There’s a very good reason I haven’t blogged since the summer – I’ve been bogged down in editing…well, I could say hell but, because I suspect my editor might read this, I’ll say ‘challenges’. Basically, after I received her feedback on the first draft of Last Girl Standing I decided that what the book needed was a brand new thread and an additional 40,000 words. Oh, and at least 20,000 cutting from the original thread. And that’s what I’ve been doing for the last three months – writing, cutting, amending and tinkering – and all alongside working the day job, looking after my 3 year old and ignoring the housework (huge apologies to my poor, long suffering partner).
The book’s gone to copyedits and, while I wait for them to come back, I can start thinking about ideas for book 3. Actually that’s not strictly true. I’ve had a lot of ideas but I’ve rejected them all for one reason or another – too trite, too weird, done before, too grim, etc etc. I’m waiting for the idea that arrives fully formed, alongside the main character’s voice. That’s what happened with The Accident and it makes writing a book much less ‘challenging’ (not to mention speedier). I’m supposed to have the first chapter ready by January so it can go in the back of Last Girl Standing so there’s a part of me that’s panicking and pointing at the flashing neon ‘DEADLINE’ sign above my head. The other part of me is telling it to sod off – I need a bit of creative R&R after handing in a book. What is it Julia Cameron calls it in ‘The Artist’s Way’ – refilling the creative well? Well I need to do that – I need to read all the books on my ‘to be read’ pile that I’ve been neglecting for months (huge apologies to anyone waiting for me to review a proof, I will try and get to it) and I need to watch films and crime dramas and non fiction. And I need to RELAX.
One thing that has helped me relax was my recent decision to give up my day job. After nine years as a manager at a London university and four novels (two romantic comedies published by Orion when I was child free and lived alone), The Accident on maternity leave and Last Girl Standing this year I knew something had to give. There just isn’t the time to do everything. The decision weighed heavily on me – I’ve never been a risk taker – but when Avon offered me a contract to write three more psychological thrillers I knew it was now or never. So, from 1st January 2015 I’ll be a full time writer. It’s a prospect that simultaneously terrifies and delights me. I’ve wanted to be an author since I was eight years old.