There’s a cold wind blowing and grey clouds brewing. Time to ‘batten down the hatches’. Apparently, in winter, we actually produce hormones that make us sleepy, designed to restore body, mind and soul. Well, whilst I appreciate cosying up on a cold winter night, my mind still races on. It seems, for me at least, the writing struggles to keep pace with the thinking.
It never gets old, seeing the book I wrote in print. I’m generally hopeless at remembering dates, but 24th May 2018 will likely stick for a long time to come: the date I held my first published book. Since then I’ve ventured out, introducing people to the story of Return of the Mantra. I appreciate each person who has taken the time to let me know how much they enjoyed it. A recent moment of excitement when it appeared as Day 8 of a reader’s book advent list – thank you twitter.
And now I’m working on a sequel; I’ve lost track of how many years ago I started it. The first book was complete, with an ending, but there always was going to be loose ends. I decided to re-visit the characters ten years on (in their world). And as they struggle to come to terms with their own history, a whole new land is introduced. In the planning stages I looked at some of my paintings and had a thought.
The paintings that offered up inspiration were hand-painted mosaics – though at this stage I couldn’t possibly tell what it was that inspired the story!
Both canvasses are big, approximately a metre square to fill with painstaking detail. Always it comes down to inspiration. So I thought of oases in the desert, the detail of henna, and the vibrancy of Durban amid the grey. It took a total of almost three months to complete the largest, in what felt like a sort of meditation. Tuning out and focusing on the detail is not dissimilar to writing.
Each project goes through the same cyclic process. For the sequel, I’ve thought, I’ve written, I’ve edited and hopefully now I’m on polish. And as I tighten the narrative and fine tune the characters, the world gets sharper in my mind. It’s not a world of black and white, but rather varying tones of grey. And yes, there’s a book 3, although think and write is about as far as I’ve got with that, so a long way to go. But first the polishing of book 2, and hopefully, with perseverance, it will find itself in print, nestled on my bookshelf.