Tuesday, 27 January 2015

Is it really almost the end of January ??

Isn't this supposed to be the longest, darkest, coldest month of the year? The beginning of that little hiatus in mood before Spring arrives in March . . or April . . or even May?   Long winter evenings are perfect for catching up on some reading, of course.  I've just finished Pamela Hartshorne's amazing novel, The Memory of Midnight, a vivid, haunting and, at times, harrowing story of two women, separated by the span of four centuries but linked supernaturally by their entrapment in sadistic marriages. The narrative is so rich and the characters so skillfully drawn that I was pulled right into the book, and I'm not exaggerating when I say I felt every bone-crunching blow dealt to Nell by the evil and perverted Ralph and held my breath as I listened to the menacing silence at the end of Tess's phone - we both knew it was Martin all along!
 
The tension builds with each chapter and, as I neared a climax that I knew would be difficult, I almost didn't go back!  But I'd gotten to know these two women so well, and I cared about them so much, that I had to be with them at the end of their journeys. Ultimately, although there is cruelty, suffering, grief and fear, there are also many moments of joy and love and courage, and an inextinguishable  desire for life and for living.  And it is these things that the reader takes away with them.   It is an incredibly uplifting novel, one that reaffirms the ability of the human spirit to survive and conquer even the worst of fates.  A highly recommended read.

The novel, not surprisingly, got me thinking about the process of creating characters of flesh and blood, hearts and souls, that come alive for the reader and takes her on a journey, whatever it happens to be.  And I've found myself digging deeper into the hearts of my own characters this week, as I'm reworking my last year's NWS manuscript for submission to an editor.

Maybe the gap of several months while I got on with this year's submission was a good settling time? Or maybe, just maybe, I've actually grown as an author in the intervening months! It's hard to gauge one's own progress but one thing I do know;  writing, like a story, is a journey too and, despite the ups and downs and the frustration of rejection, every word should be enjoyed to the max!!

And for a truly wonderful writing journey, check out Rachael Thomas's  blog last week :)