Tuesday, 25 April 2017

Friends for life

The pen is mightier than the sword (I hope)

The title of this post was used for the first of the 10 novels in the Price series. It all started with a book of short stories with exercises and annotations that I wrote for advanced English learners and which was published. There would have been a sequel, but the publisher died and the publishing house was closed. The publisher  who took over destroyed the remaining stock of the first book and showed no interest in the writer. So much for that.
So I got the rights back! Years later I decided to use the characters in a book (hence the title of this post) and one thing led to another. That book took about 10 years and many editings to complete and I am still editing it!!!

Just as Hercule Poirot and Miss Marble, to mention just two famous detectives who became living people for fans and readers - Sherlock Holmes being arguably the most famous and most loved - my characters live for me, so I find that I am still writing stories about them, though my focus is not just on one detective, but also on the human condition involved with a group of investigators of one sort and another led partly by curiosity and not seldom by accident to solve various crime situations.

I started my 11th novel in or out of the series, leaving myself the option. After one chapter not using any of the Price characters I realize that I can still and want to write about them - possibly in a more modern way (I had to bring the first book up to date since I started it before the age of e-mails etc), and possibly with more emphasis on the funny side of detecting (and life).
We spend our whole lives solving mysteries, one of which has to be the mystery of why we do things we later regret! Elements of this idea find themselves into my character portraits, especially of those on the wrong side of the law.
Looking back on a life that is now a long one I'm lucky to say, I know  that I have made too many regrettable decisions. I made them very often on the spur of the moment or in a volatile mood, and invariably gave no thought to the consequences.
Writing is different. A writer has to take care of the consequences of his characters' actions. That is one of the fascinating things about writing anything.
But writing gives me an inner peace nothing else seems to do. I think that's why I do it.
In my new book I am going to wrap up my 26 or so years of chorus direction in my own way. Characters will not be given their real names, and some may consist of several bunched together. They probably won't recognize even themselves (assuming they know enough English, as my chorus directing has been mainly of Germans). I was inspired by the sheer stupidity or slyness of some and impressed by the musicality of others. I was - and always have been - on  the outside, the observer. As a child I was often told not to stare. I have strong visual memories of people I stared at when I was a little girl. I wondered what made them tick in those days, but was too hooked on being a singer to want anything else in my life.
Since this is not meant to be a confessional but an introduction to my new novel, which is not yet online, but will be published chapter by chapter as usual, I will now stop writing and have breakfast instead. Links to my writings can be found in the right-hand column.

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