Exactly a week to go before leaving for the big Central Asia adventure/research trip. Getting the visas for five post-Soviet countries has been a steeplechase, and we have fallen at the last fence – Azerbaijan. An ordinary tourist visa takes six working days to issue, so we calculated on the basis that it would take – six working days. Ah, but that doesn’t include the day you take your passport in or the day you pick it up again, so that actually makes eight working days. Our passports wouldn’t be ready to collect until October 3rd, by which time we will already be in Kazakhstan. Our brilliant operator, Wild Frontiers, think it’s possible to apply for an Azerbaijani e-visa which can be processed while we’re travelling and which we can then download somewhere or other en route. Fingers crossed this works – or in a month’s time we’ll be stuck in the port of Turkmenbashi, wistfully gazing across the Caspian Sea to Baku.
In the meantime I’ve been working on the copy-edit of The Company of Strangers. This is still the title as of today, although my agent, my publicists and I are going to meet up with the editor and the marketing team on Tuesday, when the final decisions on this and the cover will be made. I have my preferences, but the author is only one cog in this machine. The meticulous copy-editor has pointed out some inconsistencies in the book’s timescale, luckily not too difficult to put right. Inexplicably there are also a couple of chunks of text missing altogether. But it will all be off my desk tomorrow and the next time I see it, it will be a book!