A major historical event. A time travel story.
Seems straightforward enough. Only for me, it wasn’t.
There was I, scouring the interwebs a few years back when I saw a news story from the writing world that delighted me. Stephen King’s new book coming out was the news. I’m a huge fan of King, his book On Writing about the craft of writing remains one of the best around, whether or not you’re a fan of the man himself, so I was suitably delighted. “Yes!” I shouted. I read on, overjoyed at this news. It’s about the assassination of JFK. Oh my. My favourite author has written a book about the grand daddy of conspiracy theories (something else I’m fascinated by - obvious to anyone who’s read The Unexplained Files/this blog/my Twitter feed (another aside here - retweets do not equal endorsement. Don’t @ me. Or if you do, prepare to be ignored. I have zero time nor tolerance for cancel culture. But I digress)). “YES!” I scream. It feels like my fave author has written a book just for me! I can’t get enough of this news. Hungry for more I read on. It’s about time travel…
“YE— … … bollocks.”
OK, now I feel sick. Sick and excited. Excited because I have got to read this book. Sick because I know anyone who knows me, knows I love Stephen King. So when I tell them about my time travel book based around a major historical event, they’ll think I’ve “borrowed” it. And who would blame them? That’s what I’d think.
“The first draft of anything is shit.” - Ernest Hemingway.
The fact was, the first draft of my time slip novel based around the events of 9/11 was already tucked away in a dark corner on my laptop. Complete. Back then, I was more into screenwriting (something I still love, and have recently returned to, but that’s another story entirely), and the first draft of that book was rougher than even Hemingway could imagine. Truth was, while the story was there, my writing needed a lot of development before I was ready to share that book with the world. A full four years passed between first draft and publication.
Another question I get asked about that book is “Was it difficult writing about such a sensitive subject?” If I tell you King had reservations about his JFK book more than fifty years after the event, then that should tell you everything. I had doubts. Serious ones. They were with me every single time I sat down to write Ghosts of September. Maybe that is something I’ll go into in more detail another day. For now all I’ll say is I hope my respect for the strength, will and resilience of the people of New York shines through in that book.
In this blog I'll be bringing to you short tales of things that go bump in the night, true stories of weird and unexplained events, and the real-life news of all things odd and macabre, and entertain you along the way.