Tonight I have been working on my new novel, The Knot, which is painfully close to being completed, but unfortunately painfully far from being completed. I began it in January last year – before Kit was born, even before this blog existed. That’s how long it takes to write a novel. And indeed, plenty of them take longer. The Lord Of The Rings took Tolkien something crazy like 14 years (I’ve made that up, but I know he was writing it for a bloody long time). Catch-22 took seven years. Compared with these, my book has been almost like a hobby.
The net result is a book which I’m fairly sure is better than Eleven, but is reasonably likely to be less well received. It’s a lot less commercial, with a less neat plot, and it’s quite dark. Eleven itself hinged on a plot twist which was not a barrel of laughs, but here the entire story is not a barrel or even a small keg of laughs. The central idea, luckily enough, sounds quite appealing – it’s the story of a wedding photographer and the way he spends every weekend of his life capturing other people’s big days, without ever quite being involved himself. I think wedding photographers are an interesting breed: I’m always intrigued by people who spend their jobs as the minor players in some major scene, caught up in the action, yet slightly removed from it. Film extras, the people who draw suspects in court, ballboys at Wimbledon, the BBC’s sound operator in a warzone, the person turning the pages for the famous pianist. And so on. So this is about one of those guys.
But he has a dark secret (like Xavier, in Eleven) which threatens to destroy his life until he decides to take the biggest risk ever and deal with it. Hmm. Actually it sounds quite exciting, now I’ve described it like that. Maybe it’s all in the marketing, eh?
Anyway – I’m proud of it, even though it might not be to everyone’s tastes. It will come out in August next year but before then I’ll undoubtedly give away some copies on this site, like I did with Eleven. (By the way, one lucky reader of this blog has her name in The Knot as a minor character, after buying it at auction when my brother and I did that fundraiser.)
So there you are; a few details about the next novel. I’m thinking of reading a bit of it, for the first ever time, at my event in Cheltenham on Thursday, but we shall see. When the time comes it will, of course, be launched in the usual manner, with some sort of truly silly event in Edinburgh/London/Bristol/the moon. Then there will just be time to draw breath before the graphic novel, which I’m also busy beavering away at, comes out.
Oh, yeah. Plenty of books, me. Not just a man from the television.