If you have been reading these blogs on a regular basis, you may have come to the conclusion that I’ve quite a lot of projects on the go.
Firstly, there are the two novels, Looking for Jonah and Queen’s Daughter. I am currently gearing myself up and girding my loins to reel in an agent for the former (it occurs to me that you can’t actually see my tongue placed firmly in my cheek as I wildly mixtmy metaphors!). The latter is currently entering the first 20,000 words of its second draft.
Then there are my fragments, to date Button-Eyed Pigs and a poem based on Kit Wright’s The Magic Box. All my fragments are scattered in notebooks secreted in safe nooks and crannies all over the house and finding them is a bit like going on an archaeological dig.
You see, like so many writers I know, I’m a sucker for notebooks. Oh look, that one’s got a butterfly on its cover… and the one over there has got definite overtones of William Morris.
Trouble is, I think on a keyboard! If I am going to a workshop, such as the one at Lapidus in Truro earlier in the summer, I pick a notebook from my store, write my piece, put the notebook away – and it never again sees the light of day.
Which is silly but also exciting because now I’m going through those notebooks, the majority of which comprise mostly blank pages, and I am finding all sorts of bits and pieces to post on the website. Not only that, but sometimes I have absolutely no recollection of having written them 🙂
After Fragments comes the question of my previously published but currently out of print novels. Of these, the one I’d most like to release back into the wild is The Arrogance of Women.
Arrogance was my second novel and I do rather feel it was ahead of its time. One of the issues it deals with is the question of parental rights. Is a mother always and automatically the best person to bring up a child?
In my experience, the answer is no. Speaking personally, had my parents split up while I was still a child, my mother would almost certainly have been given custody and for me, that would have been a disaster. I don’t intend to go into details here, but she was not an easy woman and it is to my dad’s credit that I’m as stable and sane as I am…
That’s direct experience, but I’ve also observed the damage a bad mother can do in a whole range of friends, acquaintances and family. I’m not saying that a good mother isn’t a wonderful thing, only that the damage a bad mother can do is incalculable.
In The Arrogance of Women this is one of the issues I consider. Eleanor is a troubled woman and not a good mother. Adam is distraught and infuriated by her assumption that her rights over their child should automatically take precedence. Like my own father, he is a ‘good’ man.
The book is about more than this, of course. It’s a rattling good tale about friendship found, friendship betrayed and rediscovered, and it’s about the power of commitment and love and how these things can transform and heal.
The novel is also about art and food: Adam is a restaurateur and Simon is an artist. I don’t have the skill to reproduce Simon’s paintings and murals for you but I shall probably post some recipes at some point.
Perhaps I’m sounding a little carried away, waxing lyrical about Arrogance, talking about paintings and recipes, but there is a reason for this.
I think maybe Arrogance’s time has come, and that people are more ready to explore other, broader, parenting options than they were when it was first published.
Yes, it’s definitely time to get Eleanor, Adam and Simon back out there and I hope you’ll join me on my journey. Observations and advice are most welcome. To begin with, I am currently in negotiation with an artist, recommended by the lovely Steph Haxton, who is going to produce a new cover for Arrogance. While she’s busy doing that, I need to get the text Kindle-ready, with the help of my other half, David, who is the techie one.
Have I gingered your curiosity? I hope so and, if I have, you can read the opening here on this website.
Oh, and another good thing is that the novel is partly set in Cornwall. So as well as updates and recipes, expect some pictures of Fowey and Polruen to appear on the website before too long…