Having had a prolonged break from work, I'm rather too relaxed to just dive back into it but I have no excuses now. I have my edits ready to work on, and can start straight away. Only, I've lost the writing groove, my word habit. It takes a while to lose it and it takes even longer to find it again. Pah.
On the plus side, my editor basically liked the book as it was, made 40 or so comments in the margin, most tiny things that needed rewriting or bits he liked, but a few of them will impact through the whole book. Somehow, I haven't really consistently captured the servant/master relationship between my main historical characters. Sometimes they seem more like equals than others. It's always difficult to write from the perspective of an unreliable narrator, Kelley thinks he's more important than he is, so I need to rewrite so there's a clarification for the reader. Fair point.
He also gave me a couple of pages of notes on the characters, which did make me smile, because he's sometimes told me to put stuff back in that I took out earlier this year. My agent didn't know who it would sell to, of course, and advised making changes that perhaps would appeal to a broader audience. Now the editor has suggested what he would prefer, and it's a relief that he doesn't want me to change it too much from my vision. I must admit I was worried that it would drift further from my vision but it's ending up pretty close to where it started out, only, thanks to my agent, much better written and much more even in tone! Still, I'm very conscious that this is my last chance to really improve it and it will be the showcase into my work, so I want it to look as smart and shiny as possible. Happy days. I'll get back to it immediately...OK, tomorrow. Maybe Monday...
Meanwhile, I have played board games and card games (and lost every time), watched films and silly TV, eaten too much and over-purchased cheese. The winter celebrations appear to be over so I can chill out. We saw a garden warbler this morning, which really should be overseas by now, but with raspberries still ripening, the wet weather doesn't seem to have warned the countryside it's winter yet. Though the lapwings are here, and I did see a fieldfare.
I have also read a spectacular debut author called Liesel Schwarz - make a note, this writer's books are going to be big, and hugely entertaining to book. A Conspiracy of Alchemists is a steampunk fantasy Gothic adventure written with a fantastic female protagonist, Elle Chance, a pioneering dirigible pilot caught up in a battle between Alchemists and Warlocks. Liesel draws readers in from the first sentence, and it's a rollercoaster ride from then on. It's available for pre-order and will be released in hardback and e-book formats on the 7th February.
Once you've fallen in love with Elle's story, and with her mysterious companion, Marsh, you don't have long to wait for the sequel, A Clockwork Heart, the next in The Chronicles of Light and Shadow series. I have been lucky enough to read a draft and - wow! Somehow Liesel has managed to ramp up the tension and the drama and create a storming ride through the next chapter in the story. I don't have a kindle, so I had to sit at the computer to read it - as the lights fell and I grew thirstier and stiffer. I couldn't tear myself away from it. Fantastic. Now, I wouldn't post a duff review, I just wouldn't post a review at all if I didn't like it. But this is one of those books that you just wish you had written.
They haven't announced anything, but since it's just you guys, I can can secretly tell you that Liesel and I share an editor...I'm hoping some of her imagination and energy rub off on me.