Phew! It’s finally out there. When you finish a writing project, it can feel like you’ve just finished the last exam of your final year at university. You’re completely spent, happy that it’s over, but also satisfied that you’ve done the best that you could do.
I’m talking about my second short story collection, The Woman in Red. As I found with my previous collection, Something Special, writing the stories is just the beginning. When you go the self-publishing route, you are in fact the publisher. It’s up to you to either do the necessary work or delegate it, and that includes editing, copy editing, layout design, and, well, you have to do it all. Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) tools help a lot, but it’s up to you to make the finished product as perfect as it can be.
As for the stories themselves, they have a theme, one I wasn’t conscious of as I wrote them. Sometimes you don’t understand what you’ve done until you’ve done it. In The Woman in Red, the theme is, what if you found out that everything you thought you knew was wrong and your understanding of the world was completely upended. What then? I explore that theme in multiple genres, including crime, horror, fantasy, and children’s.
The titular story, “The Woman in Red”, has a particularly interesting history for a couple of reasons. First off, it was actually completed years ago, but subsequently sat in an editor’s in-basket for a very long time. I finally decided to liberate the story and present it here. Also interesting is the fact that it was initially meant to be another of my Castle fan fictions. To discuss how the concept grew from a fanfic to an original tale would be to spoil it, but I explore this in the postscript following the story. The funny thing is, now that the story is out there, I’ve an almost irresistible urge to write the fanfic as I originally intended. That probably won’t happen, but never say never …
This is a much shorter collection than my previous book, Something Special, because my next project will be longer form prose. You get a sneak preview of that novel here with the first chapter of A Familiar Voice, the sequel to the story “A Voice.”
If you do pick up a copy of The Woman in Red, I certainly hope you enjoy it. The beautiful cover art is courtesy of @VIIIJohannes.