It proved very hard to get back into this novel after a number of weeks away. The edits were completed quite quickly, but then I had to fly to Germany to participate in the Ruhr Lit Cup with the England Writers’ Team, a tournament in which, despite playing well, we finished 6th out of eight teams. At one point we were close to securing a semi-final berth, and were only narrowly beaten by Sweden, the holders. In keeping with England’s fine penalty shoot-out tradition, we lost against Hungary. Upon returning to the UK, it was straight off to Cropton Forest, in North Yorkshire, to spend five days in a log cabin. The boys enjoyed hunting for bats and building an emergency shelter in the woods. My strained, bruised muscles enjoyed the hot tub… and then it was back to Manchester, and Chapter Eleven.
It wasn’t just the effort of returning to writing fiction; rather, it was coming to terms with a story that was completely different in terms of pace, narrative voice, structure and point of view. Blonde on a Stick and Loss of Separation are poles apart, despite both of them being told from the viewpoint of a male in his mid- to late-thirties. I’m hoping to enter the last third of the novel with a good head of steam. It would be nice to finish the book a couple of months in advance so I can let it steep in its own juices for a while, allowing me to give it another pass before delivery in October.
Listened to: The Blackened Air by Nina Nastasia