This is one of those moments ‘They can’t take away from you’. Problem: I have a dilemma. ‘The Road to Aversac’ is out on Kindle, following on from ‘The Hare Lane Diaries’. I’m now on the third in the series, tentatively called ‘Penfold’s World’. This was a reflex and I’m adding to it daily. But… At the same time I’m swept up in the idea for a fourth ‘Taffin’ novel.
This is keeping me awake at nights. Writing is a compulsion and I’m being pulled in two directions. Is it wise – or even healthy – to get immersed in two unconnected worlds at the same time? Don’t know. But I haven’t any choice but to give it a go. I’ll keep you posted. Continue reading “Starting a novel. Or two.”
My new novel has just been released. Putting the final word on it has been harder than I expected. However…
THE ROAD TO AVERSAC is rougher and rockier than anyone thinks.
When Jessica decides to leave England and relocate to France, her lodger, Rex, goes along to help her settle in. Their uneasy relationship, which began in ‘The Hare Lane Diaries’, continues as they adapt to the French way of life in Aversac, a town where the shadow of the fountain is the fastest moving thing in sight.
But Aversac is not as sleepy as it looks. The Mayor is determined to twin his town with a comparable one in England. He will not rest until his ambition is fulfilled and when the Twinning project starts, Rex and Jessica are drawn into a maelstrom of local politics for which nothing has prepared them.
Note: Town Twinning – French, Jumelage – a strange habit that starts when a town feels lonely and wants to make contact with the outside world. At such times a small group of locals appoints itself to look for a similar community in some other country – ideally one that offers holiday potential. Invariably the group will thrust some poor sap to the fore, blame him or her when it all goes pear-shaped and take the credit in the unlikely event of anything being achieved.
I have titles in my head for stories I haven’t written yet. They cry out for exposure, ready to lead the reader into uncharted pleasures. Some will be written; others will be wasted. The irony is, I’m on the last few paragraphs of a new novel and I still haven’t got a title for it; not one that gives me that electric buzz, anyway.
The problem is overchoice. I have functional titles that do the job. I have surreal titles that stamp the novel as something it probably isn’t. I have jokey titles; the novel is, after all, a kind of comedy about a French village trying to twin with a village in England, and all my research suggests you CAN’T MAKE IT UP. But the dilemma is haunting me day and night, so I thought I’d let you know.
A title can make or break a book. It is the first tool of marketing – your first shot at making an impression on someone you may never meet but who you hope will settle down with your book and later, we hope, recommend it to everyone they know.
I’m still wavering, but the title must be firmed up in the next couple of weeks. And once that decision is made, it’s permanent.
Whatever I come up with, I hope you’ll read it.
Blogging ground to a halt before Christmas. Why? Take a wild guess. But here comes the self-congratulation: I’ve written eleven chapters of ‘The Road to Aversac’ in the meantime and have started galloping towards the conclusion. Not happy with the title but not willing to expend too much brain power on it until the book is finished. THE TITLE IS ALL-IMPORTANT AND WHAT FOLLOWS IS EVEN MORE SO…
An old mate used to talk about something he called The Diversionary Force, an ever-present spectre waiting to leap out and distract you the moment there’s any danger you might achieve something important. For writers, The DF is lethal. Its power lies in the fact that there is always some plausible, legitimate demand on your attention, something you must get done before you can start the day’s writing. And with any luck, when you’ve done it, you’ll have forgotten the searing insight you were about to explore.
In the world of DF, the Inbox is King at the moment. It’s almost impossible to open an email that requires action without dealing with it straight away. I suppose it’s the same misguided instinct that prompts some people behind desks to answer the phone while they’re talking to you and keep you standing there for ten minutes while they have a conversation with the person who couldn’t be bothered to turn up and talk personally. I digress – (y’see? I was about to expose the Diversionary Force, when it tried to lead me off in another direction).
Today’s DF for me is the bottom left hand drawer in my desk which I find is stuffed to the top with old crap that needs to be thrown out. It’s in my penumbra while I’m working, so I can’t ignore it and the OCD side of my nature is saying “Get it done, then you can write in peace”. Yeah, right. The truth is, I’m having trouble with Chapter Nineteen of THE ROAD TO AVERSAC, and it’s going to take effort to crank up the brain and address it. Far easier to clear out a drawer. SO… no way. The book gets my full attention. The Diversionary Force is beaten for today and the left-hand bottom drawer will have to stay stuffed.