Tuesday, 13 April 2010

The reasons for "Inevitable", part one

Jack Heffron, author of The Writer's Idea Book, wants to know why I am writing "Inevitable". Well, this may be overstating his interest a little. Mainly, being unaware of my existence other than just as one of the faceless, nameless authors to whom he is addressing his unspeakably useful book, he is challenging me: what's at stake for the author in the telling of this story?

Are you exploring an issue that interests you? He asks. Are these characters running around in your head, begging to be put on the page? Are you looking for a byline or publication credit?

Of course, nothing as shallow as the final point has crossed my mind. I have never once thought about what it would be like to walk into Waterstone's on Piccadilly and to spot, on the front three-for-two table, my pen-name, on the front cover of a shiny new novel, spine unbroken, corners unruffled, surrounded by the latest Eleanor Catton or Zadie Smith or Jonathan Franzen offerings.

I've never once imagined that someone would pick it up, brow furrowed in intrigue, turn it over to scan the back copy, open it, and carrying it straight to the till, so distracted they forget to use their Waterstone's card. (Which would be a shame.)

I've never once thought about who I'm dedicating the book to, or how I am going to get a copy to him, and convince him to write the screenplay with me. I've never once daydreamed about how this might lead to our falling in love. Especially since this would in itself make a great story, given that the hero is named after and perhaps slightly modelled on him.

I've never pictured sitting on the Tube and noticing the person next to me so deeply engrossed that, when they finally look up at the end of a chapter to check they have not missed their stop, they mouth a gentle expletive.

Never. Not once.

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