That time between one book and another reminds me of a line in an old song, Arthur’s Theme by Christopher Cross – When you get caught between the moon and New York City. It keeps cropping up in my mind, and seems to fit my current mood.
I’m back from a good vacation, and are doing jobs around the house, seeing family and friends, and sorting out all the stuff I’ve put off for a while; but I feel kind of vacant, as though I should be doing something else. I know I’m not literally between the moon and New York City, just mentally in two places.
I’m about to start on the final story in The Harry Fingle Collection, Harry 3 (a working tile that may stick). I have ideas bouncing around in my head but no fixed plan. I wrote the second book, Assassination Continuum, seat of the pants style, following just a brief outline, and it worked. I feel the last story needs structure and a map of where it’s going. There are many lose ends to tie up.
Harry 3 nags at me all the time. Wherever I am, whatever I do, I think of a plot scene, a line of dialogue, characters I want to bring into it, several sub-plots, and more. I’ve notes written in notebooks, scribbled on scraps of paper, typed on various electronic devices, jotted down on backs of newspapers and magazines. All I have to do is find them all and bring them together in one long list. I know I should be more organised and start off with one notebook, called new book or Harry 3, but I’m not. I find this sort of random, disorganised way of pulling it all together works. I get my best ideas when I’m on the go, rather than sitting down, looking at my laptop’s screen, and saying go to myself, now create the plot of Harry 3.
One of the best moments of inspiration came to me in the last few days. I had to drive down to Cornwall to pick up my daughter and all her belongings after she’s just finished her three-year degree course. I went down there on my own, and drove across Dartmoor and Bodmin Moor. It was a cloudy day with rain threatening. As I reached the moors, the clouds cleared and the sun shone right across the stunning moorland. It was late in the day, and the low, dipping sun hung as a big, red ball over the vast, empty spaces, glistening on the heather and craggy rocks, and made for a stunning view. After a bit, when I saw a sign for Bodmin town, I realised I was in Daphne Du Maurier country, where she based Rebecca and Jamaica Inn and many more of her evocative books. I had to stop. I pulled in and took a short stroll across the moor. I found an old, deserted cottage, and stopped and stared at it and the uplifting landscape for a few minutes. I would have liked to walked on further, but I was running a little late, and had to be in Falmouth for eight to meet up with my daughter and her boyfriend for a meal. I did, however, figure out the main plot for Harry 3. Now all I have to do is pull all my other notes together and write the book.
I start next week.
My latest work
Playing Harry: – the shocking murder of a man’s brother and sister-in-law and a breathtaking conspiracy bring into doubt the integrity of the CIA and MI6.
Read more on the Playing Harry blog.
A man is shot dead in a café in Istanbul. The bullet was meant for Harry Fingle. His enemies are back. He confides in his old friend, Philip – a spy – who says he can arrange police protection. But what are Philip’s true motives? Why does Harry’s new lover ask so many questions and want to know his every movement, and why do the attempts on his life continue?
Available September. To read the 1st draft go to Wattpad.