The time has come when I have to come out of the closet and start being open about something I’ve been keeping very close to my chest. Yes, that’s it, I’m writing another novel! I’ve passed the 10,000 word mark now, so I guess I have reached the point where I can own up to writing it without it turning out to be a false start.
It’s been a long time coming. I’m not one of those lucky people who can write a novel in a month at a pinch, and comfortably turn out three or four a year. After Revolution Day I spent many months agonising about what novel to write next. For a long time, the plan was to write a sequel to Zeus of Ithome, following its central character, Diocles, through further adventures, possibly involving Philip II of Macedon. I did some research, worked out a chronology of the historical events and started thinking of how I might weave a plot around them. And that is still a book I intend to write, in the fullness of time.
But that idea has been rather rudely shoved out of the way by a newcomer. A novel about a woman’s relationship with her father. They are close, but there is a part of his life he will never talk about. Then, as dementia robs him of his more recent memories, he begins to live in that time again, remembering the same traumatic events as if they had only just happened. The idea got hold of me and wouldn’t let go, until, with a sigh, I put all the research I’d been doing for Zeus Mk II on one side – and started researching dementia instead!
This is a much more personal novel than either of my previous two. It’s not autobiographical, but it does draw upon my own experience much more heavily than either Zeus of Ithome or Revolution Day. And although none of the characters represents a real person (even in fictionalised form), I have borrowed aspects of real people, and events from real people’s lives (including my own) in order to fill them out. In a book that is essentially about memory, I am really enjoying revisiting some of my own memories of places that played a big part in my childhood, such as the Great Orme at Llandudno [ see pic: (c) KTC ].
What kind of novel is it? Well, a contemporary novel, a literary novel, I guess. You could even call it a historical novel in a way. Like Revolution Day, it combines a real-time story in the present with the recollection of earlier events. The father is in effect reliving history, albeit twentieth century history (in particular the Second World War), rather than anything further back in time.
Well, there you are. I’ve said it! The cat is out of the bag. Not much more to add at this stage. I don’t have a title yet. It’s still early days, and doubtless it will take me quite a long time to finish. But watch this space …