March 2018: Staying cosy…

So, the Beast from the East has returned to the UK but luckily, I’m all tucked up in my office with the heating going flat out. I love being snowed in, but must admit that’s only when I don’t have to be going anywhere…

Late last month I flew up to Tromsø to experience Norway in winter. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered at one point it was colder in the UK than at 71° north! That said, it wasn’t exactly tropical up there, and standing at Nordkapp (the most northerly point of Europe, next stop the North Pole) in a biting Arctic blast did nothing but confirm it was one of the most hostile environments I’ve experienced, and that I’ll never become an Arctic explorer. I truly hate the cold.

I would love to set a book in Norway, but at the moment I’m concentrating on a purely English-based novel, so maybe later. I’ve got three strong ideas for my stand-alone novel, which I sent to my agent this morning to see what he thinks. Now, I just have to wait…

…which is part of an author’s life. Waiting for agents, an editor’s view on your work, the editor’s notes, the copy-edit, the proof edit… Sometimes it’s frustrating, especially when I want to get stuck into writing the book, but other times it’s a relief to have a pause and step back from a project. Take some creative time to relax. This is when I find ideas start to really coalesce, and right now I’m already wishing I hadn’t sent my agent my synopsis this morning as I’ve had another, rather excellent twist to add to the book!

I love being snowed in, but must admit that’s only when I don’t have to be going anywhere… (© CJ Carver)

I shall no doubt be scribbling notes until I hear from him, but in the meantime

I’m going to nip up to Scotland for a 70th birthday. As TM Logan, author of the “addictive and compelling” 29 Seconds said to me: “You’re ALWAYS travelling!”

I told him I couldn’t help it – I have the ‘explorer gene’ D4DR. That’s my excuse, anyway, ever since I read Tom Cheshire’s excellent book about the extraordinary Piccard family, and which I mentioned in my last blog. Neil Armstrong says, “There exist few families in the world of exploration who have had a vision more vast, ambitious and creative.” Yep. They’re an incredible bunch. Inspiring. Jaw-dropping.

Where the Piccards flew balloons into the stratosphere and dived to the bottom of the earth in submarines, I stuck to the ground in Norway and hired a self-drive dog sled. It was one of the most fun things I’ve done in ages, and if you haven’t experienced it yet, I can’t exhort you more to put it on your bucket list. 16 kilometres of exhilarating snow-dog fun.

Travelling’s not just great for new experiences. For me, it means I can catch up on my reading. My book of the month is The Sunday Times Bestseller The Woman in the Window by A. J. Finn. Apparently the author got the idea from Hitchcock’s Rear Window and although it’s very Hitchcockian (is that a word?!) it’s a totally modern story.

CJ Carver's March 2018 book of the month
My book of the month

Psychological thrillers aren’t my usual fare – I’m not a fan of victim-led stories – but this one’s a corker. It’s extremely well written for a start, and it’s filled with suspense and surprises. I read it over the weekend and loved it.

Right. I’d better go and pack for my trip to Scotland. (Thermals, hat & gloves, boots, thermals, thermals, thermals).

I hope you’re all keeping warm and reading some great books. Hopefully the next time I blog, it’ll be spring!