It's Sunday morning, sunny and very warm. And I have to work.
Just over a week ago I finished Murder By The Barrel and sent it to my editor. Friday evening he sent me back the edits. I was expecting practically a full rewrite, but no, bless him, he was as encouraging as ever, although there is a fair amount to do. Unlike almost all other writers I know (except my friend Bernardine Kennedy, who does what I do) I don't like rewriting and creating multiple drafts before submission. For a start, I don't have time. For instance, this book is due out on October 8th, and the next one in June 2018. You work it out. And the edits are to be in by Wednesday...
So this week, while waiting for the edits, I started the research for book 19. Yes, we have the title. I thought of it, liked it, put it to the powers that be, who all liked it too, and that was that. Then I realised I needed a story to fit it. Difficult. A challenge, in fact. There are certain subjects about which you think you are well informed; perhaps they constitute a part of your particular interest (that'll give you a clue) so that you know quite a lot, until you realise that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Sorry about the cliché, but, all fired up, I thought I had the perfect basis for a plot, until I realised that it now posed more problems than it solved. So there's a lot more research to do. Auspicious sources have been emailed, I have received a modicum of encouragement, and now I've got to stop while I work on the Barrel.
As if that wasn't bad enough, I have committed myself to a little theatrical enterprise, directing three women in three linked monologues at an event on September 9th. The trouble is, the monologues are still in their original form as short stories that all appeared in magazines years ago and subsequently in my short story collection, Bad Behaviour.
This means they have to be rewritten. And, as you can tell, there isn't that much time for the girls to learn them, or rehearse. So that's got to be done fairly sharpish, too. Luckily, I know the three actors well (two of them actually have cause to be grateful to me - and I know how to pull in a favour) so I don't anticipate too many problems, but nevertheless, it's an added pressure.
On top of that, my dear old laptop is on its last legs, and this very morning I have bitten the bullet and ordered a new one. This will obviously necessitate a lot of re-learning, as, although I have been a dedicated Mac user for as long as they've been in this country (blame the old man - he was one of the first "Apple Trainers" over here), each new one has different features and a different operating system. And my brain is very like the laptop - not accepting any new systems. So I'm hoping eldest son Miles, who arrives back in Whitstable some time today after a week's jolly in the South of France with his sister, Phillipa, will find time to help me get to grips with it. Sadly, youngest son Leo is currently residing in temporary domestic bliss with his girlfriend in New Jersey, but if I'm still having problems in September, he'll be back then and I shall force him to help. Luckily, kids were trained by their dad, and Miles actually worked in the industry for a few years.
So there you are. One book going off, another one starting, and me getting back to the theatre - in a small way. Kids going away and coming back (yes, they're all fully fledged adults, but...) and me not actually going anywhere - no Turkey this year. (See new laptop above.) And in the last six weeks we've had the funerals of one much loved cousin and one old friend. However, to balance that, Louise and I (and grandchildren) will be attending the wedding of another cousin in a couple of weeks. So more comings and goings.
I shall try and remember to let you all know if anything startling happens in the next few weeks, meanwhile, roll on October.