Merry Christmas from the steamy tropical north of Australia! As we count down the last days till Christmas, we’re looking for rain, glorious rain. We’ve had a few whispery little showers, and the odd crack of thunder overhead, but Darwin is sagging under the weight of a mostly dry, over-heated Build Up to the monsoon season. It’s Mango Madness, Murder Month, Going Troppo, whatever you want to call it, but it makes people crabby and tempers short.
And Christmas was so busy I didn’t get this post finished in time, so Happy New Year instead! That lovely, dreamy period between Christmas and New Year has come and gone. I love that time when the town is emptied out, everything slows down, and people linger over breakfast and newspapers in cafes before wandering off to read a book on a shady verandah or catch up with friends over long slow lunches.
Two weeks in, we’re mostly back to work. I’m starting 2013 in the best possible way, getting my manuscript ready for my new publisher – Pan Macmillan. The process of working through your writing with a good editor is just wonderful. I’ve often been asked if it wasn’t challenging having someone suggest changes to something you’ve spent a year or more writing, but the answer is a definite NO. Nothing is ever perfect (or complete for that matter) and the opinion and point of view of an experienced editor is invaluable when you’ve been up to your eyebrows in your book. It’s difficult to get any distance from your own work, to see where the flaws and the weak points are. You’ve been completely immersed in a particular landscape and a set of characters for what seems like forever, and the trees are definitely getting in the way of the forest. Along comes a clear-eyed person with a pair of pruning shears, and a shovel for some replanting, and suddenly your book is illuminated with a whole new range of possibilities. The surge in creativity is electrifying, and you’re off. At least, I am. Which means this very occasional blog is going to be left in the wilderness for another while. But it means I’m writing.
Have a wonderful year, everyone. – Jo