I’ve always been wary of talking about what I’m working on. It’s not the fear that someone else will pinch my ideas – they won’t, and even if they did they’d end up creating something totally different. Some of it is the fear of being told what I should be writing. However, there’s no one in my life now with the kind of power over me to feel entitled to tell me what my books and stories should be about. I can afford to let that go. There’s the fear of losing something of the concentration of a project, diluting it by speaking of it – a magical taboo against sharing. I’ve come to the conclusion I can afford to let that go as well.
So, what am I working on?
I started a novel back in the summer, and it’s crawling along very slowly, in no small part because I’ve not made much time for it. The thing I’m most interested in at this stage is the way people change over time. I’m influenced particularly by Anthony Nanson’s ‘Deep Time’ in wanting to talk about people who are personifications of place. I’m trying to make it a bit funny, and I’m trying for some less conventional structures, because I really enjoyed that with Letters Between Gentlemen. Pared down story telling created by focusing on what people might choose to record, or tell each other.
I’m a bit stuck around Pagan books. In three months, Pagan Dreaming has sold 147 copies, which left me feeling like I should give up on non-fiction titles. Some of my other titles have done better than this, and books are often slow to sell, and my publisher has kept making encouraging noises and refused to write me off as not worth it. This is the second time I’ve nearly lost my nerve and he’s encouraged me not to quit. So, I’m contemplating two projects. One is a Pagan Portal (under 30,000 words) on working with the elements – that should be easy to write and I think there’s enough people who might be interested in it. The other thought, is that I want to write a book about walking, pilgrimage and Paganism. I want to write something soulful and poetic, which automatically means I’m looking at a not-commercial sort of book. I’m going to do it through the blog, probably not writing in a coherent order, just putting things down when I think of them and keeping those blogs in one file. It means you get the first draft, and because I am more reliable about writing the blog than about anything else, there’s a fighting chance I will eventually write the book if I do this.
Next year, my other half is starting a graphic novel version of Mallory’s Le Morte D’Arthur, adapted by John Matthews. Four books over four years, and Hopeless Maine being finished off in the same time frame. This will be pretty intensive. I’m going to be helping out with the colouring. My first job was to go through the script and look at the named characters – there are a good 50 speaking parts in the first book alone, many of whom need to be recognisable as people. That would be a lot of faces for an artist to imagine into existence, so we’ve settled on a cheat. We’re casting people we know into various of the roles. It’s quite an entertaining process.
Aside from that, I’ve got a monthly column at Sage Woman, I contribute content to the Moon Books blog, I’ve been asked to write comedy Druid poetry for Aontacht, and Pendle Craft Magazine are going to serialise my novel Fast Food at the Centre of the World (originally a podcast at www.nerdbong.com and still available from there).