This weekend I finished another round of revising, and sent the manuscript to the editor. It’s such a relief to have come this far! The manuscript is definitely getting better and better, though I’m starting to become really anxious about it turning into an actual book in a few months. A book people could actually read and have opinions about. Why do authors do this to themselves? There are so many conflicting feelings right now, and always. I was nervous about publishing Entertaining the Sombrevilles as well, of course, but this is on another level. At the same time I’m so excited about the book being out there soon. I keep visualizing a few copies of it on my bookshelf, and it’s a lovely image.
For the next few weeks I’ll be busy with research for book #2, until I get feedback from the editor. I have lots and lots of BBC documentaries to watch as part of the research – life could be much worse. I very much recommend A Very British Romance with Lucy Worsley!
In less than a month November is here, and for me and many others that means NaNoWriMo is coming. I’m starting to get nervous – research is going slow, and I honestly don’t want to rush it or burden myself too much. I’m no Superwoman and I never will be – I need my sleep and I need to do other things apart from work every once in a while. I don’t want my writing to feel like a chore, but some parts of writing are more difficult to get through. I feel like I’ve bought too many research books at once, so just looking at the research shelf stresses me out…
But I’ve read about half of the first book now and I’ve learned so many things. Some parts of 18th century life are very hard to understand (like giving babies physical punishment ><) but there are so many things that are similar. I love imagining what people’s lives were really like back then. History is so fascinating!
Today I’m off to Sweden’s largest book fair, Bokmässan. It’s honestly just like Christmas for book lovers, and I’m really excited about it. The fair lasts for four days but I will only be going today – which is a bit depressing, since there’s so much I would have liked to listen to. I don’t care much about the big names, tbh, but I have my usual set of fave lgbt and/or horror writers who will be there. Let’s see if I can make it without buying any books this year – I always make that promise to myself and I never keep it.
This week I’ve written a few short stories, btw. I’ve realised I crave actual writing and storytelling on a regular basis, or I get restless and depressed. Doing outlining and research just doesn’t give me the same sense of accomplishment. Now I can go back to my research books with some new energy!
Right now this book is what keeps me company in the evenings – “English Society In The 18th Century” by Roy Porter. Such an interesting read! I’m underlining everything, or pretty much everything. I’ve always loved history , and the 18th century has been my favourite era ever since I was six or so. It’s such an interesting mix of old and new, of things we recognise and things that are foreign to us.
As always, what pains me the most about this century (and all centuries before the 20th) is how hard life must have been for people. The life expectancy was 37 years, Porter writes (in 1700, I think?), and a lot of children never lived past five years of age. He writes that parents of that time weren’t very affectionate with their children and that putting distance between themselves and their offspring might have been a way of protecting themselves from too much grief if the child died. That’s foreign to us today, in the rich part of the world, but it’s still harsh reality for parents in many poor countries. And it’s only been a hundred years or so in my own country, since people were starving and children dying here as well.
There are so many stories to tell and so much I’d like to use in my story, but I can’t fit everything in there. And naturally, since I’m writing romantic fiction I can’t be historically correct about everything. No missing teeth or unwashed bodies here. 😉
So far, Porter has also mentioned roast beef about five times and written about how it was the favourite dish of the Brits and how the country squires feasted on roast beef and beer. I guess I need to mention someone somewhere wolfing down roast beef, to make things more authentic. My boys do need to eat every now and then, after all.
I went to a second-hand bookshop today and found a couple of old calendars. Amazing research material! And some rather amazing ads, too. 😉