...The renowned Professor Crazy of BSCreview conducted this interview with me. He covered the books past, present and future, with some very detailed questions.



ABSORPTION... the first volume of the Ragnarok trilogy, and the book I'm working on right now. The cover art is now up at online booksellers, so it must be official. All I have to do is finish the 2nd draft.

Er, before I do the 3rd draft, of course.

So the terrific Jim Burns is the artist, and it was a great honour to have him do another Meaney cover.

Thanks, Jim!

...The Darker Domain by Val McDermid. I read some of her early novels published by The Women's Press, then her Kate Brannigan novels, all before she became Really Famous with her Tony Hill books. This book flawlessly integrates two timelines and arguably three stories. If it seems an easy read it's because of her excellent crafting.

Since I've never met her, I've inserted a pic of me with a different Val -- Val Knight and her hubby Vince, two lovely people who are both very accomplished hypnotists, and have a terrific sense of humour. This can be an interesting combination...

Oh, yeah... One of Ms McDermid's Tony Hill books features officers searching the flat of someone who turns out to be the psycho killer. What do they spot? Iain Banks novels on his bookshelves. Looks like an open and shut case to me, guv. Bang to rights.



...was a very martial location in London, where I trained with the renowned Enoeda Sensei for 5 or 6 years. This clip is from a TV programme about local activities in London. It's quite jokey, and that's okay.

What it fails to show is the absolute charisma of Enoeda Sensei, and the implacable control his voice had over trainees' nervous systems. I've trained with other world famous martial artists in various disciplines, and no one has impressed as much.

The dojo was on the top floor of the building that contained the old swimming baths. Climbing the steps to the dojo was a warm-up in its own right.

One of things I loved about the place was the mix of people (including many foreign visitors). When I'd just started training there (already with over 15 years Shotokan training, plus Judo and Wu Shu Kwan) I watched two guys sparring after the session. They were knocking bits off each other, with a level of contact I wasn't used to at that time. They looked like scary Neanderthals.

Afterwards, in the showers, their conversation went like this:
"So how did your interview go?"
"I had to talk about punctuated equilibrium."
"You mean in contrast to strict neo-Darwinism?"
"Yeah, exactly..."

It was a place of surprises. And sometimes blood.


So I'm reminded, as I click away here, of that cartoon where Dilbert ponders: How did people manage to look busy before the invention of the mouse?

In fact -- oh, my gosh, a nearly serious point -- in the world of IT, it has long been the case that managers who fail to hear lots of clicking and tapping from the developers start panicking. If someone's not typing in code, how can they possibly be working?

(Is anyone else old enough to remember when IT wasn't called that? And developers were programmers? Quiz question for 30 points: Which department did programmers work in 30 years ago?)

Staring into space is work. For writers, software developers, and anyone who's expecting to come up with something new -- or even needs to mentally rehearse a physical skill.

You software developers have the luxury of so much time to pore through the excellent Use Cases your analysts have created for you, don't you? And you spend ages reifying those specs into classes and components, then refactoring in the light of design patterns, not to mention architectural constraints, before typing in a line of code, don't you? And you surely write the test harnesses first, right?

And is that a Mexican swine flying past my window?

All of this is a preamble to mention that I should not be blogging yet, because I've got a book to write! I'm fifty thousand words into the second draft of ABSORPTION, being the first volume of the RAGNAROK trilogy. Second draft, for me, is a very kinaesthetic process: grappling with text, getting the right feel for the structure, cutting ruthlessly.

Okay, I'm enthused. Back to the grappling mat. Er, the other laptop. That's the one that's permanently offline to the internet/web. Me, paranoid?

Fly straight, Pilots.