As anyone whose ever had to write a book to a deadline will know, the closer it gets to that deadline the more reasons you find to make coffee, check your email, catch up on the last 15 minutes of that irresistible podcast, stare out of the window, or if you’re feeling really energetic, go to sleep. I’ve been fighting these psychological battles rather a lot recently, but thanks largely to the grumpy weather, I’ve never been tempted to stray far from my desktop, and I can report that after eight months of concentration, my book is just about complete.
It’s to be called Erebus The Story of a Ship and it’s my first foray into historical non-fiction. I think the reason I’ve been able to complete it at all is because I have grown more and more fascinated by the story. The more detail you unearth, the more you realise what exciting times those were in the 1840’s, when crews crowded onto small ships to explore the Great Unknown.
The story is about facing the unknown, and Erebus did that not once but twice. Her Antarctic journey was a triumph. Her Arctic journey was a disaster. And three and a half years ago, she turns up again, in pretty good shape, on the seabed in the Canadian Arctic. All the elements for a great tale. I cross my fingers that the eight months writing has not been wasted. I have a terrific editor who is helping me whip it into final shape, so as spring struggles through and our resident flock of house sparrows perform gymnastic mating feats outside my window, I’m feeling in upbeat mood. Watch this space!
The Death of Stalin is out there in the wider world, except if you’re in Russia, where it remains banned. The opening figures in the USA are promising, though I felt a bit like one of Stalin’s victims when I found they’d removed my face from the US poster. Still, maybe it’ll make it easier for me to get a Russian visa!
Hope you’re all well out there. Please keep in touch.