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.
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.