Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Oh look, pretty book

Hooray, the bound proof has arrived! I now have an actually, 3 dimensional solid book with pages and everything. Very cool.

I've practised browsing through it, casually flipping through the pages, admiring the size and texture of it. Put it on the shelf amongst a variety of other books and, even if I say so myself, it is rather more handsome than the rest.
What's wierd is all the stuff you didn't realise until it became a book. Like how short the chapters are. The words, my words, look so very different, almost like they were written by someone else. I'm so used to seeing them on the screen or double-scaped Times New Roman, Size 12.
On other news, Greenhouse has a new agent, Julia Churchill, officially started yesterday. Hmm, it's difficult to describe her except maybe...not quite Christian Bale, but she'll do. While she may look sweet and approachable (and indeed is), she has the hunting instinct of a great white shark, so make sure you only send her your very, very best work.
The great rewrite continues on THE DARK GODDESS. The day-job strategy has(more or less) become established, but I'm still writing 'till about 1am. Have adopted afternoon sleeps to compenstae for the sleep deprivation. As a summary of the THINGS WHAT I HAVE WRITTEN since yesterday we have:
1. One dead mother.
2. One new love interest.
3. One KGB spymaster (retired).
4. One torture scene.
5. One drowning (sort of accidental).
6. A Ferrari.
Something for everyone, don't you think?

Monday, 19 January 2009

Deus Vult

I'm just back from my media presentation at Puffin. It didn't go quite according to plan.
I had this speech planned, practised and commented on. It had been fine-tuned but seemed informal enough to appear off the cuff.
But then...
I realised it didn't mean anything.
Hi, I'm Sarwat. I've written a book called DEVIL'S KISS blah blah blah.
Instead I discussed how I came to write this particular story. Why, when you have no hope left and the worst that can happen has happened, there is only one answer.
Deus Vult.
God Wills It.
To write horror you have to write what terrifies you. For any parent there is only one true horror and that is your child dying and you not being able to do anything about it. That is the premise of DEVIL'S KISS. Children die. They die because bad things happen. They die because they were unlucky. They die because they are small, fragile things.
But if you believe in the divine, God in whatever shape, name or form He might come in, they die because He Wills It.
Some may take comfort in 'these things happen for a reason' but some may not.
This is a story about those who believe that 'God is on their side' and the misery such certainty always brings.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Facing Defeat

What happens if things don't go well? I've been pondering it today for various reasons, how we deal with losing, and our dreams not coming true. I caught the tail-end of a Radio 4 talk about 'Slum-dog Millionaire', a new film about a young man who lives in the slums of Mumbai and wins Who Wants to be a Millionaire.
We're conned into thinking that on a toss of a coin all our dreams can come true. Is that it? Heads I win, tails I lose? Everything?
I wonder, at what point (on a personal level) will I ever become immune to fear of failure? Does JK Rowling awake at nights sweating thinking "OMG! No-one will buy my book!"
Okay, highly unlikely, but there may be something. Her's I think will be whatever she does next, can it possibly reach the same heights as Pottermania?
If my writing career (such that it is) never takes off, would I be able to just shrug, say it was fun while it lasted, then go back to the day job?
Part of me would love to know I had the grace to do just that, but then part of me wonders if I had that attitude, where it didn't matter, what worth would my achieving anything be?
Are we're addicted to 'crash and burn' success? The image that, overnight, our world can be made glorious summer, but just as quickly become discontented winter.
This goes back to rejections. How can you not take it personally? I know I did. I expected them, but they still had an impact. Oh God, and soon I'll be faced with REVIEWS. Aargh!!
Writing is so bloody difficult. Every line is fraught with dangerous decisions, and you're stumbling through with a heady mix of creative highs and critical dread. Even if you've mapped the river you're swimming down there are rapids, deep waters, waterfalls and blind corners. Too fast you crash, too slow you sink, too much of this, not enough of that.
Sorry for a slightly rambling blog but to end I will say this: I swear, the next person who tells me they've wanted to write a book or that it must be easy being at home and just tapping at the keyboard for a living I WILL EAT THEIR LIVERS!

Saturday, 3 January 2009

New Year's Resolutions

I'm not really into these, mainly because half-way through January I've forgotten what they were. So, this blog will be a reminder for me to check 12 months hence and see where I got to.

1. Finish THE DARK GODDESS. That goes without saying really and the one resolution I won't forget. But I want to finish it by Febuary, which will be interesting. I've spent the holidays really tearing the plot apart until it's in tatters. The new plot is like a lazer of pain, trauma and INTENSE EMOTION! Much better on all fronts. Now I just have to write it.

2. Get fit. Really at my age it's becoming pretty critical. If anyone (that means you, Jon Mayhew) has tips on how to make jogging interesting, I'd like to know. I've already got the MP3 player.

3. THE SECOND SERIES. This is the one keeping me up at nights. Once TDG is out of the way I'm basically unemployed until I get cracking on the next idea. Various ideas are floating in and out of my head but I want this one to be a show-stopper. Will keep you informed. But NO VAMPIRES.

4. The Christian Bale thing. Since I am already a 15th level Fanboy where can one go? I think Tracy's idea about him playing Billi's dad may be a good one, though rather extreme and unlikely (but hey, what's wrong with extreme ambitions?). Plus I kinda had hybrid crossover of Sean Bean and James Purefoy in mind when I wrote Arthur (though Sarah may disagree).

5. Expand my reading horizons. I really should get into some of the classics if only so I have something else to write about apart from the Iliad. Suggestions would be welcome. I know, I must finish one Dickens, one Jane Austen and one Russian and one French writer this year. That'll do.