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Andy and Stainton

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The Larks Amending

Listening to the Critics


I'm somewhat ashamed to see that nine years have passed since The Larks was published. It's sold in decent numbers and received favourable reviews, but one criticism kept recurring. People thought it ended too abruptly. But look, I'm the author, and I know far better than you how it should end. I've worked sporadically on other projects, but not finished anything to the point of being ready to publish, justifying my lack of output by pointing to a hectic business life supporting my corporate clients.

From time to time i've picked up the threads of my unfinished work but been dissatisfied with the quality of my writing. When I wrote The Larks, I frequently read back through newly written passages and nodded appreciatively. I wouldn't allow the conceit of calling it great writing, but I was pleased with what I'd created. Why couldn't I find that place again? So I picked up a copy of my sole novel and read it again. Apart from a few lapses into laziness (and one occurrence of calling a Sopwith Pup a Cub), it struck me as pretty good, except for one glaring problem. It ended too abruptly.

They were right all along.

I decided to shelve my uncompleted projects (again) and look to making The Larks the book it should have been in the first place. I rewrote the lazy bits, cleaned up scrappy prose and, most importantly, extended the ending. Instead of leaving the plot, literally, in the air, I brought the leading character back to earth and revealed to my readers what happened next. A new cover design followed, and then a long-overdue rework of my website. The dam had burst.

I can't explain why, but suddenly I've found I can write again. I've gathered up and cleaned up a small collection of short stories that span a range of genres, and it'll be ready for publication within the next few weeks. Then my pot-boiling war collection will follow, headed by the novella-length story, Deafender, to which I referred a couple of posts ago. Thanks to the Old Bill bus, it even has a title.

The newly revised and expanded second edition of The Larks is available now. If you previously bought the Kindle edition you can delete it from your device and reload it - it should update to the new version. You can find it on Amazon here.

I admit to being as focused as a merry-go-round but, for now at least, I feel I'm facing in the right direction.



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