Sunday, 2 October 2016

I've written a novel!!

I've written a novel.

There, I've admitted it. I've not talked about it here before - partly because the whole process has been so tortuous that only someone mildly obsessed with it (as I have been) could have stuck with it. But - as it won't be long before it sees the light of day - I'll tell you a bit of its story.

Some of you may have read Over the Hill. Some of you may recall me driving round New Zealand in a campervan as big as a bungalow with good-to-know-Cath. We spent one night in Hokitika - which is one of the bleakest places I've ever been. Once a gold town, the streets are still lined with banks and jewellers, but there's almost nobody there. I can't blame them: the wind blows from the Antarctic and the sea is wild and dangerous.

We went to the museum to get out of the cold, and found memorabilia from the gold rush days. There, among the vignettes (almost all about burly men who had come to find treasure) was the story of Barbara Weldon. She had been born in Ireland in the 1830s, made her way to Liverpool and from there to Australia. She was deported from Melbourne to New Zealand for 'obscene language in a public place' and ended up here. She was, from all accounts, quite a character - well known in the Courts (she had countless fines and short terms of imprisonment) but was also hugely popular. She died tragically (I've not fictionalises the way she died so I'll not give you details).

She intrigued me. I had chosen to come to the other side of the world. I'd already had an adventure or two, even though I had the privileges of modern transport and communications. What had brought her here, on her own, to the (being brutal about it) arse end of nowhere - in the nineteenth century? What adventures had she had along the way? Did she have lovers? Children?

I couldn't let go of her. And so, slowly, I have made up her story. This novel is fiction: so little is known about her that her biography would be little more than two hundred words. I've changed her first name (but kept the Weldon - it's a Protestant name, which gave me clues as to her origins in Ireland). I've wallowed in research, and in writing, and editing, and rewriting - and it has taken forever. But the time has come to send her on her way.

Watch this space. The Planter's Daughter is almost ready for take off.

14 comments:

  1. Oh how exciting Jo ! Congratulations on finishing the book...it sounds fascinating.

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    1. Thank you, it's bee quite a journey!

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    1. I'm doing my best. Though I first came across her in 2005, so this has taken a while!!

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  3. Woohoo! I for one am very, very curious to read this! What a fantastic piece of news!!

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    1. Thank you, Val. These are nail-biting days!

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  4. Excellent! welcome to the club! Will it be a book or just an ebook?

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    1. Book and ebook - at 96,000 words it's viable to do an ebook. And after all this work I really want something to hold to show for it!

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  5. Wow! Well done Jo! Looking forward to it.

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    1. Thank you, Anne - I'll no doubt bang on about it for a few weeks till it comes out.

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  6. Oh, how amazing! I have just finished reading The Luminaries by Eleanor Catton, a novel mainly based in Hokitika when it was a booming gold digger place. Your novel will be like the extra special treat now!

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    1. I loved The Luminaries - it was a chaotic, exciting town then! I hope I've done it justice.

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  7. I was so surprised and excited by this, I decided to make you my author of the day.

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  8. Well, I do like the title. It is intriguing, The Planter's Daughter. Can't wait to hear more about it.

    Greetings from London.

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