In early 2008, I had a really odd dream. I had recently become obsessed with the Beatles and stumbled on the ‘Paul is Dead’ conspiracy theory, a bizarre notion that Paul McCartney had in fact died in 1966 and been replaced by an imposter. It’s one of those strange and brilliant bits of nonsense that you can’t help but be totally compelled by. In this dream, the conspiracy was true and I was a journalist investigating the disappearance of a teenage girl who was somehow linked to it. It was vivid and exciting and when I woke up I knew I had to write it. Bit by bit, I created the proxies I needed; the Beatles became an almost identical band called the Moths and the heroic dream version of me a journalist called Boone Shepard. He was witty, acerbic and completely eccentric but always determined to do the right thing no matter the cost. He was a great hero.
The story was written fast, a fantasy/mystery called Musical Mystery. And it did not take long for me to come up with more adventures for Boone; a prequel about his exploits in the 1880’s (he was also a time traveller) and a sequel detailing his confrontation with his dark past. I wrote these three novellas and planned to do more, but a combination of weak ideas and a general lack of interest from the friends I forced the stories on meant that those further instalments never materialised. But Boone always stayed in my thoughts.
Then, last year, I tried again. I started writing a new version of his original adventure in the middle of writing the play that would become A Good German, and I did not look back. Through bouts of writer’s block and more insane ideas, I created five distinct novel concepts and one by one worked through all of them. His investigation of the band (now called the Bugs) became The Broken Record, part one. I confronted his past and demons in Darkening Ventures. I explored his morality and identity through a wild road trip in An American Adventure. I paid off major plot points in the murder mystery that was The Silhouette and the Sacrifice and finally, tonight, I wrapped up the whole journey in The Vengeance of Vincent Black.
Right now I feel proud, emotionally exhausted and above all, euphoric. I have never finished anything of this size and magnitude. It is a five part young adult adventure series about accepting your flaws, learning who you are, and moving on from your past. And while I know that there is so much editing, re-writing and polishing ahead of me, I feel like I have achieved something big. I can barely describe the feeling as I typed out ‘the end’. There was nostalgia for all the parts of my life that now feel permanently tied to Boone Shepard. There were flashbacks to different memorable aspects of the writing process. But above all there was this powerful, full body feeling of utter satisfaction.
It’s the biggest thing I’ve ever done, and it may very well be the best too.
Writing words about writing words.