Happy New Year!

Since I last wrote there have been some exciting developments. The structural edit has been completed and so the book is now in its final form. The next stage is the copy edit where my self-image as a brilliant speller and grammatician (is that a word?) will no doubt be shattered. Can’t wait! I am currently putting feelers out for gigs at literary festivals and contacting people for reviews and cover quotes, as I will soon have a draft in my hand and a publication date (fingers crossed). If you look at the book page on this website you’ll see that I’ve updated the chapter summaries, so, if you’ve ordered a copy, you will have a little preview of what you are going to receive.

One of my purposes in writing the book is to encourage others to do the same – at least to explore their family history and thereby enrich their lives. As part of this theme, I have contacted a few of the descendants of people who Dad mentions in his account of the battle of Hong Kong. Charles Boxer went on to be an eminent professor after the war and I have made contact with his daughter, who was thrilled to learn a little more about her Dad’s wartime history. I have also found the grandson of Ted Hunt, who was insanely brave and died in the battle. He and his siblings were already proud of their grandfather, but were delighted to have a personal snippet from probably the last colleague to see him alive. I have also been in touch with some long lost cousins of my own. The offspring of my father’s brothers have been rather rare visitors in my life, but I hope this process will bring us closer together. It’s all immensely satisfying.

I think 2018 is going to be a very interesting year for me and I hope it will be for you too.

Editing for Novices

So the edit came back and I must say it is impressive. I haven’t completely absorbed it all yet but mostly I think the changes made improve the book and will make it clearer and easier to follow. There are one or two cuts that I can’t agree with but I assume that’s normal. I don’t actually know how best to go through the document and rework it, but one of my fellow authors at Unbound, James Ellis, who is also a professional editor, has offered to help. Meanwhile I am totally chuffed with the editor’s opening paragraph – I pretty much stopped reading when I got to the end of it, thinking “it’s not going to get any better than this!”:

“Your memoir has a great (and commercial) premise, and I really enjoyed reliving your father’s earlier life experiences and learning more about this fascinating period in WWII history. He was a stoic, level-headed and resourceful personality who lived a fuller life than most, but chose not to shout about his achievements. WWII is of perennial interest as a genre and Princess Anne’s Foreword helps to give this gravitas. Your writing is polished, your descriptions are vivid, your questions are intelligent and you’ve clearly done a lot of research”.

I am away on an osteopathy course this weekend and I have a course that I am teaching in early November which I need to finalise my preparations for, so I am going to have to squeeze editing in around the edges. Oops – I just read James’ top ten dos and dont’s – number one don’t is to blog about writing when you should be writing!