The Book of 2012!
I can’t believe 2012 is almost here – where did 2011 go? I remember, as a child, my mum saying how time flew as you got older. It seems such a bizarre concept when you’re young, that the speed of time could vary according to your age. Those six week summers seemed more like six months than six weeks. Each day felt like a week, and in my memory they were always long sunny days where we played in the garden from dawn until dusk. No matter how little money we had, mum and dad always made sure we had a holiday, and it was nearly always a place where there was sand and sea. It’s funny how things like this stick. I still find myself longing for the sea.
I’m not big on planning in my day to day life and tend to avoid it as much as possible, but with the end of one year and the beginning of another, I think it’s inevitable that we think about what has been and what we would like for the future. And sometimes, if the current year has been a baddie, what we would like the new year NOT to be like! There’s normally something in our minds, the most important thing that we want, that we hope for in the year to come. Sometimes this can be an abstract thing, such as happiness, health, the well-being of the people we love, but quite often there is something more specific. You could compare this to the main plot in a novel. Then there are the other, less important things, the sub-plots if you like. We have ideas for these but they are not as important. My main plot in The Book of 2012 is to find an agent, a good agent. Having made next to no effort to find an agent in the past, preferring to approach publishers direct, I now find myself latching on to this idea as if it’s one that I have just invented. The manuscripts are written… approaches are to be made.
Then the subplots… The Book of ‘2012’ wouldn’t be very interesting without them. Buttercup Magic: A Mystery for Megan, (for 6-9 year olds), comes out in paperback in April with Piccadilly Press. I have a launch to plan, and, obviously, I want the book to do well. I want to hold it in my hands and read it. I want to see it on bookshelves and in libraries. These things are all part of ‘the dream’, part of The Book of ‘2012’.
Derbyshire has its wonderful literary festival in May and I have four slots to fill. I missed the last festival (I was still nervously peeping out of my writers’ shell at that point) so, even though I’ve done school and library visits before, I’m still a bit nervous about it. I’ve now written the 2nd book in the Buttercup Magic series. It was interesting to see how the story moved in a different way to the first. I don’t know whether it will be published. There’s no certainty in these things. A 2nd book depends so much on overseas interest and how well the 1st book has done, which makes it a bit of an unknown at the moment.
My plot planner, the first one I have ever done, for my YA novel currently known as
TSP (not TCP which is that vile anti-bacterial stuff we were made to gargle as kids when we had a sore throat) sits beside me on the floor as I write. Two days before Christmas I completed this – at least, it is as finished as it can be for the moment. I am eager now to write the book. The first 1/4 of the book was written in the Autumn and then put to one side while I worked on the rest of the plot planner (more about plot planning, making and using a planner in next week’s Blog post.)
My Book of 2012 wouldn’t be complete without a holiday. As I said earlier, I crave the sea! In 2010 we went to Caernarfon in Wales. I have three particular memories of this holiday that I am sure will last for ever. The private beach five minutes from the converted barn we were staying in, and the subject of my poem, Traeth Cerrig, (click here to read the poem), the run away sheep who we tried to rescue, and the village of Beddgelert, approached by a windy road running through the most astonishing mountain scenery I have ever experienced.
Last year, we went to Anglesey and stayed in the most stunning old mill house on a hill
overlooking a valley, the sea just visible on two sides. The approach was through woodland and fields of sheep – a walk I made numerous times a day with our greyhound. We had a fantastic time running along nearly deserted beaches and crab fishing in the rock pools. Our hound had her first boat trip during a visit to Puffin Island, an event which inspired a book I have written for 6-9 year olds, and which I hope will find a publisher soon. This year, we’ll be going back! We didn’t get to visit the RSPB place at South Stack last time, and would love to do that. Also, the West of the island is only a stone’s throw from Dublin. My great grandma, who I never knew, was Irish, and despite attempts to track down more details about her on the internet, I haven’t been able to. I’d like to hop over to the main records office in Dublin and see if I can find anything out about her there. This will also become part of another writing project I hope to work on for The Book of 2012.
It strikes me, as I write this, how much of the future is a pulling together of the past, how much of what we hope for is affected by what has been. Life really is like a book – it’s our story. We can plan it, but it can branch off in unknown directions, just like the plots in our stories. You can only know what is in your mind to do, you cannot know the path it will take.
Last, but not least, some Thank yous!
A big thank you to all Tweeps who follow me and to those I follow, for making me feel so at home on Twitter after only 6 months, for brightening my days and making the spaces between writing so worth while. Special thanks to The Awfully Big Blog @AwfullyBigBlog for welcoming me into the fold and to Jenny Alexander @jennyalexander4, We Love This Book @welovethisbook and Women Writers, Women Books @WomenWriters, for inviting me to guest blog for them this year. Thanks also to everyone who has reviewed Grub’s Pubs, to everyone who takes the time to read these posts and to those of you who leave your comments – always appreciated, and like rose petals showing me the way. Thank you xxx
Do you make plans with the start of a new year? Or do you prefer to go with the flow?