In the meantime, I started another novel. Again one which I’d started back in the distant past. I’d only written about three chapters, but still remembered the basic ideas I’d for the development of the story. By this time, I had acquired two excellent critique partners (take a bow, Ana and Toni!) who helped me to tighten up my writing as well as pointing out some of the bad habits I’d developed. I submitted this to Whiskey Creek Press in April 2010 and received an acceptance five weeks later. At last I was back in the land of novel-writing again!
His Leading Lady is scheduled for publication in June 2011, and at the moment I’m waiting for the cover picture and the edits which are due anytime now. According to the publisher, they are sent out 2-3 months before the release date, so that means sometime in March, I assume. We shall see!
The story is set in London's West End theatre world. I’ve always been interested in the theatre and have worked backstage at many amateur shows (usually musicals), as well as directing several shows with the Junior Group of my local amateur theatre society. I’ve also been backstage at two professional theatres (admittedly not in London) but I would imagine they can’t be much different from those in the West End.
I was able to draw on some of my own experiences for the story’s background – which leads me on to one piece of advice which is often given to writers: Write about what you know. Probably the most misleading bit of advice ever given! Taken at face value, if I was limited to writing within the parameters my own life, what could I write about? Living on the outskirts of a large city, twenty-five years teaching in state schools?
However, I think the advice means more than just where we live or have visited, and more than the humdrum, day-to-day life we may live. It encompasses everything we know. Emotions, for one thing. We all know what it’s like to feel happy, sad, excited, angry, scared, worried – and our characters can feel these emotions too. We know about people too – their mannerisms, idiosyncrasies, interests, attitudes and values. We know about places – not just those we may have visited, but also the places we see on television or at the cinema. Again we can all use this knowledge. And, of course, the internet is an open gateway to whatever other knowledge we may need for our stories.