Many of my readers have been asking about the progress of my new novel, which they have heard rumours about from various quarters........ Well, the first thing to do is to make the point that the new story has NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with Mistress Martha. I have been feeling like a change of genre for some time, and with 8 novels about my feisty heroine done and dusted, I thought there was more than a little danger of getting stuck in a rut, living too comfortably in the comfort zone, and assorted other cliches. So I thought that something more challenging might be a good idea. Something aimed more specifically at a male readership (although there are many happy male readers of the Angel Mountain books, the fact of the matter is that most of my readers have been women, since women do seem to be more interested in historical fiction with a strong female lead character. Strange, that....)
Anyway, for the last year or so I have been mulling over the basic storyline for a new novel set in Greenland, based very loosely indeed on my experiences as joint leader of the Oxford University East Greenland Expedition 1962. (Yes, it was a VERY long time ago........) But it was during the Cold War, and gradually a "Cold War Chiller Thriller" has taken shape.
During the summer break in Sweden -- in June and July -- I worked out quite a detailed synopsis, and I started on the first draft of the novel at the beginning of August. Now it's done. Three weeks of fairly intensive work, culminating in a mad session last Tuesday during which I banged out the last 4 chapters and 16,000 words. I thought afterwards, having worked so fast, that maybe it was all rubbish, but Inger has assured me that it was not, and that she really quite enjoyed the last part of the novel even though she is a woman. So far so good........ now I need at least six male readers to have a critical go at the text, and to be honest with me! After that, I have to decide what to do with the manuscript -- agent, publisher, Ebook, self-publication? Decisions, decisions......
I have made two rather nice location maps, so that people can follow the story more effectively. Here they are (click to enlarge):
At the height of the Cold War in 1962, ten young men arrive in the Arctic wilderness of East Greenland, on an expedition from Oxford University. The party is led by Ed Lawson and Stephen Hanna, both just 22 years old. They expect to enjoy the adventure of a lifetime, and to undertake scientific work in the most spectacular fjord landscape on earth. But as soon as they arrive, things start to go wrong, and following a series of close encounters with death they realize that their misfortunes are not occurring purely by chance. The explorers are too inquisitive and too intelligent for their own good, and after some weeks in the field they realize that they know too much, and that they are being hunted down by an invisible and implacable enemy. Prematurely their research plans have to be abandoned, and their adventure turns into a fight for survival. As the death toll mounts, the people of a small Inuit settlement are also caught up in a conflict which they want nothing to do with. At last the explorers get angry, and although they have no weapons and no means of transport, they are fit and they know how to survive in the Arctic. Their only option is to go onto the offensive, in the full knowledge that they will probably not come out of the conflict alive.
Just one other thing. Because of possible sensitivity, I have changed three key place nemes in the manuscript. So Mesters Vig has become Blyhavn, Scoresbysund (the settlement) has become Sandvig, and Malmbjerg (Erzberg) has become Himmelbjerg. Is that all clear? Good.