Well, I’ve really gone and done it now. It turns out that the paperback version of my novel isn’t, in fact, coming out until August. I know this because I emailed my publisher to say how much I liked the picture of my very own legs taken by a secret undercover photographer hiding in a bush in downtown Dulwich.
My publisher was glad I liked my legs but pointed out sweetly I’d have to wait a bit before getting my own copy of the new edition. It won’t be out for eight months. I think I got my German in a bit of a tangle over at www.amazon.de . Even though you might think that a date is a date and is pretty clear in any language, being, ahem, numbers, it certainly wasn’t to me. I also copied in my lovely agent on my email.
My lovely agent then emailed back and pointed out that it would be very nice if I could show her, and my publisher, the odd page or two of the sequel to Schokoherz, which I have now been working on for, erm, two years. Well, that’s working off and on. More off than on, obviously. I’ve had some good excuses. Divorce, emotional turmoil, blah, blah, erm, the weather. And the cat sits on my keyboard! How on earth can I be expected to write under these conditions?
All right, all right, Lady Antonia Fraser managed to pen several whodunnits and a biography while running off with Harold Pinter, and he himself dashed off a play or two while trying to get divorced and remarried. I know this because I was given a copy of Must You Go?, Fraser’s account of her life with Pinter, for Christmas. I am much reassured by the fact that they had twenty or thirty happy years together after the traumatic bit was over. But obviously they were not made of really sensitive stuff, despite winning great cupboards-full of awards for their literary oeuvres, as they just kept on writing no matter what hoo-has were erupting around them. Or maybe they just didn’t have cats sitting on their keyboards?
Anyway, I accept that the time for prevarication is over. I have to show my publisher 35,000 words by April. I’ve written nearly 60,000 already, but unfortunately they are not in the right order. So I’ve absolutely got to get right down to it. A deadline is a very, very useful thing for concentrating the mind, for making sure that the endless evasion is over. I’m going to get on with revising the first draft straight away.
I’m starting tomorrow.