Oh dear, oh dear, I’ve neglected you all unforgiveably…..do try and forgive me though, because in my defense I was busy with the next book, which hopefully you’ll enjoy when it finally sees the light of day next March! The good news is that I sent off what I’m HOPING will be the final draft last weekend – phew. Of course it’s not the last I’ll see of it – it’ll go to the copy editor who’ll cast her beady eye over it, and in a couple of weeks it’ll come back to me with her input, at which time I’ll have to go through it again and see what she has to say, and what changes if any she’s recommending. When that’s done it’ll be sent to the proofreader (who just happens to be my brother, a freelance copywriter whom Hachette use!) and back to me again for the last time. I swear I nearly know the books off by heart by the time I’m done with them! I usually think ‘thank God that’s the last I’ll see of it’ when I’m handing it back for the final time – and then when my box of advance copies arrives a few months later I can’t wait to open it!
Really hope you like the new one – I’m quietly pleased with how it’s turned out. The challenge I set myself at the outset (I always try to make a new book a little more challenging than the one that went before) was to confine myself to just two days, two Fridays to be exact, both of them in April. I have four main characters, all connected in some way with one another, who tell the story in turn. And now that it’s all done (bar the checking as above) I’m really dying to see it on the shelves, and to see what reaction it gets. March seems like a lifetime away, but it’ll come eventually. And I know I promised ages ago to show you the cover – I had seen it and liked it, and was waiting until it was officially signed off on before going public with it – but I just heard a few days ago that it’s being totally changed – and the good thing is I really love the new one, I think it’s much stronger than the old one, so I’m a happy bunny. It’s still being tweaked, but I’ve been promised a final version VERY soon – and you’ll be the first to see it, I swear! (Well, maybe after my parents!)
By the way, in case you’re wondering what the snaps have to do with anything (and apologies for the quality – I’m a writer, not a photographer!) they’re different views of what I was looking out at from my bedroom window each day last week. I was spending the week in the wonderful writers’ and artists’ retreat that is the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in County Monaghan (www.tyroneguthrie.ie) where I go from time to time to get a bit of intensive writing done (and get a bit pampered too!) As ever I had a great time and was very productive – got the book finished there, which was the objective. All the rooms are gorgeous but I was lucky enough to be put into Lady Guthrie’s room, which is one of the best in my opinion, being located at the front of the house with a view of the lake. The weather was mostly good, but we got two foggy days when the lake literally disappeared! I’m a big fan of fog, though – I love the magic of it, the other-worldly feel it gives to a place. And I met a really interesting group of people, from storytellers to musicians to artists and other writers. Every week I spend in the Tyrone Guthrie Centre is different, but none is ever dull…. And then of course there are the magnificent evening meals which are provided by a posse of extremely gifted local women…..it’s a real treat to go there, and I consider myself blessed to be able to.
Oh, one other thing – I’ve taken up running again. If you’ve been keeping tabs on this diary you’ll know I’m a very sporadic runner, keep stopping and starting (literally) but this time I might just last because I’ve enlisted the help of Patrick, a friend and enthusiastic runner himself who has sort of taken me under his wing. He’s making out weekly schedules for me, and I’m now on week 3, and so far so good. I’m running between 3 and 4 miles when I go out – and would you believe I’m quite liking it! I wouldn’t go so far as to say I’m loving it – not yet – but I don’t dread it, which is a major step forward for me. I’m quite slow but that’s OK – it’s enough for me to get to the finish without having to stop and walk. Watch this space – apparently I’m aiming for the half marathon in the Great Limerick Run next May – help!!!!