Step one – think of a title

Filed in Leopard Tree by on December 3, 2013 2 Comments

LT3.3A gladiator. A Justin Beiber fan. An author. What’s the common thread here?

A love of danger, and the very real possibility of public shame and humiliation.

Well I can’t sing and I look terrible in greaves, so I’ve decided to try my hand at writing my first novel – Leopard Tree. Why? Ironically, it’s not exactly something I can put into words. For me writing isn’t just an affair of the heart – it’s something that comes from deeper within you, an urge which rises from the depths of your bowels which keeps you awake at 3am and compels you to start a story… or take an Imodium… whatever floats your boat.

(I also thought it was only fair… I’ve been critiquing other people’s books long enough now that it’s only fair to give you guys a chance to give me some of my own medicine.)

I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, but couldn’t find the right story, the right angle, the right… anything. It wasn’t so much a case of writer’s block as a case of ‘writer has no idea’. I wanted to pay tribute to the great crime novel. I wanted to break the mould. I wanted to take my readers somewhere they’d never been and ask themselves questions they’d never considered. In short, I wanted to write Gorky Park.

However, that had already been done, and anyway my knowledge of Soviet Russia didn’t extend far past what you can learn from taking Modern European History 101 at university, playing lots of Axis and Allies and repeatedly watching Enemies at the Gate.

Inspiration finally hit me, in all places, on holiday deep in the heart of Africa. Deep in the heart of a private game reserve an hour out of Johannesburg, anyway. We spent several blissful weeks at Shumbalala Games Reserve near Kruger National Park in South Africa. It was an amazing experience – just you, your ranger, your tracker, your cook, housekeeper, and garden staff against nature. But it was worth roughing it – the incredible scenery and amazing diversity of habitats took my breath away. The lions, warthogs, elephants, giraffes and the life owned the place – you really felt like you were just a visitor in their world…

…and with Leopard Tree I’d like to invite you to join me in my world. I’ve tentatively scheduled it for release in 2015, which may be optimistic, but I’ve settled on the main concepts and storyline, I’ve got the hooks and I’m foreshadowing like you wouldn’t believe. (My next step is to try and find an ending – but I digress).

When it comes to endings, I’ve always thought that half the fun in getting anywhere is in the journey itself. I’d like you to join me on that journey – I’ll be sharing insights, tips, experiences, tantrums, snippets of copy for feedback, as well as discussing any good writing resources I may come across.

If you’re keen, feel free to say hi on twitter at @deadlinezombie, or pop in for a chat on Facebook.

It’s going to be a blast.

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About the Author ()

Nick Buchan is currently writing his first novel ‘Leopard Tree’, available 2015. “A burnt-out police detective becomes embroiled in a child murder investigation while on African safari. Will this case send Detective Duffy over the edge?” Follow ‘Leopard Tree’ online at or

Comments (2)

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  1. Brett says:

    Nick – good luck I look forward to following the journey. Can’t wait to read the Leopard Tree

  2. Nick Buchan says:

    Thanks Brett – appreciate it!

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