Chris Grayling

July 10th 2023, Ador Spain

Well, against all the odds, I’ve made some progress with the latest Neil Mackenzie. It comes in two parts: one set in Kent and the second on the Costa Blanca in Spain. I know, Theresa and I have bought a house in Spain, so that a man like me - who is famous for his lack of creativity - was bound to set part or even all of a book on the Iberian Peninsula. Obviously, that’s why Death on a Cruise had to be written (I’ve been on a lot of cruises).


The origins of the fourth instalment, A Week is a Long Time, however, weren’t the least bit obvious to me at the time that I wrote the fucking thing! I’ve never been to Georgia nor had anything to do with people trafficking, but one day I started writing and it just kind of happened. It’s good as well.


Enough about my writing technique (or lack of it). I was telling you how Neil Mackenzie 6 is going. Well, it wasn’t before yesterday, because the Kent section had hit the buffers. I’d rejected my previous tries because they felt tired and unrealistic (why change the habit of a lifetime I hear you say) and I didn’t want to churn out another story just for the sake of it. Writing requires effort so that you have to believe in what you’re writing about. A similar thing happened to me near the end of The Big Finish: one perceptive reader told me he realised when he was reading it that I was in a hurry to finish the book off…and he was right!


I don’t know if my latest attempt to write a satisfying Kent section will succeed but I’ll let you know. In case you’re wondering, I’m happy with the Spanish half although whether the locals will share those sentiments remains to be seen!

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