At times it seemed like a Mission Impossible, although without the chase sequences involving various kinds of transport, and definitely without the disguises, especially the masks, but I’ve managed to complete and publish both the novels I’ve been working on in recent months, and still leave a whole week free for plotting the next one before starting to write it during the July edition of Camp NaNoWriMo.
My Pitkirtly novels have been almost all written, or started, or finished, during the various NaNoWriMo events during the year. I suppose their function as far as I’m concerned is fairly similar to that of the de-clutterer who now comes to the house every so often to help with the thankless task of sifting through at least 10 years’ worth of stuff of various kinds. It’s to encourage me to concentrate on the matter in hand and not fritter away all my time looking at funny animal videos on the internet, getting irate about politics and searching for ancestors who in many cases don’t seem to want to be found. In theory it should be possible to get novels finished and to de-clutter whole rooms without any outside encouragement, but this way seems to be working for me, so I’m reluctant to change it.
Anyway, now for some news about the latest publication.
Yesterday I published the historical novel I’ve been working on almost since before I even finished the previous one. Writing ‘The French Heir’ has involved quite a lot of research of different kinds. I suppose the first thing I did with this book in mind was to take an Open Learning course about the Battle of Waterloo, while the most recent was my visit to Rye, Appledore and the Royal Military Canal, which was built to help defend Kent and Sussex against a potential French invasion during the Napoleonic Wars. In between, I read some books about the battle, of which far and away the most useful and enjoyable was ‘The News from Waterloo’ by Brian Cathcart.
View over Rye and part of the Marsh from the Ypres Tower.
I loved writing this novel. This in itself is quite unusual, especially for anything historical. As a history graduate I tend to stress out about getting historical ‘facts’* wrong, which I may well have done in this case, but what I loved about this book in particular was the neat (in my opinion) way the plot worked itself out. I welcomed this with open arms in the light of the difficulties I had with the twists, turns and tangles of ‘Unrelated Incidents’.But now they are both complete.
I often have an empty feeling after finishing a novel, and this is very true of ‘The French Heir’, but don’t panic! I have to finish a short story for the 30th of June, and then on the 1st of July I will be plunging back into the murky waters around Pitkirtly to start on the novel so mysterious it’s known only by its series number (XIX).
*There’s a really interesting chapter about historical ‘facts’ in a book called ‘What is History?’ by E.H. Carr.