The Welsh talk about ‘hwyl‘ – meaning motivation – & I confess, over the past months mine has disappeared down the back of the sofa a bit. Not least with regard to this blog. Mislaid is perhaps a better description. And ‘found’ is laying down an expectation so all in all, the title of this post is a total misnomer! Whatever, I miss it; three months is, I think, the longest I’ve left it so today I shall scribble.
In those three months I have finished my fourth book – Only May – submitted it & been told by my delightful editor/publisher that she ‘likes May very much’. As in lockdown, so in publishing & the wheels turn slowly. To be honest, the pace has always suited me. Waiting to be ‘liked’ notwithstanding, working with a small press does mean a slower turn round than with bigger, busier presses. Because it takes me ages to write my stories, I’m perfectly content to wait.
While I do, I write. My word birds have been busy & although me & my hwyl are in ongoing negotiations, I have been showing up. (Writing a book is at least 75% showing up in my view.) The last few months then have seen me working on Book 5. It’s another ghost story. Gothic as all get out, it features a lady undertaker, a creepy old house, twin girls, a ghost & lots of sparrows. The hedge below my window hasn’t been cut through lockdown & the resident sparrows are revelling in their enhanced living quarters. They are defiantly, gregariously glorious! Who needs crows? they cry. Who needs magpies & rooks when they can have sparrows? Look at us – are we not magnificent little birds?
Quite. Hard to resist & once I began to map out the story I realised I wanted to include them. There is a magical thread involving these charming birds too; a story within the story if you like. Watch this space? Quite.
Only May is set in the 50s. Reluctant to write a book set in the present day (I have no desire to write a pandemic novel) for this new one I decided to go even further back in time. Between the wars to be precise. 1923. It’s another challenge. In no way am I a historical novelist (or a historian!) but I do find the era fascinating. The ‘Roaring Twenties’ & ‘Bright Young Things’ notwithstanding, after WW1 women were beginning to feel more empowered & confident. In Book 5, the Representation of the People Act, giving women like Lydia – my central character – the vote is still five years away. It doesn’t mean she isn’t brave & feisty; prepared to fight for what is her birthright. Or, when her life takes an unexpected turn, test her courage when her innate pragmatism is confronted by a ghost.
Nothing is truly lost – we may have lost a year (it could be another – who knows?) but for the writers, our imaginations never completely stop offering story ideas. I know mine doesn’t. It may be some time before I write here again, mind. On the other hand, it could be tomorrow. In the meantime, I shall do my best. Show up, scribble, read & ponder. Listen for the birds. Thank you for reading. Stay safe, be kind, & if you haven’t got one, be your own Valentine*! xXx