Happy New Year. It's that time again - an opportunity to get out the new broom, to make a fresh start, another chance to do everything better this time around. As optimism is my default mode, I number myself among that absurdly hopeful band who make new year resolutions and one of them this year is to give more time to my blog.
The problem is that Work and Life have a nasty habit of getting in the way. Towards the end of 2010 Life got in the way big time, disrupting my schedules, so that instead of finishing The White Pearl by Christmas, I have yet again missed my deadline. Which makes me so cross I kick the cat. But now that Life is taking a backseat once more, I am up and running towards the finish of the book.
My publishers at Little,Brown UK and Berkley US have been angels, shifting publication and production dates to accommodate the delay in delivery. Nevertheless I still feel a heel about it. This throws up the temptation to take shortcuts, to reduce the number of scenes, to make them shorter, get to the point faster. Of course this kind of self-editing is no bad thing. It produces a better, pacier book. Altogether more focused. I advise all would-be novelists to practise writing a scene to a time limit because it's amazing what pressure can produce. A different part of the brain kicks in.
Finding the right balance is the difficult part, between thinking time and writing time, but my heroine, Connie, is giving me a quick rap on the knuckles. She's impatient to strut her stuff through Malaya and get out there on the bookshelves for all to see.
My other new year resolution? Not to be a slave to my characters who stomp around my head as if they own the place. I'm threatening them with a new broom!