THE LONELINESS OF A LONG DISTANCE WRITER

My brother once told me that he sometimes imagines me working on a book and pictures me putting on a smoking jacket and cravat before spilling a few finely-tuned words onto the page each day. Sounds like fun. Machiavelli used to dress up in his finery to write, but that was after he had been exiled from the Medici court and was writing about the days when, as an ambassador, he really did dress up in his finery. I’ve never worn a smoking jacket.

People often wonder how my day goes and they’re usually surprised when I tell them I try to be as disciplined as any other person at work. At the moment, I’m writing two books, a co-write with James Patterson called PRIVATE SYDNEY and a novel of my owm: THE RETURNING. I’m working flat out at a rate of fifteen-hundred words a day, everyday, which I have to admit is a bit much. But it’s all about markers, targets, deadlines. I know I have to meet a certain daily word count or else I won’t make my deadlines some way off in the future, a date arrived at by mutual agreement between my publisher and me.

Another FAQ is: Do you find it lonely work? And again, most people are surprised by my reply. The lonely times, I always say, are when I’m having breaks between stretches of writing, because, when I’m in full-flow and the story is coming together I’m with my characters in their world and they keep me company. And, although some of those characters are despicable and the situations in which they find themselves might be horrible, for me, there’s never a dull moment when they’re around.

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