I find the length of time spent on developing each book depends upon its style, the topic and the feedback I receive during each story’s development. 

Although an Indie author, I still adhere to the belief that major legwork must be put in before a story is ready for publishing. This includes having people critique each story – often numerous times, putting the books in for critique, manuscript assessments and going through the editing process. There is a real fear of receiving the feedback people give, but these are crucial steps if a book is to have any chance of success.

A Big Blue Boat and its first sequel came together like a dream.

Over a period of a month, my first book was written, edited, reviewed, and ready for illustrating. It was the positive feedback received that put it on the road to publication – until then, it was just a story for the grandchildren. I will admit that if I had my time again, I would rework some of it, but that is a result of experience which has grown over the past two plus years. That aside, the book is still a winner, and I’m really happy with it.

Despite being shortlisted, the first sequel – I shall call it ‘Number 2’ until the title is revealed –  has undergone further work. The changes are small, but they make for a better story. If you love Bill Martin Jr’s ‘Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?’ I believe you are going to love this rhyming story about the cycle of life on the Indian Ocean. 

Number 3 has been what I call the ‘bane of my life’, and is nothing like the first draft that was commenced in February, 2020. Now at draft 45, I am starting to see daylight at the end of the tunnel. From not placing in any comps in 2020, to see it attain finalist stage last year was a real achievement. This baby has just undergone a manuscript assessment. The feedback was great and has been a great assist in taking the story to another level.

Then there is my first true non – fiction story, which commenced life as a Big Blue Boat sequel and didn’t quite work. With a new focal point, it’s back to the drawing board for this beauty.

The other factor that comes into play are the number of stories I have in the pipeline. Some are no more than an idea or a sentence or two and others are at the stage where they are ready to undergo critique.

What is often referred to by people as ‘writer’s block’ also comes into play. It’s that time when something isn’t quite right and the manuscript is put away until the solution arrives. Sometimes this can be only a day or two, at others it’s much longer. Yesterday, after a 12 month hiatus, I had one of those lightbulb moments on prequel I have in the works.