Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Autumn writing

This photo sums up how I'm feeling right now. After a summer of crazy activity, I'm back to the quiet of home, the curtains drawn on the outside world in the evenings, and the novel in my head still enticingly misty, but forming a web of connections...

It's a great time of year for writing, I always find, a time when the shortening days and the need to shore up against the cold pull you closer to your inner world... It was the time of year I wrote Too Many Magpies in six weeks flat. Not sure this new novel will be done that quickly, though!

Friday, September 09, 2022

Accoun Buzz review of Astral Travel

Just after I posted the last entry, I discovered another review of Astral Travel that my summer in Snowdonia had caused me to miss. Those periods away from everything are essential, really, I find - I must say that although I didn't get much actual work down on paper this summer, the ideas and images have been churning - but you do need to keep in touch with things (the constant writers' dilemma) and I completely missed this great appreciation on Accoun Buzz, in which Joshua R Conley calls the story of the book 'engaging and compelling', and the novel 'A beautiful book written with a lot of skill and empathy.' Thank you, Joshua!

Tuesday, September 06, 2022

Back to civilisation and a new review for Astral Travel

I've been out of radio contact most of the summer (up a mountain with dodgy internet), trying to write but being hampered (delightfully) by visitors and wonderful company and distracted (more nail-bitingly) by some big family events.

One thing I now discover on my return is a belated review for Astral Travel on Goodreads, reproduced from the Halfman, Halfbook blog. I'm grateful to Paul for reviewing it - bit non-plussed that he finds my antihero quite so upsettingly nasty (but then you can never legislate for readers feeling the same about your characters as you do), and really glad that he finds it 'a good read'. Pleased too that what he likes best about the book is the way the protagonist has to unpick the truth from all of the stories she hears about her father, since that of course is what the book's essentially about: the contingency of story (the stories we can live by); stories as truth versus stories as lies.

The thing for me about writing a novel is that I really do need a solid, uninterrupted block of time to keep it going and get it completed according to my original conception, and I simply haven't had that this summer. Each time I've turned back to my current project, I have found myself in a different alignment to it, wanting to scrap it and go back to the beginning on a different tack. And then in the middle of all that, events of the summer gave me an idea for a completely different novel that's now singing in my head and replacing the other in my dreams and preoccupations, and I may have to leave off and write that first...