#GuestPost #HesGone #AlexClare

He's Gone

How do you find a missing child when his mother doesn't believe you have the right to even exist? When Detective Inspector Roger Bailley returns to work as Robyn, all she wants is to get on with the job she loves while finally being herself. When toddler Ben Chivers is snatched from a shopping centre on her first day back at work, Robyn has to find Ben and herself as she deals with the reactions of her police colleagues, the media and her own daughter.

This sounds like a great read - and it's definitely on my TBR pile! I'm joined today by Alex who has very generously written me a guest post about being a writer. I hope you enjoy reading it and I hope you have a look out for He's Gone which was published in 2016. And now, I'll hand you over to Alex!

'Oh, you write, do you?'

Being a writer can mean many things but it also means you want to talk about writing, whether it’s trying to fill a plot hole or whether or not to stick in a prologue (don’t). You naturally  seek out other writers because only they understand what you are going through, struggling to find the right way to express something or suffering the umpteenth rejection.We also talk about people in great detail, then, when someone is wondering whether they have met them, admit they are fictional. In short, we can be pretty boring.

Of all the reactions you get when you tell someone you’re a published author, the most irritating was the person who said ‘oh, yes, I’ve been meaning to do that for a while, it’s easy enough.’ 

Maybe he thought I’d self-published, I didn’t hang around long enough to find out. Far more fun to find another real writer and talk about how HARD everything is. What he should have done was start a conversation the correct way. This could be anything along the lines of ‘gosh, well done’; ‘publishing a book must be very difficult’; ‘I don’t know how you find the time’, allowing me to modestly explain how yes, it was hard but I managed to struggle through.

Then I listened to myself as I was having such a conversation and I did have to tell myself to get a grip. After all, writing is not like digging a ditch. (For the record, I once decided to create a vegetable patch and dug over a patch of earth approximately six feet square to a depth of around eight inches. I couldn’t move for a couple of days. I will never have a buried corpse in any of my novels unless a JCB is involved as I don’t believe any modern person is capable of the kind of sustained effort to dig a proper grave.) There is also the point that no one made me write. I have a full-time job which supports me. Writing is a hobby and a pleasure which has, through a combination of effort and luck, become something more…

And yet, over the last two years as I have struggled with my editing and then finding a home for my debut novel He’s Gone, my work colleagues in my day job have been a constant source of support. They asked about progress, they made encouraging noises after yet another rejection and have been generous with their congratulations when the book was published. And as if that wasn’t enough, some of them bought the book as well. So I do now agree with the idea that it’s not what you know, it’s who. Not because I knew anyone in the publishing industry but because when you are surrounded by positive people who are happy to celebrate success, life gets a whole lot easier…

Thanks so much Alex, that's such a great sentiment and such great advice for all of us - writers or not! Thank you!

And now a bit more about the book and Alex!

He's Gone

He's Gone is a police procedural featuring DI Robyn Bailley. Robyn is a trans woman, who returns to work on the first day of living as a woman to find herself thrown into a high-profile case involving a snatched toddler. Robyn must deal with the reactions of her colleagues, the media and the public as she searches for little Ben.

He's Gone
After nearly twenty years of being a committed corporate person, Alex Clare was made redundant. She had always enjoyed writing, studying fiction part-time through the Open University and managing to complete a novel in her commuting time, though no one had ever read it. Now, with lots more time on her hands, there was the opportunity to take writing more seriously. She began to enter competitions and joined a writing group, which encouraged her to try out new genres and styles. After a period focusing on short stories, she wanted to try another novel. Inspiration came from watching Parliament debate the Equal Marriage Act in 2013. Astounded by the intensity of feeling generated, she created a fictional world to explore some of the issues and attitudes. Now working again she is working on her second novel, in her usual place, on a London commuter train.

Twitter: @_alexandraclare


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