When writing I am, it seems, always losing the thread, or seeking out that thought, feeling or idea that sent me into writing in the first place. Moving into October and deeper into Book 2, closer to that time a couple of years ago when I wrote the first lines of TOO CLOSE TO BREATHE and it has me thinking what a precarious thing this writing lark is. Prior to beginning TCTB, just a few days even, I had no character, no character name and the vaguest of vague senses of a theme. In fact, even a chapter in, I hadn’t settled on naming my character, Frankie. Not a necessity, of course, I was writing first person present but I’m a name person. I like the titles of my work to arrive with a bang and the names of my characters are carefully chosen. They have to feel right because with the name comes the person.
The idea that lead me to write TCTB felt strong but I’m not sure I could have described it then. It wasn’t a plot point, it wasn’t a twist or as often happens when I write, the sense of an ending. I recall seeing Frankie, step out of a building and I knew that she had just seen something truly affecting, disturbing but that this was part of her work and therefore she needed to deal with it. I knew she had dealt with similar scenes before but something had changed for her and this scene was triggering a huge emotional response. As I wrote, I saw there was a scar over her temple, not an old scar, it still ached and I knew she’d been victim of some crime. I saw that this trauma had forced a new perspective on her work and she was struggling with that. The idea, as nebulous as it was, did shift and change. Sometimes it called the narrative forward with such urgency it was a heady experience to get Frankie’s words down. Other times I had to search for it anew. As I write through the middle of book 2 I remind myself of this often so I don’t drown in self-doubt. Some days I can hold the original idea in my hand, and it’s perfectly tangible, other days it slips through my fingers like sand.
In the meantime, the bound proof of TOO CLOSE TO BREATHE for the UK/IRE has been finalised. The layout for the bound proof looks am-aaaay–zing and should be ready to go out soon. Yes, I’m STILL pinching myself. Any moment I’ll be found out and someone is going to snatch this away. A few weeks ago I met with the German editor and she said she’d like some author videos, so I’ve had a stab at them which I’m SO comfortable with and I’m working through the page proofs for the US edition now. My lovely friends at The Winged Pen have put up a little feature on their website for the US edition (check that out here) and pre-orders are open for both US and UK books. Again, STILL pinching myself.