An excellent start for Blue Flame in the USA – a starred review in Booklist – and my UK editor loves the first manuscript of Paradise Red, the first time she has seen the third in the trilogy. The second, White Heat, has just come out here in the UK.
As it launches out into the world, our second daughter launches off to university. So much coming of age. She’s busy packing and in my search for sheets and towels I came across a bracelet I lost months ago, which was a plus, and then gazed at the sheets I was sending with her in horror. I’ve always thought them absolutely fine. After all, they’re just white sheets. Except now that they are to furnish a Cambridge bed I see that they’re no longer white – probably haven’t been for years. Rather, they’re what I call Glasgow grey from endless washing. Still, at least I’ll be able to get rid of another duvet. Ours multiply in a most unhelpful way and bulge out of drawers and chests as if daring me to chuck them out. Now there’s no need. They can go off to university with Eliza along with all the plates, wobbly lamps and old bits of cutlery I care not whether I see again. How many mothers are doing the same? A quantity, I’ll be bound.
To answer your query, Cody – and thankyou for posting a comment – firstly, I’m really excited about the publication in the US next month of Blue Flame, the first part of the Perfect Fire Trilogy, which I hope readers will like. Set in the stunning south west of France, it is a story of love in a time of fanaticism, with some twists and turns that even I, as the writer, did not expect.
Then, I have such a neat idea for my next book, although it is still at the bubble stage, i.e. try to catch it too firmly and it may vanish. It will be different from the Perfect Fire Trilogy, different, too, from the de Granvilles or even the Hangman. The overarching concept is about truth: what it is and how we see it. If I tell you I’ve been reading Don Quixote, which, shamefully, I had never read, that might provide a clue. So – a kind of Don Quixote-ish (very ‘ish’) novel of high romance set during the 100 Years War, which is the time of Chaucer or, perhaps more popularly, the time in which the film The Knight’s Tale is set. Lots of chivalry and ransoming and pennants and lances. But it will not be a comedy, just as Don Quixote is funny but not really a comedy.
My narrator is currently a dog and I’m finding his voice. The heroine I’m keeping under wraps. A freebooter, a kind of medieval mercenary and more Alan Rickman than Heath Ledger is hoving into view.
This is the stage where anything could happen, and probably will. I have opened a new notebook – always a good sign.
Thank you for your sympathy, Camille, over our domestic upheavals. Nothing like a hurricane, so we shouldn’t complain, but it’s so DEMENTING when you are constantly waiting for people to fix things. Anyhow, tomorrow may – I stress ‘may’ – be D day. Having got the joiners to shave the doors and watched them shoot, by mistake, through an electricity cable (now thankfully fixed), the painters come to redo the damaged paintwork. And that, my dears, may be that, although I shan’t count any chickens until a great deal more hatching has been effected.
This morning, a new set of excitements. Our bank was unhappy but apparently ‘sound’. This morning, the beastly thing seemed less sound so we took ourselves off to remove all the money not guaranteed by the regulator (or somebody) and stick it somewhere else. Spread the risk, people said. Don’t be your usual foolish selves. Well, trying to set up another account, then closing one and reopening it with our joint names was too ambitious. Really. I think the girl in one bank we tried to deal with must live in a bubble. She seemed oblivious of any turmoil and very surprised that we showed any concern. Unable to answer the most basic of questions, she summoned her boss, who answered one crucial question wrongly. This is why we hate the banks. After greed and complacency comes utter incompetence. It’s enough to make you want to stuff any money you manage to earn under the bed.
Whilst I was waiting for the bank to mess things up, I read Don Quixote. Seems curiously apt for these cloud cuckoo-ish times, and being nice and long, by the time I’ve finished it, the whole world financial system may have collapsed and reconstituted itself without my even noticing. And anyway, if financial Armageddon comes, I shall at least go under with the nice Birkin bag I bought on ebay slung nonchalantly over my arm.
I also ate two choc ices. I don’t know why, but they made me feel better.