I began my current work-in-progress, the fourth Lake District Mystery, on New Year’s Day, 2008. It seemed like pretty good timing, since the story of The Serpent Pool opens on New Year’s Eve. And late last night, Easter Sunday, I finally reached the end of the first draft.
So, nearly sixteen months to produce a first draft. Rather longer than I usually take, but it’s been a hectic year, with a variety of ups and downs. Pressures of different kinds have slowed my progress, but I’m truly grateful for the many good things that have happened since 1 January last year, and especially indebted to those wonderful friends who have supported and encouraged me in many much-needed ways – certainly too many to mention right now.
It’s been a demanding book to write, because I have tried to come up with a really interesting and unusual story. A book in a series does not have to be written to a formula – in fact, it’s better if it isn’t. But it has felt like a long haul, and it’s no coincidence that I started and finished the first draft on public holidays – when working full-time, writing hours are at a premium during a normal week.
I don’t have a clue how people will react to the book, and soon I will submit it to the questioning eye of agents and editors. There may be a need for re-writing, and the book won’t appear on the shelves any time soon. Publication at some point in 2010 is what I’m aiming for.
But right now, I just fancy pausing for breath!