Today I am celebrating the moment I finally wrote THE END at the bottom of my novel. So how do I feel?
Proud, amazed, relieved and scared!
Actually, I can hardly believe I've done it - there were times, especially around the first quarter, when I wondered whether I would ever manage to write those two little words.
There were several things that got me through the bad patches and the days of self doubt: my daughter in Germany demanding to read the rest after I'd sent her the first half (even though she already knew the story); my husband ignoring my calls of 'dinner's ready' (unheard of) as he was so engrossed in it; the editor at the RNA conference who asked to see the whole thing once I'd finished; the need to send something to my New Writers' Scheme reader; the three agents who 'favourited' my pitch in a #PitchCB Twitter event and last but not least, a good talking to every once in a while from writing buddy, Tracy Fells!
These were all real boosts but what ultimately kept me going was the fact that I really loved writing the story and had faith in it even when the going got tough.
The novel is a contemporary romantic mystery/suspense and from the photos you'll see that it's set on a Greek island. The small island in my story is fictitious but loosely based on Alonissos in the Aegean.
The novel started life as one of my published magazine stories but soon evolved into something very different - only the central theme, main characters and setting have remained the same. I've been on many Greek holidays (several mentioned on this blog) and used my memory of the places I'd visited, along with online research, to write the novel. I scoured the internet for pictures an island that best fitted my idea of the harbour and old town where my story is set and when I came across Alonissos I knew I'd found what I was looking for.
With this in mind, last week (with the novel in its final stages) my husband and I went to visit the island so that I could check details, take photos of the trees, flowers, beaches etc and ask questions. We had a fabulous holiday - staying in the small village of Agnondas on the island of Skopelos (next to Alonissos). We stayed in the lovely Lithanomon Apartments, 20 metres from the beautiful pebble beach with its three tavernas, and as it was out of season we had the place and the pool to ourselves. Lucky us!
We swam, we walked, we looked in churches, we hired a small boat to visit deserted beaches and we took a boat trip to Alonissos to visit the old town on the hill which features in several of my chapters.
All that was left was to come home and finish the novel. Luckily with my head full of sights, sounds and smells of the islands it didn't take long.