Many thanks to everybody for the kind comments on the finishing of Not One of Us - it was great to come home to the comments on my last post. Thank you all.
Whilst I was away, despite being away from home and somewhat occupied with keeping house for my dad whilst my mother was in hospital, I found myself constantly going over Not One of Us in my mind and wondering how it’s going to be received, so it was wonderful to come home (mum in tow to convalesce) and read this wonderful review of Testament from Juxtabook.
It was inevitable, I suppose, that NOOU would be on my mind. Not only had I finally got around to letting my nearest and dearest read it (being married to a writer must be awful – we spend all this time and intensity doing something which excludes everybody else and we won’t let them near it until it’s damn near perfect – or, at least, that seems to be the case with most of us) but also I was slap bang in the middle of the area where the novel is set, where the Rebecca Riots took place in the 1840s.
Then I was persuaded to discuss the book with some old friends I haven’t seen since we left school and who still live in the area inand I spent hours walking my parents’ dog around the lanes and woods of the valley that almost becomes a character in its own right in the book. I discussed Welshness and incomers with my family, all of whom still live in Cardiganshire and almost heard my characters joining in. I felt as if I was surrounded by my novel.
So, although I’d left behind the kitchen table where I wrote the book and our house in which the novel had come to life, going to Cardiganshire wasn’t ever likely to be a break from the book.
Now, back at home, while I wait to hear the fate of Not One of Us, I’m beginning to think about the next book. I’ve started looking around for background reading and research and the story is beginning to take shape – already two of the characters are hovering in my mind, waiting for my undivided attention so that they can step forward and we can get to know each other. But they’re going to have to wait another week, I’m a bit preoccupied as yet. And anyway, I’d like to let a bit of research inform the background that my characters are going to step out of into the light.
So… here I am, back at home and there are three books on my mind: Testament because of
Juxtabook’s wonderful review and because my copies of the Spanish edition of Testament arrived while I was away. (I have to say they’re rather splendid. ) Not One of Us because it's finally launched tentatively into the world or at least into my family and on to the desk of Will, our MNW commissioning editor whose verdict I'm simultaneously eagerly awaiting and dreading. And the new, as yet unplanned and unnamed book whose characters and stories are beginning to creep out from the corners of my subconscious.
It’s good to be back.