I going miss it. I really will - but there’s another one waiting in the wings.
That’s my book I’m talking about and I’m about to put it to bed after working on it for more than three years. Because its part-memoir-part fiction it has been a difficult book to write. What to put in? What to leave out? French author Laurent Binet says he spent a whole day wondering whether to take out a comma then at the end of the day put it back again. It’s an apt quote for someone like myself who has written and rewritten chapter and verse and agonised over tenses and punctuation and historical accuracy. I always remember one of my teachers saying “If something’s worth doing, it’s worth doing well. There have been so many rewrites, notes on pieces of paper, notebooks and exercise books filled with observations and thoughts, etc all scattered around my study – and of course conversations, thoughts, visualisations running through my head over these last few years.
I have eaten, slept (precious little) and lived with this book for a very long time. In the end I had to give myself a deadline- actually two weeks which will run into three as although I have printed out the manuscript to give to my husband to read, I do have to print the good copy for publication.) And yes, there are still the odd pieces of paper with notes that I have to insert (notes I’ve forgotten about which simply have to go in!) When I tell people this they look at me and I can see their minds ticking over saying: For God’s sake, just put the bloody thing to bed!
One famous novelist - can’t remember who - took ten years to write what was eventually hailed as a masterpiece. Maybe Leo Tolstoy and War and Peace? I’m sure the likes of Stephen King, Bryce Courtney or Wilbur Smith would look at me in disbelief if they read what I’ve just written. Wouldn’t it be wonderful to bang out a novel every few months or so?
They say a writer’s work is never done. Why couldn’t I have chosen a simple 9 – 5 job?
There is always the big question – have I written rubbish? Is it publishable? And – oh no - can I make it better? I have to squeeze out the very last creative thought just in case ...
And the one waiting in the wings? Now that The Sunken Garden is almost at an end – I hope to bring to light my next creative venture, one which has had to be put on hold. It’s the story of a Special Forces agent during World War II – a book I actually started writing before Sunken Garden. Rather than rest on my laurels I’m going to try to cash in on the anniversary of World War 1 which every man and his dog will probably do. So another deadline in sight and the whole process starts over again.