What to write? The short story versus the novel…

I absolutely love writing, but, and I know many die-hard “you will write if you’re a writer” types will descend on me with relish for this statement, it is very difficult to find the time.  When I wrote Worlds Away, it was an absolute labour of love, aided by a long summer holiday for redrafting and promoting, and I am currently penning a sequel.  Am I as inspired as I was with my first book?  Do I enjoy writing as much as I did the first time?  Yes and yes, without hesitation.

What has changed, though, is the amount of actual time I have.  Two young boys and a job that is far more than full-time see to that. Added to that, exam marking, being married, and occasionally speaking to human beings outside my immediate circle all take their lovely toll.

But the lure of writing calls strongly. More than strongly.  I berate myself for putting it so far down the list.

This week, I have enjoyed the rare pleasure that is time away from work.  The days have been spent, of course, enjoying my time with my children, and wonderful days they have been too, but the evenings have been, unashamedly, “me time.”

So, to writing.  For some reason, I’ve found it difficult to be back in the world of my first novel, so I did something I have never done before (don’t ask me why) and I penned a short story.

I know that Stephen King forged his early career in writing and submitting short stories for publication, but I don’t read many (compared to how many novels and plays I read, anyway) so I’ve never written one.  Maybe I believed myself to be unqualified. However, last night, I found myself entering a new level of challenge.  How does one construct a world and believable characters in such a short snapshot?  Please believe me that I do not for one moment think that short = easy.  There is a wonderful art to the short story that I am just starting to appreciate.  The result of around four hours was a half-decent first draft for entry into a writing competition.  It’ll need messing with for the next week or two, but that’s the joy of writing for me: creating something and then perfecting it.  And it’s all mine.  It wouldn’t have existed without me.

I’d love to hear from fellow writers.  Is this the way to fit writing in my life?  Is busy ever too busy to make your mark on the world of writing?

I tried to write something that wasn’t sci-fi, but my mind just doesn’t work that way.  I’m thinking of creating a collection of sci-fi shorts exploring the big themes that interests me.  Will anyone be interested in that?  I have no idea.  Hope so!

Worlds Away Featured on BBC Radio Sheffield

It was an absolute honour to be invited onto BBC Radio Sheffield to discuss my debut novel, Worlds Away.

I would like to remind anyone out there, who is considering doing something they think they can’t do, do it.  Chances are, you probably can.


Listen below! Thank you for all your support so far, readers.  You keep me going!


Which new world to inhabit?

After publishing my debut novel, Worlds Away, last month, I have been overwhelmed by the support and encouragement I’ve received, from friends and strangers in equal measure. One question, though, is always the same. “When are you writing the next one?”

Surprisingly, that’s a tough one to answer. I have made no secret that Worlds Away is the first in a trilogy, a trilogy that I have already planned  (on a spreadsheet, no less) and have even, cautiously, penned an ending for. I love the characters, and I want to write it.

The problem, though, is that I’ve also had another idea, an idea which is niggling and biting at my subconscious each day, and I therefore feel like I’m cheating on my first love.

When writing Worlds Away, there is no question that I partially inhabited that world. I would be jogging, pushing the pram, cooking tea, whatever, and something about Kolwick or Oscar 70 would occur to me and be the most important thing. I’d have to write it down with a genuine degree of urgency, before carrying on with my day.

Unfortunately, I’m not a full-time writer, so I feel like I can only commit to one project at once.

So what to do? Which world should I inhabit? Will it be the already ongoing project that readers are actually asking for, or my new, exciting, secret love?

It seems that it’ll just have to be both of them.

So long, reality.


Worlds Away by V. E. Bolton Climbs to #2 in science fiction romance on Amazon

The title says it all, really, but I am pretty pleased.  The novel is currently ranking #199 overall out of over 6 million books on Amazon, which I think is quite an achievement.  Today has also seen a record number of downloads within a 24 hour period.

Yes, it’s been a good day in the world of self-publishing!  I would encourage any authors who are on the fence to join me.  It’s exhilarating.


Worlds Away: writing the second book in a trilogy

Long before I finished Worlds Away, I knew that it was going to be part of a trilogy.  The story that lay, hazy and nebulous, in my mind, could not be told in one novel, and not in just two. That said, I like the neatness of a trilogy, and am not planning to go beyond three, for now anyway.

Perhaps it is a little like children, and one day I will say ‘one more,’ but for now, a trilogy it is.  

I’m not sure how conventional this is, but I’ve already written my ending, and am now gearing myself up for the sheer joy of moving from Point A to Point B.  Or Point B to Point C, if we are being exact.

I can’t wait. I expect I’ll be bereft when it’s over. 

Today, I spent the day with my family in one of my favourite places on Earth: the National Space Centre in Leicester, consuming everything spacey with a hungry pleasure. If it is research, I love research.

Below is a visual clue about what is set to happen in book two, and it’s all I’m offering at this point in time. If you’ve read Worlds Away closely, it might give you an idea. Think carefully: