CANDLEMIST... the journey of my new book

How cool is this? After spending an hour writing in my favourite local cafe - the wonderful Javaholics in Fairview - I walked out into the sunshine only to be mistaken by a couple for someone called Jessica. But here's the thing -- the main character in the book I'm working on and had been brainstorming in the cafe is called Jessica!
 
The most beautiful notebook I have ever dared to write in!

I'm taking this as a sign that I am meant to write this book! 

Candlemist is a mad concoction of a book and began at a strange time. Four and a half months after my mother died in 2005, my father gave me as a Christmas present a notebook. He'd found it in the red suitcase under their bed where my mother stored potential gifts for every occasion. This was one of those beautiful notebooks you don't really feel entitled to use. You know the type - notebooks so perfect, beautifully bound... Maybe embossed with silver and gold? The really expensive ones you never buy and if you get, you never use because you save them for "something special"?

This time, I decided I would use it immediately. Every night, before I went to sleep I'd make myself write three to ten pages of stuff - it was an A6 notebook so tiny writing - and I decided in advance that I wouldn't worry where the pieces went or if the story made sense. 

The ambitious title page, written
 when I realised I had no idea
where this experiment was going!
Creatures kept popping up or I'd follow a word or a character from the page before or I'd get a strange idea about everyone having tails and chase off after that. 
Suddenly all the characters
seemed to have tails
Every five or ten days, I'd try to do a map of how they all related. One main character has sparrows living in his ears. There's a dragon called Sweetheart. There's an evil child who has just posted her sister off in a trunk. 

There's even a factory of grannies trying to clone the perfect grandchild. 
Why shouldn't I have a
perfect grandchild?
I typed it up a year later but although I've come back to it a few times, I've never managed to make it work as a book rather than a collection of odd characters and strange happenings. 

A month ago, I decided to give myself this book as a gift of time. I took it apart, I started going to the roots of everything and all the characters and the narrative and the world and finally, I think it's starting to make sense. 

On the days when I don't suddenly lose confidence and wonder who will ever possibly read this, I am absolutely loving it!


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