Light and Dark
Writing fiction is a peculiar way to spend your time. Engrossed in your own thoughts, in a world of your own invention, it’s easy to lose perspective on the ordinary world. When you step out of a period of intense writing, it’s like stepping off a yacht after a long sea voyage. It can take a while to regain your equilibrium. So after sending off the final, copy-edited manuscript of my new novel a couple of weeks ago I felt I little shaky. I haven’t posted a blog since then. After a few days of excited euphoria enjoying being out of my office and back in the world, I lost my balance and stumbled into a dark hole. I probably should have started on another book immediately. But perhaps that’s just putting off the inevitable, because there has to balance in life, work and writing. There’s been days of darkness around here and then sunnier, cheerful days too.
On Wednesday this week, the shortlists for the NSW Premier’s Literary Award were announced and it was a thrill to find Vulture’s Gate nominated for the Ethel Turner Prize for Young People’s literature. I’m very honoured to be considered for an award named after one of the most important Australian children’s writers of all time and impressed by the quality of books on the lists. ‘Vulture’s Gate’ has also been released in America this week too so it’s having a very jolly April out in the world.
Soon my new novel, ‘India Dark’ will be off to the printers. I’m marking up the proofs at the moment and getting that slightly breathless feeling of excitement and dread that happens just before you release a book, knowing that all the work, worry and wondering is almost over. What happens next is up to its readers and you can only hope that the story will find people who will love it and understand it. A little like what you hope for your children when they leave home.
I’m not sure what the next project will be. For the first time in over ten years, I don’t have another major project which I have to immediately turn my attention towards. I’ve been pulling out files and riffling through notebooks in search of the next story. Perhaps I need to simply sit outside and savour the autumn sunshine for a while. The best stories always strike a balance between light and dark.