Regular readers know that I’ve been working for two years on a novel about Hild of Whitby. I’ve been thinking about her for much, much longer. (See “Where It Began” for the whole story.)
Hild is an interesting woman. (English understatement.) One could make an argument that it’s to her influence we owe democracy as we know it. Nope, I’m not going to make that argument here today. I’m just saying that if you gave me enough beer and a comfy chair, I could. Sort of. Yep, you bet I’m being deliberately provocative. It’s a writerly vice.
Hild lived in seventh century England. I’m writing her life, birth to death. She lived 66 years. I cheat a little and start when she’s three. She’s now twelve. Yesterday I hit 100,000 words. It’s going to be a big book.
I’ve learnt a lot in the last 16 years of novel writing. This one, though, is demanding every ounce of my expertise. How do you take the life of a woman of that era, when by some estimates women spent 65% of their lives on textile production, keep it historically accurate, yet make it thrilling to today’s readership? I’m using every narrative trick I’ve ever encountered, and inventing a few new ones. I’m having a blast. (See this post for a link to a tiny first-draft snippet from the book.)
Sterling Editing is going well. Kelley and I are as busy as bees in a bottle. My work with the Lambda Literary Foundation is also cranking up. I can’t say too much yet but I’ll give you a one-word clue: website.
I have stories and essays due in various venues soon (I’ll talk about that in a separate post next week or, hmmn, possibly the week after). I’m planning to be in Atlanta in April, New York in May, and the UK in July. Meanwhile, if you’re in Washington State on Saturday evening, drop by the Timberland Library in Olympia for a fabulous evening of entertainment, including readings and Q&A from me and Kelley, a performance by Blöödhag, and other delights (see Kelley’s post for more info).
What all this means is that I won’t be around much between Thursday and Monday. Before I fade out for a few days, I want to say an enormous thank you to everyone who responded to “trembling with rage.” Thousands upon thousands of you have read it and spread the word. Please don’t stop. Please don’t think this is one-time issue. Please don’t think I’m kidding when I say this is a real line in the sand for me. I’m not joking. I won’t change my mind. There are no excuses.