As I get ready to turn my machines off for over a week, the time has come for a brief reflection on this year. I know I still owe posts for my summer travels, for many things, but now's not the time.
This year has left me totally and utterly exhausted, as never before. It's been one of incredible highs and seemingly unsurmountable lows, of long periods of creativity and even longer periods of frustrated creativity because I've had to shoe-horn myself into the role of a marketeer rather than just being able to write or think. For someone who is by nature very shy and retiring, that's been a bit of a trial.
To have my first novel published at the age of 51 has naturally been one of the highs; to be shopping around my second novel to other publishers because it's not considered a commercial proposition by my current publisher is one of the lows. My mother's death in June at the age of 86 was the very very low, soothed only by a sense of relief that her long struggle with dementia was finally over.
All of these things I would not have been able to survive without the support, first and foremost, of my wife and children, nor without the willing arms of old friends and new. That has been the biggest high of this year - to realise that my family love me through thick and thin, to make, at my advanced age, new friends who, I think, have become friends for life. Oddly enough, two of those are from Radioland; the redoubtable Simon Saynor from Sine FM, and the cuddly Stephen Bumfrey from BBC Radio Norfolk. Thank you, both of you.
Thank you, too, to the book bloggers, too numerous to mention, who have been kind enough to review Dead Men, and to review it positively, and to let me revel in the glow of having written a critically acclaimed novel. Thanks, too, to those who nominated Dead Men for the Guardian First Book Award.
Over the past three years, I have written 5 novels. It's time for a rest, time to re-evaluate what I do and why I do it.
I wish you all a peaceful Christmas and a fruitful New Year. May your gods, or whatever spirits guide you, watch over you and yours, and bring you what you wish for most.