And what a year it's been.
On this day one year ago I self-published The Unseen Chronicles of Amelia Black, on the internet for the first time. What originally started as an experiment, an ambitious project, eventually, by the time of its completion became an obsession, a passion, something I've started to revolve my life around. When jobs are few and far between and personal tragedies engulf the world around me, this kind, curious, wonderful soul kept me going, gave me hope. Been the cause of many a sleepless night and many times screaming in frustration at the computer, but what you going to do...
Though my journey with Amelia Black is far from over - the sequel is currently in the works - I just wanted to take the time to say, from the bottom of my heart, thank you to anyone who has supported me. It's been an bizarre and overwhelming experience. If you've bought the book, enjoyed the book, tried the Kindle sample, wrote reviews, interviewed me, had me on the radio, stocked the paperback, marvelled at Gillian's incredible illustrations. Thank you.
And so the journey continues.
I've mentioned this a few times over the past few months but I have been preparing my second book, A Boy Named Hogg for publication. Eventually. Possibly late September. Possibly earlier. Possibly slightly later. Either way it's finished and is definitely coming. Like Amelia Black before it I've decided, for at least one more time, to self-publish the book.
Providing where you go on the internet, the concept of e-publishing is understandably a very prickly subject. If you use it as a get rich quick scheme then you probably deserve to fall flat on your face. I originally did it because it felt like the best option available to me at the time, yes I probably jumped on a bandwagon, my sales are humble at best. I don't like to get involved in the politics. I just love to write, how it gets out into the world is the last thing on my mind.
It's a hard slog, sometimes insanely frustrating but so far it's been incredibly rewarding also. I wouldn't have traded the experiences I've had, the people I've met, the bizarre opportunities that's been presented to me for anything. From here on it's up to me how I take them and move forward. I'm not going to gush and say dreams come true or stay positive and it'll all turn out for the best. I'm just saying, by my own admission, it's a slow process but I'm in it for the long haul because somewhere along the way I've had a lot of people put their faith in me and one day I hope I can repay that.
And to you readers, both old and new, I finally present the first chapter of my upcoming fantastical folk tale, A Boy Named Hogg. I hope you welcome these characters and their stories into your hearts the same way you did with the ones which populate the world of Amelia Black.
Was it love?
“Nothing more than empty lovers through a window,” she replied.
Some people may tell the tale differently but rarely with the level of truth as it was through my own eyes. Who am I you ask? My role in this story is not important. Think of me as a curious observer, nothing more.
In the beginning, William Arthur Hogg was a shipbuilder’s son. And like his father before him he too became a shipbuilder, living modestly in a small house in a rough part of an old town on an old street called Willow Lane.
He married at the age of twenty four to a young woman by the name of Rosamund Duffy, or simply Rosie for short. How they met doesn’t matter, nor whether it was really true love. Regrettably their honeymoon period lasted approximately two days, sixteen hours, twenty five minutes and forty three seconds. This was the moment William found out the famous shipyard was closing, and he was now without a job.
William tried and tried, and with all the good intentions in the world he could not find another job. Nobody wanted to employ a young man of limited schooling for anything of real substance and a decent wage. Those good intentions and positive feelings became increasingly bitter and increasingly darker as the months went by.
This feeling of misery was compounded by the news his fearful, beautiful wife departed upon him one dreary and dejected afternoon. A piece of news normally received with gleeful joy and unrivalled happiness. Yet for William, this news was met with dread, resentment and an unsurpassable amount of anxiety.
He was soon to be a father.
It was the morning of April 11th. It’s often remembered as a date which echoed through history as the most unremarkable day, since records began. The records were wrong.
The hospital was St. Raphael’s. The midwife’s name was Mildred Warbler. The timeless smell of disinfectant still echoes through time as potent as it was the day the baby was born.
“Steady now deary,” said the midwife, calmly. “You’re now mother to a healthy baby boy.” Rosie cried with joy upon seeing the baby’s face. “Isn’t he a cute one,” said the Midwife, earnestly. “Now don’t think I say that about all the newborns, ‘cause I don’t. He looks like a special ‘un. I’ll go get the father. I’m sure he’ll be utterly thrilled!’”
“No, don’t...” said Rosie.
“He’s not here,” she explained, steadily. “He’s...working.”
“Well he’s got to pay the bills I suppose, after all there’s an extra mouth to feed now isn’t there?” said the midwife, with a hearty chuckle.
Rosie said nothing to correct her.
Instead she gazed upon the baby once more, which gazed straight back at her, barely able to open his eyes. She smiled profusely, yet sadness prevailed at the sobering realisation William was not present to share the momentous occasion. The woman knew well the child was conceived on a night, shrouded in desperation. He was just born into a mess. The child’s name was Sebastian Hogg. Being just a tiny newborn, right now, he doesn’t quite know this but this is his story.
This is the story about how he saved the world.