Chronicles of Mar Word Count: 268,235

If ever anyone asks me why I write, I generally answer with a shrug. Or a pointed glare. Or I ask my kids to leave me alone. Like a lot of writers that I’ve spoken to on the topic, I’m not really all that sure what drives this weird compulsion. It’s not for fame and fortune, that’s for damn sure. All I know is that I’ve tried not being a writer, from time to time, and it never seems to quite fit.

Still, there are some benefits. I’m not entirely sure what they all are, and some of them only really exist in my head. Intangible, far-off benefits that might materialise if I really think hard enough about it. 

This week, as I crack on with the first draft of The Chronicles of Mar book three, I’ve only gone and stumbled across an advantage I’d never noticed before.

My current base of operations is a town called Whitby, on the north eastern coast of England. It’s lovely little town, home to a goth weekend, some truly excellent pubs, and more Dracula lore than you can shake a stake at. But since moving here six months ago, it’s also been bloody freezing. Not just cold, but really, really, interminably and unreasonably cold.

It hasn’t helped matters that we’ve been subjected to the kind of winter that George RR Martin keeps banging on about. We’ve been snowed into our tiny village on three separate occasions, and the talk now is that we might get snowed in once again this week, despite it being over halfway through March and that’s JUST NOT ON.

My writing office is on the top floor of my house, and it’s lovely. A great big expanse of space with a honking great desk in the middle of it, behind which I can sit and feel like a proper author. However, being as it’s at the top of the house, it’s also the coldest part of the house. And, let me tell you, typing with heavy layers on isn’t much fun. The amount of times this winter that I’ve accidentally deleted a passage of writing with a trailing jumper sleeve is, frankly, higher than it should be.

So, colour me very happy earlier this week when I made the aforementioned discovery. I can generate heat with only my mind

Before you ask, no I’ve not gone mad from the cold sea breeze. No, for the past few days I’ve been writing a series of scenes set in Texas, over a hundred years from now. The state has become a desert, its heat barely survivable. One of my main characters, on the run from an authoritarian police state, tries to shelter in this inhospitable land. It’s tough for that character, especially with the murderous villains on her trail, but as I’ve been writing it, I discovered that I was no longer noticing the cold.

Even with only a t-shirt from my carefully constructed collection of black band tees, I was typing in relative temperate comfort, despite the perpetual cold. This was marvellous, I thought. I can summon heat only with my mind. I am, after all, godlike.

Unfortunately, with the so-called Beast From The East returning to our shores for the third time, I’ve realised that I’m nearly done torturing this poor character with insane temperatures, and it’s time for me to turn back to another character. One who lives in… Whitby.

Oh well, it was warm while it lasted.

Blood on the Motorway: An apocalyptic trilogy of murder and stale sandwiches is out now in ebook and print from Amazon and all other good bookstores. You can get the first book free by joining my mailing list.

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