Interview With The Author #3

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Here’s the third and last instalment of my interview with myself about my first novel, which I hope to finish very soon. You can catch up on the first two parts here and here.

You’re a proofreader/editor as well as a writer. Is it difficult to switch between correcting other people’s work and creating your own?

Not really. I seem to be able to shift gear when I sit down to write creatively. I give myself permission to get it wrong; to let it all hang out, as it were. I seem to be able to tap into an inspired, free-flowing part of myself, which is a blessing. It’s only later that I go back and painstakingly address every comma and semi-colon. And in fact, being rather anal when it comes to grammar and punctuation and structure had been very helpful. It’s helped me to construct a tight, complex plot – a bit of a jigsaw with (I hope) perfectly-fitting pieces.

The bit about rewriting the books in Heaven baffled me a bit.

Ah, yes. It’s OK that it’s baffling, I think. You have to finish the book with at least one question lingering – it wouldn’t be Heaven, otherwise.

Without giving too much away, Citizens in Heaven are offered the chance to “rewrite” their personal files in the Library of Unfinished Business – to rewrite their lives, in a sense.

I’ve spent some time in psychotherapy, and my therapist once told me that having therapy is like being offered the chance to grow up all over again, and in doing so having the opportunity and freedom to make new choices and decisions, no longer shackled by the hurts and wounds of the past. It’s like rewriting your own life story, in a sense. I have found this to be true, and I think the enormity of that, the impact of that discovery on my life, has found its way into my novel.

When will it be let loose on the world?

I’m doing a final review now, and then I’m going to have it professionally assessed. Then I’ll probably have to rewrite the entire thing (kidding, I hope). After that, proofreading and editing. (Not by me! A fellow proofreader has offered to do it.) And then I’ll embark on the soul-destroying process of sending it off to publishers. If that comes to nothing, I’ll publish it myself.

More than anything, I want to put this book in my father’s hands before too long. He’s 80.

So, let’s say next year sometime. Fingers crossed.

Are you excited?

Yes, but mostly terrified. I been working on this project for so long, and it’s so very personal, and means so very much to me, that the thought of opening it up to criticism and possible misinterpretation is very frightening. I generally keep intimate things very close to my chest, so being brave enough to let this baby go has been a challenge. But it has to happen. I’ve written it for me, but it also needs to be read. I just hope and pray that it will mean something to others; that it will touch them, or inspire them, or comfort them, or at the very least, make them laugh.

Anything else to add?

Near the end of the novel, a very important character says to my wonderfully redeemed, imperfect protagonist: “There is only love, Maurice. Only love, and human hearts to feel it.” I think that’s a fitting note on which to finish.

Stay tuned as I chronicle the final stages of my novel writing journey!

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