I have not written much here in recent weeks. I have been working on a new novel, and today I sent it in to Robert Kirby, my agent. Uniquely, in my experience, I had a period of more or less six months without interruptions, and I made the most of it.
I was at Utopiales, in Nantes, at the beginning of November, but returned feeling worn out and over-extended. Too much travel, and a heavy cold contracted because of Easyjet’s tight-fisted habit of overcrowding their unforgivably minimalist cabins, laid me flat during much of the rest of the month. I rose from the bed at the beginning of December, and almost immediately began work on the novel. I was refreshed, renewed, and had at last stopped coughing.
Amazingly, to me if not to anyone else, I had completed the first draft before the end of February. I began the second draft the next day, and that was completed mid-May. (The sole interruption during that period was Easter weekend, when I was at Ytterbium in London.) For the last couple of weeks I have been doing last minute corrections and amendments, but today it is all done. Overall, writing the novel was a happy experience. This morning the sun is shining, the Firth is mirror-calm, the ferries are sailing to and fro. I am free.
The new novel is unlike any of my previous novels, and stands as a sort of antidote to what happened to the first edition of An American Story. (We suspend judgement on what the trade will do with the paperback of that, due next month, along with a new hardcover collection of stories, Episodes.) No publishing arrangement has yet been made for the new book.
I shall be at Cymera, a book festival in Edinburgh, this coming weekend. Details: Sunday 9th June, 4.45 p.m, in Upper Hall, The Pleasance, 60 Pleasance, Edinburgh. EH8 9TJ. Details of my gig are here. Details of the Cymera festival are here.
On Friday 12th July, Nina Allan and I will be at BSFG (Brumgroup): 7:30 p.m. for 8:00 p.m., First Floor, The Briar Rose Hotel, Bennetts Hill, Birmingham. More details of BSFG here.