I’ve been on tenterhooks this week, waiting for Imogen, my editor, to get back to me about the opening chapters of book 3. Much to my amazement, I’ve managed to keep writing. In fact, since I submitted the first section to her (which took months), I’ve written as much again, plus a bit.
In my case, the first 15,000 words are the worst. Once I’m over that hump, the rest tends to run along much more nicely and, like childbirth, I forget the early stages and tend to think that writing is pretty straightforward, really. IT IS NOT!
I was out yesterday and today, on the Sophia Bennett Super-Mini Book Tour (two schools, four talks, one library opening and one fancy-dress competition to judge), so it took until this evening for me to get Imogen’s email. Which I’ll come to later …
Meanwhile, here are some highlights of the Mini Tour
- Arriving at Colchester County High School for Girls and seeing the place buzzing with bright, motivated girls. I’m thinking a lot about the topic of educating girls at the moment (so’s Queen Rania on Twitter, so it’s not just me …), and it’s great to see it happening
- Staying with my oldest friend from school, whom I’ve known since I was 11, and catching up on several months of family life over a large glass of white wine (I was that see-through woman from the very scary Government ads who will regret the white wine big time one day – but it was fun while it lasted)
- Arriving at my old school – Mayfield – in a minidress (yes!) and high-heeled boots (yes!). Makes up for all the sky-blue tweed I had to wear for 7 years. They don’t now. I doubt they miss it
- Seeing Threads in the form of a cake for World Book Day. Thank you, cake people!
- Answering a barrage of questions from the girls. I have a theory – the more questions there are, the more fun we’re all having
- Opening the rejigged Lower School Library with theshortest speech ever. I didn’t actually have to cut a ribbon, but it was close.
- Judging the fancy-dress (‘dress as your favourite character’) competition – THE BEST BIT!!! The Mad Hatter, Queens (sic) of Hearts and Bob and Wendy were amazing. So was Hagrid, and the Tin Man. And the Ugly Sisters. And the Cat in the Hat was great. There were lots of other great characters too, but only ten prizes, so there you go
- Revisiting bits of the school and village that I hadn’t properly looked at since 1984. Many of them have been going since the 1500s and they haven’t changed much. (Apart from the teachers of course. They have completely changed since the 1500s)
Everyone was charming and welcoming – staff and girls alike – and it was all very lovely. Thank you to Mrs Armstrong and Tara and John and Peter and Mrs Figes and everyone else who made me feel special, and made writing feel like a special thing to be doing.
Then I came home to my loving family. They seem to have survived without me and even done stuff like shopping and washing. (I shouldn’t be surprised, but a part of me expected the place to have unravelled without me. It was totally ravelled.)
And that email from Imogen.
She said she’d read the first section and so far was enjoying the book – and I quote – A LOT.
It think this is a good sign.
*Tired author goes to bed happy.*