The Emperor’s Servant

About a week into September, I remembered that I had booked a line-edit from the marvellous Helen Baggott ( Cue the end of all the research for the as-yet-formless third novel and a scurry of activity as I realised that I couldn’t send off the already-revised and polished manuscript without ONE LAST READ. Mistake (though I did find two typos). Another week, and I finally sent off the manuscript, not in the format asked and with an accompanying email which would have put off anyone thinking of following me on social media.

Letting go of the novel is painful and scary because the list of things that could go wrong seems endless – and is topped by the horror of your editor returning a proof-read and corrected manuscript along with a polite note which makes it clear that she thinks the whole thing is pants.

And yet – would I have done all this if I hadn’t felt that I had something to create that was worth the effort? Of course not. The ancient world is a passion and I have to proclaim its genius and intricacy and sheer difference from the world I inhabit. I did it as a teacher and I don’t think the motivation has changed since I started writing. Two things are important: history really matters, and, in the words of Terry Pratchett, “Writing is the most fun you can have by yourself.”

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