When I first turned my hand to writing, it was without any conscious need to come to terms with a couple of traumatic experiences that I subsequently learned had remained submerged for far too long!
Rather than seeking counselling for the bereavement I had suffered thirty years or so ago, I began calling, instead, on those experiences through the fictional personal journeys that were the theme of my first few novels. This was intended to culminate in the latest book entitled The Temple of Fortune, a semi-autobiographical account of an overprotected man left ill-equipped to deal with the death of his wife and loss of his family business.
Strangely, the need to carry on writing didn’t stop there. Was it because it had been my main focus for the past thirteen years, meaning that I really couldn’t envisage doing anything else, or because it suddenly dawned on me that there’s more to say about the human condition that I hadn’t yet fully addressed? The answer is probably a bit of both.
First, writing every day continues to provide a sense of mental wellbeing, all the more so since the enforced confinement caused by the Covid pandemic has necessitated many, like myself, to dig deeper into our resources of inventiveness just to preserve our sanity.
Secondly, it’s the acknowledgment that personal development is an ongoing process, inevitably bringing with it additional self-reflection and new experiences that need to be put down on paper.
So what’s planned for 2021? First, a sequel to Blue Skies Over Berlin. This new novel is entitled Three Days in Vienna and it tells the story of an Englishwoman who suddenly experiences the need to find out more about the fate of her maternal family – something that has always been kept hidden from her.
Following on from Three Days in Vienna and in a complete change of genre, is a crime series I’m currently working on. The protagonist Jake, an unconventional undercover detective with film-star looks and expensive tastes to match, discovers more about himself through the uncanny similarity of the cases to which he’s attracted.
On reflection, there appears no end in sight to my coming up with new tales of characters with a wide range of different issues. Of course, that might be because I’ve more in common with my detective than I’d realised, in the sense of needing to learn more about myself.
John Steinberg ©2020