I've been thinking about a journey I've been fascinated to follow.
It's not just the whole writing thing (which has been a delight in itself), but one particular area - the battle between the people and the plot in a novel.
And it is a battle - because they're both jostling for a limited space.
When I first started writing, I was much more interested in the plot. I suspect that's quite usual for authors of crime fiction - the story does tend to dominate.
But my view has changed over the years. I've become more and more interested in the characters in a book.
I suppose it's a reflection of life. What unites us all more than an interest in people? Whether it's friends or neighbours, family or strangers, we're all fascinated by others.
And I love watching people. I like trying to read them, see inside them, discover the motivations of their lives and the reasons behind them.
It's an essential art for an author, and one which brings the great bonus of being fun, too.
So, without really noticing, I've begun working harder and harder on character, and I hope that shows. Have I mentioned my new book is out in just under a month? (27 days in fact, not that I'm counting or anything.)
Yes, I know I've posted the cover before, but please indulge me... I just wanted to see it again.
I've now signed off the final proofs for Shadows of Justice, and am getting more and more excited about publication.
But one thing I did notice when I was doing the final read through - how much more attention I'm paying to the characters and their lives. I feel them much better now, and hopefully have improved in the ways I try to make them live on the page.
It's all part of the wonderful journey of writing. I've learnt so much about it, and perhaps even more about myself.