The finished product will be about 100,000 words. The whole process of creating a book takes about a year.
Which is a pretty long time when you consider that it takes only a few days to actually read one. I know this because I've been devouring the Ethan Gage novels of William Dietrich in recent weeks.
Writing books is a slow, time consuming process that is not financially rewarding unless you are J K Rowling. So why do people write? It's a solitary existence that needs an understanding spouse or partner and rarely pays as much as a proper job. And yet thousands of people do make the effort, as the number who self-publish on Amazon Kindle testify.
I have always written. My first short stories were produced at eight and my first book at 14. It was pretty poor but my English teacher read it and encouraged me. Everyone needs encouragement. The best encouragement is from readers, rather than reviewers.
It's nice when someone you have never met from St Albans or Denmark sends an email to say how much they liked your work. And yes, I have readers in both places. It sounds daft, but it is that personal connection that makes the job worthwhile.
I would be lost without this other world I create every time I start a new project. My books provide me with new friends and enemies, exciting situations, meetings with famous people, odd relationships and burning love affairs (just don't tell the wife).
Although I am eager to finish the latest one, other considerations have arisen as it nears completion.
My last work was a trilogy of novels written under the pseudonym Jon Grahame that were set in a near-future Britain devastated by a SARS virus. The first, called Reaper, was published two years ago. It is being relaunched with a new cover next month, along with the second part, Angel.
This has inevitably meant more work: I finished the proofs of Angel two weeks ago and have done a lengthy interview with writer and internet review blogger Ethan Jones Books of Canada.
The Press people at my publisher, Myrmidon Books, are setting up book signings and are also approaching other internet review bloggers: they seem to be a new and influential phenomenon. I have been asked to do the same. Which is the part of writing of which I am less fond. I am a lousy self-publicist and am eager to return to Pilgrim, a novel set mainly in this era but with a time travel theme.
I have to save President Obama from assassination three years ago and bring David Cameron back from 2111. (Who said leave him there?). Me and Dave are on first name terms and, while I am apolitical, he is quite a nice bloke in my book.
Being a writer may be a solitary existence, but you're never alone and can have the strangest friends. Just read Reaper and Angel and find out. They're coming to a Waterstone's near you next month.