I’m between books, which is a strange time. I really need to start finding my voice for book 4, because my main character is struggling to get out and she won’t stay locked up in my head for long. Meanwhile, here are some of the things that are keeping me going while I lie on my chaise-longue, eat grapes and do all those other things authors do when they’re not chained to the laptop.
After a certain amount of hint-dropping and plain all-out begging, my husband has bought me the book of fashion by the Kyoto Costume Institute, which has just become my all-time favourite fashion book. Two books, actually. Enormous, hardback volumes that require a small trolley for transportation purposes. The illustrations are incredible. How did so many glorious historical outfits end up in Japan? I can only assume they’ve had a series of inspired curators and a LOT of money to spend. Anyway, one day I have to go to Kyoto and see these in the flesh. They are wow.
These cakes and sandwiches literally kept me going when I visited Gravesend Grammar School for Girls last week.
When you’ve just presented your inspiration and a potted life-history to 80 or 90 Year 8s, you need sustenance. The sandwiches were yummy and the cakes were very wow. I was treated like a princess throughout my stay and the girls asked some great questions.
One of them was ‘How do you choose what genre you’re going to write your next book in?’ There are lots of answers to this. One is ‘The books simply appear from nowhere and I just write them down. I have no control over the process.’ I wish.
Another is ‘I stick to what I’m good at and hope my readers will like the next one as much as the last one.’ Which is kind of true, but possibly a bit boring for all concerned. It’s nice to mix it up a little bit. Plus I’m intrigued to see what other people are doing, and what other people are reading, and it’s impossible not to be even slightly tempted do be a bit more mystery-y, or romance-y, or sci-fi-y. Actually, scrub that. I’m not even remotely tempted to be sci-fi-y. But I still like to experiment.
So I guess the real answer is, ‘You pick what feels challenging, but what suits your characters and the story you want to tell, and you hope for the best, and you take a risk, and you go for it.’
Oooh! Scary! I love my job!