February started with a disaster.
My computer crashed. Those are the three words every writer dreads. But because I am totally paranoid about losing material and don't trust myself not to wipe my whole world off the hardrive with the touch of a wrong button, I back up everything of importance.
So the new book is safe. Sighs of relief. That's the good part. The bad part is that I have wasted hours and hours on the stupid machine and eventually we parted company with much ill feeling!
Despite that setback, progress on The Red Scarf/Under a Blood Red Sky is steaming ahead. In January both Berkley (USA) and Sphere (UK) provided copyedited manuscripts for me to check through. This is a process some writers regard as tedious, but I actually enjoy it. After so many months away from it, working on other projects, it is interesting to return to the book with fresh eyes - and with a big fat red pen.
This was my last chance to alter anything before it is set in stone for the printer. So I took my time trimming and tightening. I defy any author to read his/her own work without wanting to alter something - even when it's the final published book in their hands. But at some point you have to say Okay, that's enough, and hand it all over to the publisher who, by this time, has a tight schedule to lock it into.
That's when your work stops and your publisher's work starts. So I am eager to hear initial responses from sales force etc as the finished book passes through more hands prior to publication.
This is when the excitement begins to build - and the nerves kick in!