Writing this novel felt like going back to Beginner’s Mind, as though I’d never written a novel before. While it started as Young Adult, I soon realized I wanted to write a book for not-so-young-adults, to write without feeling any constrictions. And while I could digress into the increasing lack of constraints on Young Adult fiction, I’ll refrain for now.
Writing for adults? Who did I think I was? Self-doubt was a constant companion, and I had to keep in mind Michael Ondaatje’s admonition that if you don’t doubt yourself, you shouldn’t be writing.
Part of the problem was the story’s medieval setting, research woven throughout, yet not, I trusted, heavy-handedly. Then there was the challenge of accessing the manner of thinking, the habits of work and play, the sense of humour and the religious sensibility of characters who lived nearly 700 years ago, as well as the fear of imposing my own 21st century sensibilities.
Lastly? The length. I ended up with a sprawling mess in need of a huge amount of editing. But the book did finally end. Raise a glass of Tidal Bay. Raise a mug of chai latte. Celebrate.