Easter Monday and it’s snowing. My second daughter’s budgies, settled near the boiler like a couple of Davy lamps, nod and bob in amazement and the peony that has launched into flower looks faintly affronted. Don’t know why. It often snows in Glasgow in March, particularly if we want to go somewhere.
This image of Carcassonne has also, like the images on my previous blog, been created by my sister Alice, although her website, aliceoneilpapercuts.co.uk shows it off far better than I can. Silhouette is a fabulous medium, particularly for the medieval period: full of little windows and mystery, both very helpful to the writer.
With Blue Flame and White Heat done and dusted – Blue Flame is just about to come out in the UK – I’m deep into Paradise Red. Yet again I’m struck how writing these three books has been a completely different experience from writing the de Granville trilogy: harder in some ways because the subject matter is trickier and also because the way things have turned out, it’s not just a plain and simple story. For example, it has brought into sharp focus what is ‘real’ and what is not, and the very acute differences between being a novelist and a historian, differences that are not just about facts but about perceptions and desires. The historian in me says ‘so far and no further’. The novelist says ‘there is no such thing as no further’. Writing Paradise Red in the present tense continues to be a very writerly experience. I thought it might prove too cumbersome and limiting for a historical novel but quite the opposite. I feel that it adds far more than it takes away and leaves me constantly surprised.
Fat day today. Far too many chocolate eggs yesterday. It’s a good thing Easter comes but once a year. Isn’t it odd how just one day of overindulgence can make you feel like an elephant?
Onwards and upwards,