I’m supposed to be immersed in Chapter 6 of the new book, the sequel to THE ILLUSIONISTS, but it’s hard to think myself into 1920s London when I keep wondering about what’s happening to the other volume on its first day out in the world. I should invest in that writers’ app that shuts off the internet, no quibbling, for an interval that you pre-agree with yourself. Or perhaps I’ll just give up and do the ironing.
It is almost exactly four years, I realise, since the original idea for THE ILLUSIONISTS came to me while I was gnawing my pencil in the library on the trail of another notion altogether. It’s impossible to harvest an idea in the process of trying to have an idea – they come out of the ether when you are in the throes of something else. The writing itself is different; you chip doggedly away, on some days cutting more than you create, on other days having a small surge of a few paragraphs. It’s slow work, deliberate in intent and execution, and on a daily scale seeming removed from any process of inspiration. It’s more like tiling, or darning. Although I know that many authors don’t see it like that it all.
I love hearing other writers talk, so I’m just off to Suffolk to the Aldeburgh literary festival. I’ll be seeing Patrick Gale, Sarah Dunant and – if I can steal or forge or embezzle a ticket – Hermione Lee discussing her wonderful biography of Penelope Fitzgerald, one of my favourite writers.
Thanks to all for following these accounts of bringing a book to market.
I think I’ve got a bit of post-natal depression…..