A month ago today I re-read the 30, 000 words comprising The Lucifer Chord written in 2013 and then put to one side uncompleted. The problem with it was my heroine, a bit colourless and making the story too flat on the page. Since 2013, I’ve created my character Ruthie Gillespie. She’s a lot more fun. I thought that if I substituted Ruthie for my slightly vapid main protagonist, I might be in business.
And I was right! Putting Ruthie at the centre of events did the trick. The story now stands at over 71, 000 words spread over 23 eventful chapters and I’m on course to complete the novel by the end of the month. Chronologically, it begins a few weeks after the events recounted in Harvest of Scorn. Anyone who has read that will know that Ruthie is feeling a bit bruised. But you don’t have to have read that to read this. It’s a total stand-alone – though it does feature a location familiar to some of my readers in Klaus Fischer’s derelict mansion on the Isle of Wight. And it features my sinister cult The Jericho Society, which is fun to write about and ups the ante fright-wise. They’re nasty people with a very dark agenda.
In this one Ruthie takes on a research job in London to get away from her Ventnor home and its immediate memories. The commission comes from Carter Melville, music impresario and manager of Ghost Legion when they were the biggest and most decadent rock band on the planet back in the glory years of the industry. She’s to look into the life and times of Legion frontman Martin Mear, who died in mysterious circumstances in 1973. Her impossible mission is to separate the man from the myth.
I can honestly say that over the past month, The Lucifer Chord has provided me with the most enjoyable writing experience of my entire life. And I sincerely hope that my enjoyment of the story translates into yours. The finished novel will be around the same length as The Waiting Room and Dark Echo, so quite a substantial read. Today’s picture isn’t here for any other reason than this is my personal favourite of all my book covers – an area in which I believe I’ve been extremely fortunate. Architect Michael Aldridge (first-person narrator of this novella) crops up again in The Lucifer Chord. He’s been unfinished business ever since I completed this.