Between now and those two final words, I'll experience a diverse range of emotions, spend hours on research, drink enough coffee - and wine, to fill a small lake, eat barrel-loads of biscuits and enough bars of chocolate to keep Cadbury in business for months to come, ignore the telephone and doorbell, forget appointments and evenings out, find it difficult to stand up straight - having been hunched over my laptop for hours on end, use a shelf-full of eye drops in a losing battle to keep my eyes open at three in the morning, and wonder why, Phoebe, my cat, looks slimmer the next time she sits on my keyboard - until I remember I've forgotten to feed her!
Okay, that's a slight exaggeration, but writing a book is quite an undertaking and one that, for me at least, is like going on a journey into the unknown. When I start a book I have only the basics in my head. I have a working title and a summary of what will happen. I know the characters' names, ages, occupations, descriptions and a few of their likes and dislikes. I draw a draft, cover image then I sit at my desk and wait.
Inevitably, the first line pops into my head and I type it. Before I finish that, the second line arrives, followed by the third and so on and before I know it, I'm ten pages in and feeling wonderful. Two days later, I'll be moaning and sulking and arguing with my characters but I'll still be writing.
Some of it will be rewritten when I do my first read through and parts of it may surprise me but I'll keep writing. I often say that I don't write my books - my characters do. They, along with the story, develop as we go and I keep my fingers crossed that it'll all turn out fine at the end. It's a belief I have about real life too.
Here's the draft cover I sketched for my fourth book. It's called 'Sailing Solo' and the summary of it can be found on my Work in Progress page, here on my website. Just scroll up and click on the Work in Progress bookmark on the left hand side, when you've finished reading this.
I'll let you know how things are going soon but in the meantime, I'd like to ask the supermarkets to stock up on my staples of coffee, wine, biscuits and chocolate. I'll need a delivery within the next few days.