First of all, apologies for being a bit quiet here, on social media, and in the JD Kirk VIP Club newsletters recently. Due to a veritable clusterfuck of family health issues, the Christmas period was significantly busier and more stressful than it might otherwise have been, and I’ve fallen behind on… well, pretty much everything.

Except writing.

I’ve written more than ever, in fact, because I find writing to be the ultimate stress destroyer. Having a bad day? Just create a fictional character and kill them off. Stressed out over the state of the world? Create an evil villain to be defeated by the forces of good.

The result is that, over the past 33 straight days (yes, that even includes Christmas Day), I wrote the entirety of The One That Got Away, the first DI Heather Filson novel.

I use a website called Pacemaker.Press to track my daily, weekly, and monthly word counts. It allows you to set a word count and a finish date, and then calculates how many words you need to write each day to hit that target. You can fiddle with it to block out weekends, holidays, etc, so it’s very flexible, and highly recommended if you’re thinking of writing a book of your own.

Originally, I expected this book to be around 80,000 words long, which is roughly the average length of my DCI Logan series, although slightly on the lower end of the scale. Over the course of writing it, though, I had to adjust my word count target, because I realised the book was going to be longer than expected. I set it to 95,000, with a view to be finished by the end of January.

Instead, thanks to a particularly fruitful last few days, It’s 100,000 words long, and I finished it yesterday. In case you’re interested to see what the daily targets and word counts looked like, you should be able to see a nice graph below.

If the graph isn’t showing up, or if you just want to see a bit more information, click here.

The first draft, of course, isn’t the end of the process. Now, I’ll take a few days to read over the manuscript, before sending it goes through the various stages of the editing process. Only then, once all the plot holes have been sewn up, and most of the typos squashed (there’s always bloody one) will it be ready to send off to the printers and the audiobook producer.

I was a little worried when I started this book that it might just turn out to be another DCI Logan novel, albeit without DCI Logan in it. Thankfully, it quickly became clear that this book was very much its own thing. It doesn’t have the insane OTT violence of Hoon, and it’s not exactly a police procedural, like the Logan series. Instead it dips into psychological thriller, and it’s probably the darkest book I’ve written.

It might also be the best book I’ve ever written. But I’ll let readers decide that for themselves.

It’s not just dark, though. It’s funny, too, I hope. It’s rare that I laugh at the stuff I’m writing, but there were a couple of scenes in this book that literally made me laugh out loud when they popped into my head. Heather, too, has more of a sense of humour than I previously gave her credit for.

The book isn’t set in the Highlands, but it’s firmly tangled up in the growing DCI Logan Universe. Several characters from the Logan series, both major and minor, make appearances, while several new ones are introduced.

I really hope you’ll give Heather a chance to impress when The One That Got Away is published in May.

But for now, I’d best go get back to editing. Before I go, here’s a little trailer for the book to whet your appetite.