How To Smell Like An Author

This morning as I stare out of the kitchen window in my usual precaffeinated state (read: gormless; the incompetent fledgling wagtails on the bird feeder have more savoir faire than I do), Mrs H gives me a swift side-eye and says, “You’ve started your next book, haven’t you?”

She’s right. This morning I hammered the first one thousand words into Tyack & Frayne Book Five, as yet untitled, and, provided I write like a turbocharged demon, scheduled for release on 2nd August. Yes, Harvest Festival – Lammas – Lughnasadh. You all know Gideon and Lee tend to face their adventures around those wild, crazy festival times, those turns of the year when the veil is thin. I hadn’t mentioned making a start on it to the missus, and I asked her how she knew. She said, “You just exude something.”

She assures me it’s not anything noxious, and we don’t need to call pest control. It is apparently perceptible, though. I can well believe it. My last few weeks have been entirely occupied with edits – to Cold Fusion, which I submitted to Samhain today, and to Ring Around the Sun, my Last Line sequel.  And the person who edits is not the same as the person who creates.

I need to keep this in mind. That 1K per day keeps me sane. TMI alert – menopause has entered my life like a mechanical digger and I barely recognise the new landscape. It’s not all bad – I’m getting to make the acquaintance of the person I was before the hormonal tsunami of 35 years ago, and I quite like the sane, clear-eyed kid who got washed away in the tide – but my creativity is altered. It’s coming from a different, less accessible place, and in some ways it was easier to sit back and work on something I’d already written. Ring Around the Sun is a wild and fiery book. I’m not sure I could have produced anything like it if I’d started now!

But there is nothing – nothing – to beat the sacred bloody beauty of finding new words. I sit down, write them, walk away a different person. Not in any way altered on the outside; still the same shambling zombie who needs another cuppa before she can string a sentence together out loud. But Mrs H can sense the change, and I love her for it. It’s nothing to do with money or reputation, although I value both those things and watch the bottom line on my sales reports as anxiously as any other professional writer. It’s life itself, the daily dues I pay to my gifts and my purpose in being here.

So here’s to Gideon and Lee, to Zeke, Ma Frayne, Jago and Elowen and even that lightfingered wee bastard Darren Prowse, who’ll all have their parts to play in this tale. Here’s to 1K per day – every day. It doesn’t sound much, but sometimes it takes – and means – everything.

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