Oh dear, this writer’s blog has been a bit of a builder’s house for the past couple of months.
Well, it isn’t because I have been idle. Quite the reverse. I’ve been busy finishing my fourth novel, the first of my new two-book deal with Headline and life, blog and all but essential functions have been put on hold since May.
It’s not healthy, in any way.
I’ve not gone for a run, barely walked, forgotten all about yoga. Our cupboards are bare and I’ve cooked hardly a thing (Ocado ready meals and so much pizza we’ve all got fat). I’ve rejoiced in the good weather simply because it means YoungSon has spent every afternoon after school in the park, thereby giving me an extra few hours at the keyboard. I have typed like a mad thing on trains on the way to lots of festivals (Bristol Crimefest and Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Writing Fesival in Harrogate, Surrey Writers Festival, Northwich Literature Festival and Stratford upon Avon Literary Festival). I’ve typed in cars (as a passenger, obviously) and pubs and hotels and on holiday in France.
It’s a balancing act that I have yet to perfect. On Robert McCrum’s excellent Radio Four series The Sins of Literature, Will Self says: ‘My books are not going to gather round me to comfort me on my death bed’. Damn right. Remember that, Crouch. He also bemoans the fact that writers miss out on great adventures because they spend most of their time in a room, on their own, typing. But there’s something of the devil driving you when you’re on a book. You lose all sense of proportion, you become insanely obsessive, you forget that you haven’t moved for three hours.
But now it is done! It has been read enthusiastically by the Old Man and Agent Simon, and is now with my new editor, Ali, who is looking after me while Leah enjoys her gorgeous new baby. And I have spent the day tidying out my writing shed, which was a pitiful mess, and clearing out all the vile spam that accumulated here while I was too busy to look out for it. And yesterday I let rip and cooked lunch for sixteen, which kind of got me up to date on hours spent in the kitchen and with friends and family.
I reckon I’ve got two weeks until the edits come in, and then it’s back under again, no doubt. But I’ve discovered a lot of things about myself and my writing process on this novel, and hope to share them here in the hiatus…