Today I’m delighted to be welcoming Jem Tugwell to my blog to talk about a day in his life as a writer. His debut novel Proximity is published this week on June, 6th. With thanks to Amber Choudhary at Midas PR for inviting me to take part.
Leading the trend in speculative crime thrillers, Jem Tugwell’s thrilling and thought-provoking debut sits alongside Black Mirror and The City and the City in a compelling exploration of our near future. Proximity draws on Jem’s 20 years of professional experience as a software developer in the city to give an unnerving insight into how our world might be transformed by the rapid advance in embedded technology and fitness trackers.
What if the cash-strapped NHS can be given a second life by using tech to regulate our health and behaviour?
What if we can eradicate knife and other proximity crimes by tracking everyone’s activity?
What if civil liberty is seen as an acceptable sacrifice for the greater good?
What if the convenience of technology is used for control?
“Proximity is inspired by the fascinating possibilities of technology, AI and the law of unintended consequences. From my own experience, technologists are often amazed or horrified about the other uses that people imagine for their products. Clive and Zoe’s world might be closer than we think, but is it heaven or hell? How do we decide the perfect balance of free will and greater good?” – Jem Tugwell
‘You can’t get away with anything. Lest of all murder.’
DI Clive Lussac has forgotten how to do his job. Ten years of embedded technology – ‘iMe’ – has led to complete control and the eradication of crime. Then the impossible happens. A body is found, and the killer is untraceable. With new partner Zoe Jordan, Clive must re-sharpen his detective skills and find the killer without technology, before time runs out for the next victim…
DAY IN A WRITING LIFE – JEM TUGWELL
My typical day as a writer varies by season and the phase of the book, and how much ‘real life’ issues and events get in the way.
I have two streams of writing activity going on at any one time: One is the ‘current’ book and the other is the ‘next’ book. At the moment, Proximity is my current book and is out on the 6th June. Book two in the series is my ‘next’ one.
Being so close to publication date, most of my time at the moment is focussed on the PR activities for Proximity. This includes writing blog entries like this, longer articles for magazines and interviews. The PR campaign has been running for three months and I’ve managed to squeeze in time to write the first 10,000 words of the book 2. In the last few weeks, as the PR activities have ramped up, it’s all been Proximity and there hasn’t been any time for the book 2.
In the first three months of the year, the balance was different. Proximity tasks were light and limited to signing off the cover design, printed books layouts and tasks like approving the accents of the characters used in the audio version. This allowed time for the plotting of the book 2. I spend a lot of time here and end up with character profiles and a couple of sentences describing what happens in each chapter. These act as a prompt when I write the actual chapter.
The rest of the year will be split broadly in two. The first few months will be writing the first draft of the book 2. I try and write every morning for 3 to 4 hours. I also try very hard not to reread what I’ve written. I focus on the word count increasing, and leave the rest to the editing phase. Once the first draft is done, I will park it for several weeks and start thinking about book 3 – high level themes and ideas, researching and some plotting.
Then it’s time for the dreaded edits. I will do several passes, each with a different focus like descriptions and similes, dialogue, characterisation, etc. Some edits I will do on paper, some on screen and sometimes reading it out loud.
The rest of the year will be spent with the copy editor and proof-reader, fixing remaining issues, and tuning and sharpening the prose. This is an iterative process to make sure a fix in one place doesn’t break something else. June 2020 is the provisional date for book 2, so I’m expecting the first half of the year to be a repeat of the first 6 months of this year. I hope I can keep the cycle going and write a book a year.
If you would like to purchase Proximity, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below.
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