very shady characters start to believe he is more than he seems. As Daniel’s colleagues at the university become suspicious of his actions, madcap Professor Farquharson sees him as a way of achieving a long-held desire… Can Daniel avoid being drawn into his boss’s crazy schemes? Can he avoid the attentions of a bent copper? Are Dr Bernini’s doughnuts all they seem to be?
A Clear Solution is a hilarious look at what happens when you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time – complete with homicidal bank managers.
Buy link http://myBook.to/AClearSolution
Many thanks for coming along today Eric,
I wish you much success with this novel, and the sequel!