Big news out of the way first: draft #2 of the novel is as ready as it’s ever going to be. Agents across the country will be bombarded from January. Please keep your fingers crossed!

Now that several years’ worth of effort have reached a phase of transition, I find myself wondering what to write about next. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t think there’ve been any high-profile novels in recent years which have tackled the theme of ‘maleness’ and male identity at the start of the 21st century. I suppose the book I’ve just finished addresses the issue in an oblique way, but I’d be very interested to make the subject the primary focus of my next major project.

I should, at this point, issue a ‘blanket caveat’ about the dangers of generalising about gender, culture, class etc etc, but, putting aside for a moment the perils of working with stereotypes, I’ve lately been struck by how the Modern Young British Male seems to have compensated for the relative emasculation of society by nurturing every single little trait of Alpha Male behaviour he can hold on to. Perhaps I’m entirely mistaken – and maybe if I decide to do some research on the topic I might find all sorts of evidence that’ll force me to reconsider my hypothesis – but I wonder if we’re witnessing a new trend: ‘You’ve invaded my office space, you’ve forced me to talk about and ask about how things feel, and you’ve even persuaded me that anti-wrinkle cream isn’t a waste of my money, but all you’re doing is pushing me deeper into my cave and one day soon, I think I’m going to launch out of it like some hairy testosterone rocket.’

A good friend recently wrote that spending a few months working at a girls’ school taught him a great deal about the human race. I think I know what he means and I also think we’re ready for a story that tries to meet the contemporary manifestation of these issues. What do you reckon: Lord Of The Flies II, but with adults stuck at a snowed-in branch of B&Q…?

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