I haven’t blogged for a couple of weeks because I’ve been incredibly busy finishing my second novel, To Have and to Hold. I say ‘finishing’, what I actually mean is producing a sufficient number of words of sufficiently high standard to submit to my editor before my 15th October deadline. There are then many more iterations before it actually becomes the novel which will, all being well, be published next May. And I’ve done it. A few people are reading it through for me, and then no doubt there’ll be changes and corrections, but right now I can bask in a sense of achievement, and relax after the enormous stress I always feel when I’m working to a deadline.
Prior to becoming a writer I had no real idea of the length of time it takes for a book, even a so-called finished book, to actually make it into print. I’m not alone – when I’ve mentioned to friends that I have to finish my next book by mid-October, the most common response is “Oh, out in time for Christmas, then?” Not quite. Although, when Hodder and Stoughton get to the point where they’re advertising a ‘new Helen Chandler’ for Christmas then I’ll know I’ve really arrived. And in the meantime, Two for Joy would, of course, make a wonderful Christmas present for yourself or someone else…
So today is pretty much the first day since Anna started school that I haven’t dropped her off at 9am, raced home, written madly for five hours and fifty-five minutes before racing to pick her up again. I went to the hairdressers to have my hair restored to its, ahem, natural blonde, as in the five months since I last had highlights an alarming amount of brown root had begun to appear. People often comment that Anna and I have exactly the same hair, and they’re right – texture, colour and style are all pretty similar. The difference is that I have to pay best part of £100 four times a year to keep mine looking like this, whereas her blonde highlights in light brown hair are entirely natural. As indeed were mine aged four.
Then I came home, ate lunch, did a load of laundry, fed the kittens, baked a cake for a friend to say thank you for a favour, and now I have just under half an hour to blog before pick-up time. Six hours can vanish pretty quickly, I’m discovering.
I now have two kittens climbing all over me and my laptop, indicating in their not-very-subtle fashion that they’d appreciate a bit of attention, so I’d better go. Any typos this week, blame them.