My Journey Through My First Book – The Tech

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It came to me one fine morning. I was contemplating my existence and pondering on what’s next – when the glimmerings of an idea took root – how would it be if the investigating team – imagine a procedural for just an instant  – were to be supported unknowingly by a sinister force? Wait a minute. Does the force have to be sinister, I asked myself? Being an IT professional, I naturally leaned towards technical support and hence the title The Tech was born.

Thus, the journey began, with barely the beginnings of a concept with nary a plot, no characters, good and bad guys but a thought, nonetheless. It took me a year to write. And then another to publish. Let me tell you about it. And before you move on, this is not a treatise on how to write a book, but more about how I felt whilst writing it.
To begin with, it was exciting. As I built up my characters, soup to nuts, physical characteristics, attitude, personality, vocabulary, accent (I had to hear them speaking in my head), history (their past, of course), to the food they eat and how they like their coffee – if they like coffee or preferred tea – Earl Grey (imagine a toffee-nosed British accent, will you? Please?), I felt a discordant note creep in – and I’ll tell you why. I was trying to crawl under the skin of characters I couldn’t possibly identify with. Let me give you an example. There’s this guy – and to avoid spoilers I’m not going to tell you his name. He is a mean, sadistic creep who loves, actually enjoys, torturing his victims. Being the exact opposite of said character (please don’t ask my wife to comment!), I felt pain as I – um – tortured my victim. Not the victim’s pain but the sheer revulsion of having to do what was essential to move the story along – was disturbing – the stuff nightmares are made of. Keeping in mind that it wasn’t gory in anyway, I still struggled with it. Did I do a good job of it, atmospherically speaking, despite my discomfort? You decide.
To learn more about Mark’s writing process, check out his blog on the ‘7 Steps to Writing A Thriller’.

Writing ‘The Tech’ took a year. How long do you think it would take to write a thriller?

On the other hand, I enjoyed writing about Aisha. She – and please don’t confuse her with neither those clueless voice assistants nor those creepy AIs that end up eviscerating their creators or are otherwise evil after they attain self-realisation, sentience or any other equivalent term, actually has character. She has a sense of humour – dry, of course. She anticipates. She predicts. She informs. She’s brilliant. She has her flaws, but to discover those – ahem, please read The Tech to find out. Okay, okay. Enough plugging my own book.
Aisha’s development – incidentally, I’m thinking of a sequel where this is explained in more detail, is something I didn’t put into my book, but I had to do in order for it to be – call it whatever you want – believable, plausible, real! I actually like Aisha and was seriously tempted to give her a physical form. But I resisted the temptation. Am in love with her? Don’t be ridiculous!
I may, however, confess to having feelings for Cassidy (please don’t tell my wife!). She’s smart, adorable with a bright sense of humour, but also vulnerable. She’s a maverick, is our dear Alexandra with Russian roots to make it spicy and interesting. Writing her was pure pleasure. She leapt across, out of the page and into my heart. Ahem – Mike, move over.
“I have to admit that not all of it was either pleasure or pain. The boring bits was looking for SPAG. I simply hated it.”
Which brings me to Mike. Quintessential tall, dark and handsome, albeit a bit nerdy and geeky at the same time, Mike can be creepy. I’ve tried my best to make him more … I should say less, shouldn’t I … sinister? But he does operate literally in the shadows. Writing Mike was fun – pure, unadulterated, behind-the-scenes-of-a-magic-show exhilarating joy. I even felt like a groupie, getting a glimpse of our superhero. Actually, he’s more like Batman minus the mask and the cape. Doesn’t really have any superpowers. A whole load of gadgets and, of course, he has Aisha.
Chapter after chapter, I started titling them after quotes from my most favourite procedurals – read the book and tell me if you recognise them from ‘We have an Alternate Revenue Stream’ to ‘The Evidence Never Lies’ – even ‘Grab your Gear’ is somewhere in between. Write to me if you know where these come from. It’s a challenge.
I have to admit that not all of it was either pleasure or pain. The boring bits was looking for SPAG. I simply hated it. And I never ever got around to finding each one. Of course, that’s what copy-editors and proof-readers are for, yes? I think I must have experienced every possible emotion conceivable – along with the plethora of characters, including a particular touching scene when Alexandra returns children to their parents – a teary moment I thoroughly enjoyed with a lump in my throat.
And please, please, don’t get me started on the simply excruciating second year of looking for said copy-editors and proof-readers, a publisher, collaborating on the cover design – ‘nough said. But it came out reasonably well – at least I thought so. Over to you.
Happy reading. Hope you enjoy The Tech. Come back anytime. Ask me anything. I am here. I’ll always be here.
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