All right then. This is my third attempt to get this blog piece written this month. As you may have noticed it's been a while since the last one was posted around here. To be honest , I'm only managing this because I'm sitting at home waiting for the postman to deliver the proof manuscript for Great North Road -and it's raining so I can't get out into the garden, which needs mowing, weeding, the fruit cage sorting out...
So what's been happening since last time? Well, obviously I've finished Great North Road, which came in around the 350,000 word mark. Ah, you ask, but am I pleased with it? Well here's the thing... writers are always pleased with what they've written (several neuroses aside), it's a curse for interviewers who always want to know 'which of your books is the best one?' because the answer is always 'the latest'. However, is it any good? Is a more difficult question. All I can tell you is that various editors and agents haven't got back to me saying: what were you thinking? Go back to your shed and do it properly. Based on that, I'm hopeful. In some ways the book is quite different to the last couple of series, and the structure employes a lot of flashbacks, which is new ground for me. Time will tell.
Then there's the other book I've written this year, Queen of Dreams. Another book already this year? But it's only May. Yes, but I haven't quite reached Steve Baxter levels of productivity yet. I've finally started the project which I've been talking about for a couple of years at least: the Children's Book. Which after several rejections from various publishers is now three children's books, collectively known as The Books Of The Realms. It's shorter, 52,000 words. And it's fantasy. And it is for the 8 to 12 year-old age range, not Young Adult, which is the automatic assumption everyone has (YA allegedly pays better). I'm also awaiting opinions on QOD from various professionals, as they were all been busy at the London book fair when I handed it in, and promised to read it as soon as they were back in the office -ahem! two weeks ago. However, Mrs H has read it, and again I wasn't told to get back into the shed. Sophie is halfway through, and she seems to be enjoying it. Various nieces and children of friends are about to be given print outs as well. I expect that kind of feedback is going to be brutal.
I have got some ideas for potential children's SF books if this whole venture takes off. But the notes I'm making on that elusive Fallers trilogy are now also growing slowly but surely. I think I've been premature in calling it a trilogy, as yet I've no idea how long it will be as the story arc is still under development, though I do think it will be more than one. I'm expecting to start writing Fallers (or whatever it winds up being called) when I've finished the Books Of The Realms at the end of this year -assuming my publisher signs up for it. I've also been saying that even though it's set in the void itself before the events of the Void Trilogy and won't feature any original characters from the Commonwealth, it now looks like I was wrong about that. If you ever wondered what happened to Nigel Sheldon, you'll be able to find the answer here.
Well that's business, what about life? We have kittens now. Ahhhh. At least they were kittens when we got them before Christmas, now they're just huge. And they won't stay off the kitchen work surfaces. And they sit on my lap purring when I'm trying to type on the laptop. And the kids like them so much they want to know when we're getting a puppy. What have we started?
I was at the SFX Weekender again in February, which is now a firm regular on the calender. North Wales rather than South Coast this year. Given it takes place in a Pontins camp, there's not a lot of difference. As always, people develop a big community spirit in adversity. Not that I'd know, as always the magnificent team Tor publisher arranged for its authors to be housed off site in a weird and wondrous rented house just above Prestatyn, which you get to by driving up what has to be the steepest hill road in the UK. Made even more interesting given I was in a hire car at the time. I had a crash in January, I'm fine but my car wasn't. They call them crumple zones for a reason. And they really do work, absorbing all the impact. But afterwards there's not much left of them. Wow.
Anyway, big hello to everyone I met there. As always I had a great time, and if you're looking for a fun con to go to I'd recommend it without hesitation.
I'm due at Elstercon in Germany 22 – 24 June in Leipzig. www.fksfl.de So if you're going along please say hello, and I'll be happy to sign any books of mine that you bring.
Then in July I'm off to ComicCon in San Diego. More on that nearer the time and on facebook. I haven't got my schedule yet, but I'm expecting to be on a few panels and do some signings.
On the viewing front Mrs H and I have discovered Big Bang Theory. As always we go through DVD box sets like chocolates the day after a diet ends. Seasons 1,2 & 3 in six weeks, and we've already started on 4.
I took Felix (age 5) to see The Phantom Menace in 3D during the Easter holiday. I remember how everyone (myself included) trashed it when it first came out, so I was hoping that either I've mellowed or it wasn't really that bad. Hummm. Okay, there are some good parts, Darth Maul, especially. But the 3D is more like 2.5D. As expected, Felix loved the pod race and the big multiple fight scenes at the end. Interestingly when we came out and I asked him what he liked best the answer was simply: the funny man. And who's that? Yes of course: Ja Ja Binks.
What am I listening to right now? Lana Del Rey -what else.
Peter F. Hamilton