Twenty years ago I completed a draft of Slipwater – the only novel I have ever written. Let that sink in for a moment. Twenty. Years. Ago. My novel is legally old enough to buy a drink!
In 1997 Slipwater was an extremely complicated idea in my head, which is at least part of the reason that the first draft – which clocks in at 88,000 words – probably runs out of steam towards the end. Or at least, I did. I just wanted to get it finished. At twenty-one years old I didn’t have the necessary life experience to tackle a lot of the themes I was getting into, so it was rushed.
In the decades since then I have told myself I am going to get back to it one day, and I’ve meant it every time. Over the years I have gone back to it… off and on. I even got so far as to redraft about 70% of the novel, but for some reason or other, I have always let it slip.
Between the years of 2005 and 2011 I sent it off to several publishers. Some wanted the first few chapters; others the first ten pages. One of these places did actually then request to see the whole manuscript, which put me in a bit of a pickle because it was at a time when I didn’t have a complete draft from start to finish. C’est la vie.
Anyway, the point is – I’m getting back on the horse again.
What’s Slipwater about? Oh, a lot of things. It’s a police thriller about the bond of marriage, and of friendship, and how a personal tragedy affects both of those things. It’s about a serial killer and second chances.It’s about the drive-through town of Slipwater and the strange secret it possesses.
But mostly… it’s about damn time I finished it.