Back in 2007 I received an email.
Dear Grandad, I know you like a good book (and many other things) but would you have any interesting in writing one?
Now normally I would bin such a mail as there is always a catch somewhere. But this one was from a well known publishing company in Ireland, and to be honest it sort of put my head in a spin. It was an idea that had never crossed my mind before.
Anyhows to cut a very long story short, contracts were signed and I wrote the book. It took several months but eventually I had about 90,000 words. I sent it to the publisher.
The following day, I had second thoughts. The stuff I had written was pure shite and I really didn’t want my name associated with it. I wrote to them and told them my decision. Panic ensued. The problem was that there was a contract involved and in the end, out of sheer desperation they just published extracts from this here site.
It was a failure in many ways. It didn’t make the New York Times Bestseller list. It didn’t win a Man Booker prize though it did actually get a review in the Times [very polite but obviously not to the reviewer’s taste]. The only really good thing to come out of it was that I got to see my name on the spine of a book in a bookshop.
I didn’t realise it at the time, but it caused me a huge problem that persists to this day, and probably beyond.
You see, I had churned out 90,000 words of weapon’s grade garbage and the idea started to fester that maybe I should write 90,000 word that were a little less horrible. What was worse, Herself got in on the act and started nagging me to write a decent book. I think she had ideas of holiday villas in the South of France or something.
That was nine years ago, and I still have that nag [the idea of a book, not Herself, though she may qualify too]. I have made several attempts and each one in turn stalls before I even reach the 10,000 mark. It was really so irritating that I made a firm and conscious decision a year or so ago, to put the idea firmly in the past and forget about it forever.
Herself has started up again. She has started shoving books at me written by popular authors and telling me that I could write a thousand times better than them. If she sees me at the keyboard now she asks in breathless tones if I have started writing the book, and gets all narky when I say I haven’t.
I really don’t want to start again, but at the same time my head keeps dreaming up twists and turns in the story line. It’s like a persistent toothache, or a Chinese water torture.
I really should have binned that email back in 2007