A few weeks ago, my plan for this month’s blog was to tell you all about my latest book – Peril in Persia – complete with a pictorial journey through the itinerary taken by Aunt Jessica and Harry on their tour of Iran. I was planning on using the photos we took on our holiday back in November 2019.
Not only was I hoping to have the book’s cover design completed (a few more tweaks are needed before I’ll be happy), I was hoping that the manuscript would be ready to send to my beta-readers. It was not to be.
I had just finished what I hoped would be my final draft before sending it to my editor when disaster struck. The last week’s work was gone! Quite how is a mystery. Not only was my word document on autosave plus supposedly saved on the network hard drive but I had saved it at the end of each session. Even my wonderful techie husband couldn’t find it let alone account for it.
I had spent a week rewriting phrases and whole passages to sharpen the dialogue, make the meaning more clear and generally improve the pace and deepen the characterisation, and it had all gone. Although my son glibly said it wouldn’t take me so long the second time and much of what I’d done would come back to me as I worked through the document.
Much as I acknowledge the truth of that statement, I’ve not been able to look at it since. As things are going at the moment that won’t be until the end of August, by which time, I’m sure I’ll have forgotten all those well-crafted phrases I’d laboured over a couple of months before.
At the end of June, I was offered a cruise lecture for August which I accepted. It involved preparing a destination lecture for each of the five ports of call. Having had my lecture cruise for Iceland cancelled only the week before after a good many hours of work spent preparing my history lectures, I decided to put the destination talks on one side until I was positive the cruise would go ahead.
It takes a week’s work – around 40 hours or so – to prepare each lecture and when my agent emailed me the documentation, I suddenly realised I would need to drop everything else to get the talks done in time. The rewrite of my novel would have to wait.
I’m up to my eyes – I need to research, write, find pictures and create the PowerPoint slides at a rate of TWO per week to leave me a few days at the end to practice the talks and preferably learn the material so I can move away from the lectern.
That’s my excuse for a brief and not very writerly blog this month. Hopefully I can do better for September, so my apologies for the whinging. Don’t get me wrong – cruise lecturing is my choice and I love it. In many ways preparing the lectures, the research and crafting what I’m going to say, is much like writing a novel. I enjoy all the research and playing with all the tools on PowerPoint to make the slides as interesting as possible. It’s a great privilege to be able to do it at all. I’ve just let time run away with me.
PS keep your fingers crossed for me that I get everything done on time!