When real life intervenes…
My latest book, Michael (the final in the a historical fiction trilogy, The Triptych Chronicle) is taking me the longest to write of all eleven titles in my list. It’s not writer’s block, it’s not that I don’t like the story arc or the characters.
It’s simply life…
I finished Book Two (Guillaume) in October last year and it was booked into a pre-order deal with Amazon. It had been edited, formatted, a wonderful cover designed and I just placed in the Amazon cupboard and left it there, forgetting all about it because my husband had been told we must travel interstate for him to have a cancer operation. I forgot the date of release, did no marketing and concentrated entirely on what was happening with my husband.
Once we had returned home, I suddenly realised Guillaume was out there, but my energies were required for my husband’s recuperation, not book marketing. Quite simply, I left the title to its own devices. But I began to write another book. For weeks a story had been whispering in my head and thus I began a return to fantasy with Cabinet of Curiosities. It became an escape through tough times until I realised it would be more than 12 months before the last novel in The Triptych Chronicle would have the first words written. Worse – two years before I could release it, because I take 12 months to write a novel (usually) and that is way too long when one has readers kindly waiting to to finish the series.
So Cabinet, with its eerie Other characters and exotic settings, was shelved and Michael begun.
Not long after Michael and I took our first steps toward twelfth century Constantinople together, I was invited to submit to an anthology with Inkslingers Veterans who raise money for cancer research. I honestly sat back and mused on how Fate really does strange things at times. ‘I would love to do it,’ I replied, thinking back over the months that my husband and I had just experienced.
The title of the anthology is Tales from a Carboot Sale and with a simple but fascinating premise, we were able to choose any genre. I chose fantasy and LOVED writing the story called Matrushka, about a contemporary bookseller with strange friends. Tales from a Carboot Sale is due for release any day now and I can say quite readily that I didn’t mind at all that it broke into my normal schedule.
Not long after the Inkslingers’s invitation, I received a further invitation to submit to another anthology, a literary fiction collection called Winter’s End, with a group called Della Robbia, where each writer takes a particular timeframe and writes a story that includes a seasonal flavour within that timeframe.
I was allotted the twelfth century and I was happy, happy, happy as I set about writing a story called Vielle, about a troubadour with ambitions. This collection of stories is so fresh, so exciting, so marvellous that I feel honoured to be part of it.
That said, between the two anthologies, I lost significant novel writing time. I was till writing blogs of course, and also the odd 100-200 words for Michael. But real-life stepped in and turned me in a completely different direction. My son decided to get married with all that such a thing involves, my daughter had a gallbladder operation and found an exciting new job in another city, my mother’s house had to be prepared for sale, our gardens needed me (and I needed them), and I was once again involved on the political edge of an anti-salmon farm lobby.
Thus you can see, life intervenes.
It does slow one down, of course, but that’s the way of it. Real life is like that and to fight against it is pointless.
I’ve always been the kind of writer with appalling discipline – show me the sun, my dog, my gardens and the open spaces and I leave the keyboard behind without a second thought. But you know, I think that’s what real life is all about. If one ignores it, if one isn’t involved soaking up experiences, then one really hasn’t got the wherewithal to write a legitimate story, has one?
I’m sure you know what I mean…