How odd. A copy of Hiram Grange and the Nymphs of Krakow arrived this week, the first I’ve seen. It’s a brilliant moment in any writer’s life, an exuberant, thrilling moment. At the same time, it’s dislocating. For almost two years, this story has been part of me, on the inside, and in my notebook, and on my laptop. When it suddenly turns up in the mail, glossy, gorgeous, and full of itself, well… it’s my thoughts, made real. It’s not part of me anymore, it’s its own thing. Other people can pick it up, read it, and have completely different relationship to it than the one I have. For the longest time, this story and I have had a deeply intimate and private relationship. Now, we’ve decided to see other people, and while that can be exciting, it’s a little uncomfortable. My book now has a life of its own, will meet people I never will, will hopefully please them enormously, and it’s very likely I’ll never even hear about it. Strange, and exciting.
But don’t feel bad about buying a copy, and spending time with it behind my back*.
Also a pleasure to see the first chapter of Craven Place filling the final pages of the book, the novel you can get for free in instalments if you sign up to the Shroud Digital Edition. I may have been involved with Hiram for two years, but that pales in comparison with my more than decade long relationship with Craven Place. Makes me feel dirty just thinking about you reading it. Go and sign up immediately.
In a complete change of tone from the dark, perverse, pulp styling of Mr Grange, this week I also received the final edits of my Iris Wildthyme story, The Story Eater, which has bold colours, and comedy. Good edits by good editors are good things – as long as you also know your own mind, they make your story better. I have to confess to an internal groan when I opened the document up, and saw how many editorial comments were on the manuscript. I cheered up considerably when I found that half of them were editor Stuart Douglas just highlighting things he really enjoyed. In fact, copy edits aside (the bits where my typos are gently pointed out to me), the only major change required was to the tone of the ending. It was a change I didn’t mind making in the least, as it affected how the characters progressed into the future. These aren’t my characters, after all, and there will be other writers who need them intact for future stories. The whole Iris experience, like Hiram, has been a genuine pleasure. I have now written dialogue for a tiny, stuffed panda who sounds very much like Noel Coward. Can’t say fairer than that.
While not writing, editing, or encouraging you to buy stories, I’ve been completely monsooned on in the last few weeks. We were actually out and about in the monsoon last weekend. While Kirsty went to get beautified, Eva and I popped out for coffee and book browsing, and the rains swept in while we were out. I called our driver while under an awning, and in the ten seconds it took us to cross to where he pulled up, we were drenched. I got Eva into the car, then stepped onto the road to get in the other side. It was calf deep. Made me glad to have a big car – driving home was more like boating. We’ve now had weeks of rain, but it looks different at road level than from our lofty apartment.
It makes us crave a vacation, especially after the unpleasant pitfalls of our Scottish trip. Around about October, we’ll be heading off to Hong Kong for a couple of days, then to Hong Kong Disneyland for a couple more. I’ve done Disney before, in Florida, but was too busy being a cynical teenager to enjoy it as it’s designed to be enjoyed. Going with a six year old with a passion for princesses is different, and I’m really looking forward to it, talking rodents and all. After that, we need to make a Christmas plan. Delhi was fine last year, but something else is required for Christmas 2010. Sri Lanka? Malaysia? Back to Thailand? Decisions, decisions…