Friday, May 30, 2014

tempus fugit

So. It has been over a year since Sweet Damage came out in Australia. It doesn't feel that long. In fact if   someone asked me when my last book came out I'd answer 'Oh, just a few months ago.' Something quite funny happens to your perception of time as you get older. When I was a kid I thought a year was an eternity. A lifetime. Even when I was 18 and started a nursing degree I remember thinking, Three years? What point? Surely the world will be over by then and in any case I will be old and arthritic. Too old for nursing.

I googled this phenomenon (of time seeming to speed up as you get older) and according to my research1 not ALL time speeds up as you age. Days and hours go by at exactly the same rate – only the years seem to speed up. This boggles the mind (how can hours go by at the same rate while the years speed up?). It's also mildly depressing. I don't want my years getting faster and faster, thanks very much.

But, apparently, all the painful, sad or boring bits of life will always feel slow. If you're in a queue at the supermarket the wait will feel eternal. If you're running late for an appointment the red light will take several decades to turn green. That's just the way it is.

It's good to know, however, that "if life does seem to be rushing by it is a sign that things are going well." I do take comfort in that. I must be relatively happy because the years are zipping by.

This is all just a very long-winded way of saying I have a new book coming out soon. It will released by Allen and Unwin on the 1st of October this year.  If I think about all the minutes, hours and days that I have to wait, publication day seems a long way away. But if I measure the wait in big-time, it's a mere four months away, one tiny little third of one of those flashing-by years, and so next time I blink I'll probably find myself at my book launch drinking champagne and shaking with nerves because I have to give a speech. That is the magic of time. (Are you confused yet? I hope so because I certainly am.)

My next book is called Cooper Bartholomew is Dead. There's a blurb on Goodreads2 which reads:

Cooper Bartholomew's body is found at the foot of a cliff. His friends are in shock, and at least one of them is keeping a dangerous secret … Cooper's girlfriend Libby, is determined to fight for justice, but how will she deal with the explosive truth?

Unputdownable storytelling at its finest.

I started writing this book in 2009. Five years ago. When I think of my life in a big-picture way and remember what has happened – my kids and how they've grown, moving house, publishing a second book, all the things that have changed – the years have truly flown by. But when I think of working on this book, all the writing and rewriting, giving up on it and shoving the entire manuscript under the bed, changing my mind and pulling it out again and dusting it off, the time has passed much more  slowly. Second by second. Word by word.

And what is my point, you ask? I'm not entirely sure. Maybe I'm just trying to say it can sometimes take a long time to write a book. Longer than you hope. I reckon if you knew how long it would take in the beginning, if you knew how many words you'd delete and rewrite, and how frequently you'd want to toss the whole thing in the bin, you'd never start in the first place. But then, I'm sure that's true of a lot of worthwhile things.

The cover for Cooper Bartholomew Is Dead is below. Let me know what you think. I love it. Lee Kofman told me (on twitter) that she thought it looked romantic, sinister and melancholy and I think those words are perfect because that's exactly how I'd describe the book.

Anyway. Now I should probably go and write. I have another book to work on.  I'm quite certain this one is going to be perfect first time round.  It will require no huge structural  redrafts and very minimal edits. My editor is going to be amazed and say 'oh my goodness Rebecca, but you are a genius, you only just finished your last book a week ago!'  (Thank goodness for delusional optimism. Thank goodness time is so rubbery and memory so short.)

1 Which was not at all extensive. I read exactly one article.

2 I am not sure whether this is the final copy. Will let you know!