Writing the Winds that Blow….

Posted by on Dec 20, 2013 in Blog, Full Blog | 0 comments

Do we have a destiny in life or is our existence a series of sliding doors? I don’t really know.

Sometimes I wish I had started writing before I built houses but then, when I sit down now and think about it, I reckon I should have no regrets at this time of my life.

At least I had the opportunity – and an understanding wife – to be able to see the project through.

I was 59 years old when I retired. Then just before my 60th birthday I announced my intention to write a novel. The kids bought me books on how to write, how to edit, how to publish etc.

I have never opened them. I wanted to write from the heart about the places and people I once knew in Africa, without any preconceived ideas.

I wrote the first draft of The Winds that Blow Before the Rains longhand, in just nine months.

I then taught myself to type and put the draft onto a computer, all 162,000 words of it. I thought it was great until I met a friend of Angie’s from her old Hong Kong days. Bill taught creative writing and in the next three months deleted a quarter of the book. So I sat down and wrote it again.

The next break happened when I was introduced to Lucy Beevor, an editor who worked for Bloomsbury. She loved the concept and became my editor. This was her first work of fiction.

For four years we worked together, cut, cut and cutting again, until we had both the narrative and dialogue as sharp as we could get it. When the book finally went to print it was 111,500 words. Somewhere along the way we had lost nearly 50,000 words.

The story is my Africa, and I hope by reading the book it will become your Africa.

The next novel is on the way, already scheduled into a crazy life.

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