Often I use this blog to announce good news – a manuscript completed, a book published. The happier moments in a writing life, I guess. Some people have remarked how easily things seem to come to me: contracts flow in, novels flow out, and there I am, disciplined and undaunted, breezily prolific. Travelling too much and spread too thin, perhaps, but getting things done. (Of course, people say, you have no children. They forget I have a circus to manage, and TMiddy.)
As public faces go, this isn’t a bad one. It’s not very accurate, but why not make a fiction of my life? Sometimes, though, I get quite tired of being chipper, especially when I’m being asked the following questions: What’s happening with the film version of HIBISCUS COAST? What’s happening with the film version of RUINED? Why aren’t your New Zealand novels available in the US? Why aren’t your American YA novels available in the UK? Why haven’t your books been translated into 18 other languages yet? Why can’t I find a copy of TRENDY BUT CASUAL in my local book shop? Why haven’t you sold millions of copies like [All Other Authors]? Why don’t you write a book that’s a best-seller? Why don’t you write a book that wins lots of prizes?
The answer to all of these questions is: I don’t know. I don’t know why my new YA novel DARK SOULS, which is set in the English city of York, is apparently of no interest to a British publisher. I don’t know why the Bulgarian people are not rising up to demand a Bulgarian-language version of FORBIDDEN CITIES pronto. I don’t know why the film production company that optioned RUINED (just a few months ago) is not already auditioning dark-haired ingénues from the greater Los Angeles area. I just don’t know.
And if I spend too much time thinking about any of the above, I get quite depressed. So, thanks for the questions. Keep them coming!
This hasn’t been a great week, I have to say. I’ve been sitting in the British Library for most of it, willing myself to work. The sequel to RUINED is due in – oh, about five minutes. I still feel as though the story is over-sticky dough at this point, and I don’t want it to turn out half-baked. (Not sure if this metaphor works. Don’t trust anything about my writing at the moment.)
As some of you know, I’ve been writing a monthly column for NEXT magazine for the past eighteen months. The magazine has a new editor, so this week I got the ‘thanks but no more columns” email. A big UK publisher read the manuscript for RANGATIRA and seemed to love it, but it’s a challenging time, and a challenging market – and, I suppose, it’s a challenging book. It has a Maori narrator, and it’s set in the nineteenth-century. No deal.
Today is Friday, so if anyone else would like to email me with bad news, please hurry. I’d like to confine as much of it as possible to this week. Next week has to be better. Sentences will dance their way onto the page. I won’t dread opening my email. Someone will read RANGATIRA and think that other people might want to read it as well.
The only questions people will ask me will be about my books, not the selling of them.
And hopefully the university where I work will change my room allocation, so I’m not expected to change classrooms four times every Tuesday.
Back to work.