Friday, 28 January 2011


Sorted.  Done.  Ticked off the list.  I’ve finally seen ‘The King’s Speech’.

As the ecstatic tweets, blogposts and reports of packed movie houses tumbled into my machine as I tried to get on with my rewriting, it started to become less of a film I’d like to see, and more a film it was my duty to see.  Perhaps it’s the subject matter and setting – royalty, and the imminent arrival of World War Two; potent subject matters, which still resonate now, whether we have a direct connection them or not.

I think at it’s heart though, the notion of duty within the story is what touches people the most – and the consequences of following your duty to your country, or your family, or simply to yourself.  We all have duties of one sort or another, and watching the weight of those duties fall heavily on the shoulders of characters we normally see as icons of restrained calm is fascinating stuff.  It’s a great film, and my hat goes off to everyone involved in it – there’s a great QUADcast interview with Gareth Unwin, producer of The King’s Speech here.

That idea of duty is something I can see reflected in Hidden Daughter, my first novel, as it begins to tell the story of Penny, driven by an overpowering duty to travel through time – and steal, so her daughter can live a normal life.  And how it’s my duty to tell Penny’s story.  Which is why I need to finish my edits, and get going on Book Two…

Friday, 7 January 2011

Happy. New Year.

Wake up and check weather outside - clear.
Get dressed and step out of door - snow.
Change running shoes for boots (thank you Santa) and try again.

I'd planned to get back out and run to burn some off the calories I'd taken in over Christmas and New Year, and then the roads were covered in yet more snow, then the demon slush- I'd considered chancing it, but the potential image of me watching the winter sun dry the roads while I tried to find a ruler to scratch my broken leg put me off.  Ice skating down the aisle of the bus as it came to a halt confirmed it.

It's been the same with the new novel, Coalface - I'd planned to get something like a first draft sorted through Nanowrimo, but circumstance slowed me down.  I ended up with about 20,000 words, which I'm pretty happy with from a standing start - my hat goes off to anyone who hit the 50,000 target.

So between the buffets and the Christmas specials, I've been jotting notes and sketching ideas, ready for the new year; and I've learned two things through the process:-The new novel is not as simple as I thought (I've spent this week building a timeline for the story, and some starting rules for the alternative Victorian world they live in).
-If you keep going on something, there's a point you reach where it gains an internal momentum- so even when you're not actively engaged in it, some part of you still is.

So if you've stumbled on your new year's resolutions, keep at it - even if it's in fits and starts- if you do, you'll reach a point where you know you want to keep going- which is why I've just checked the weather on the news, and why I'll be out on the de-slushed pavements tomorrow morning.