The Treasures in Notebooks

I have many notebooks. Too many. Long ago I read that authors should keep noteworks  and I took the message to heart. I have loads and if I see a new one that I like the look of I can’t resist getting it.

Mostly I manage to keep all my current notes and doodlings in one notebook at a time. But I’m fairly relaxed about keeping lots of notebooks for this reason.

I sometimes find things which I’ve long forgotten and prove to be buried treasure.

A little back-story here. The first novel I ever completed was written in 1990-92. It concerns a spy employed by Francis Walsingham, Elizabeth I’s spymaster. It was nearly published but only nearly. So I put it in a drawer and forgot about it. Now, I’ve looked at it again and find it’s better than I feared. So I’m reworking it with a view to publishing it.

Now, back to notebooks. Today I was idly leafing through an old notebook I’m now using for my French classes. I looked at the first entry and found out it was written very nearly ten years ago. This is what I wrote.

23 March 2006. Barnes, South London

I awoke in the Kensington Close Hotel thinking that I should continue with and finish The Lost King of England. Fears that I have left it too late to be a writer. Then, while wandering round Barnes Pond, I saw a lovely old house which Henry Fielding lived in. Then, a few minutes later, while glancing in an Estate Agent’s window,  I saw the oldest house in Barnes advertised. I saw that Robert Beale, Walsingham’s secretary lived there. Then I realised that this was the same house that Fielding lived in and possibly wrote Amelia in in 1750-52. A little later I read in the description that Walsingham himself lived here. Amazing to see his and Beale’s names.

It made me think. I can be a writer. I just need to finish the book. A moment of epiphany. I feel freed up. And it’s a lovely spring morning. The second nice day following this long, drab, dreary winter.

Fears that I have left it too late to be a writer. How wrong could I be?

Well, five years later, on April 18 2011, I published The Lost King: Resistance on Kindle Direct Publishing. I reckon it has sold about 5000 copies since then.

Resistance - Kindle

I’ve also published a further eight novels, six on Kindle Direct Publishing and two of published by Lake Union Publishing.

All in all I reckon I’ve sold 45,000 books or more (plus countless borrows.)

So I need not have had those fears. It’s never too late. And my very first novel will finally be published sometime soon.






About Martin Lake

Martin Lake lives in the French Riviera with his wife. After studying at the University of East Anglia he worked as a teacher, trainer and company director. A serious accident shattered his arm and meant that he had to rein back his work. He decided to concentrate on writing and is now writing full-time. He writes a wide range of fiction. His main interests are historical fiction, short stories and fiction for young adults. Martin has a series of novels 'The Lost King' which are set in the years following the Norman Invasion of England. They concern Edgar Atheling, last representative of the ancient English royal dynasty and his fight to regain the throne from William the Conqueror. Martin has also published 'Artful' the further adventures of the Dodger and 'Outcasts' a novel about fall of the Crusader Kingdom of Jerusalem. His latest novel, 'A Love Most Dangerous' is about a maid of honour who becomes the lover of Henry VIII. Martin’s work has been broadcast on radio. He won first prize in the Kenneth Grahame Society competition to write a story based on 'The Wind in the Willows.' You can get the collection, 'The Wind in the Willows Short Stories' from Amazon.
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4 Responses to The Treasures in Notebooks

  1. That’s so encouraging Martin. Thanks for sharing this with us. All the best with your new releases. 🙂

  2. What a great story! I have a weakness for notebooks, too. I’m all for decluttering and simple living in most respects, but notebooks are one thing that I stack up and can hardly ever bring myself to get rid of—even my handwritten manuscripts for books that are published. I have brought myself to stop buying new notebooks, though, at least until I fill up some of the blank ones I have in store. 🙂

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