Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Out and About

Last week I was out and about - wrist in a splint - meeting and greeting my readers in Kent and in London. In Sevenoaks Library I had the huge pleasure of sharing the platform with a fellow Sphere author, Nina Bell.

We discussed and compared our inspiration for starting a book and how we go about our research, avoiding pitfalls and blatant errors. Nina has set her book, The Inheritance, in the horsey world of eventing, so her experience of research is very different from mine. It was both amusing and enlightening. We had a great evening with a keen crowd of readers.
For the signings at the end I had to strip off my splint and apologise for the wobbliness of my signature.

The next evening in Westminster Arts Research Library Nina and I were joined by the historian Mackenzie Ford, whose first novel The Kissing Gates is set during World War I. He sat between us, bringing an impressive gravitas to the occasion, and together we answered questions from our audience and from the enthusiastic Dr Sasha who was in the chair.

What struck me forcibly was that however much we differ as individuals, how similar are our work routines and techniques in the way we get ourselves to the end of a book. It's obvious really. Basic self-discipline and gritted teeth. A publisher cracking a whip encouragingly in the background also helps!

I always tell would-be writers that it's not starting a book that counts, it's finishing it. The world is littered with first chapters hiding at the back of drawers, gathering dust. Set yourself achievable goals along the way - and go for it. The most satisfying words in the English language are The End.


Karen said...

hope the wrist is improving

Kate Furnivall said...

Hi Karen,
Good to hear from you again. Thanks for your kind enquiry. Yes, the wrist is much better but still restricted in movement, so that means loads of physio to keep it working. But the main thing is that I am writing again - phew! I'm well into the next book but am looking forward to the new one, The Concubine's Secret being published in July. It's an exciting time. Hope all is well with you and you are enjoying our glorious spring weather.