I have to admit, there's a certain 'je ne sais quois' about being so ensconced in writing a book that it permeates your thoughts, your dreams, and conversations.
As the new Alex Morgan INTREPID espionage thriller is due with Momentum Books at the end of this month, here's 7, or should I say 007, cool and not-so-cool things about being on deadline.
Seven cool things about being on deadline
1. Another reason to stay in comfy clothes for the day – sure, Ian Fleming was photographed resplendent in bow tie and dinner jacket at the keys of his golden Royal typewriter, but in fact he’d normally be in shorts, a summer shirt and sandals at his typewriter in Goldeneye, Jamaica. That’s my excuse, and I’m sticking to it.
2. Tea. And Mint Slices. Both in abundance.
3. People who send well wishes and support (also known as likes) via the Facebook page, and who send vodka when supplies run short.
4. Watching the favourite scenes from old action movies for inspiration such as Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood in Where Eagles Dare, again and again. And again.
5. Being excused from the housework and washing up, at least most of the time.
6. Family support crew available to bounce ideas off 24-7, friends to read fight scenes, and Facebook cronies who provide bona fide advice on important things, like the best way to orchestrate take-off and landing of a sea plane in southern Europe.
7. Watching the story come alive on the page – it’s cathartic to make these heroes, heroines and evil characters that have until now lived inside my head become real!
Seven not-cool things about being on deadline
1. Two-year-old Captain Morgan stands at the stairwell, innocently yelling “Daddy! Come! Choo-choo! Hurry!” in a way that sends pangs of guilt straight to the heart.
2. After months being secluded in the writing room, drinking tea and nibbling delicately on tim tams and crushed easter eggs, your pants mysteriously become tighter.
3. You struggle to hold conversations with loved ones during meal times. When asked a simple question you exclaim, ‘there’s no time, must get to seaplane to save Charly before it’s too late’!
4. Being under self-imposed house arrest, friends forget what you look like, except from what they can recall from Facebook.
5. Every sound coming from above the writing room is amplified. Just making a cup of tea in the kitchen is like an orchestral sound check. Which means, a toddler playing upstairs sounds like the first brutal fight scene in Casino Royale.
6. Time seems to slow down to a snail’s pace but strangely, your hair grows faster.
7. An impending feeling of doom as D Day arrives – and knowing that once you’re through the first draft, the real work begins!
I wouldn’t swap the glitz and glamour of it all – that said, maybe Fleming had the right idea by squirreling himself away at Goldeneye in Jamaica when writing his novels for three months of each year…