For the next few weeks I am going to be busy revisiting and reworking a novel I wrote thirteen years ago, so my blogging activities may be a tad patchy during this time.
DAUGHTERS OF THE GRAIL is a historical novel but a slight departure from my usual style. I was commissioned to write it by a TV producer who got in touch with my agent, saying he was looking for a writer to turn his treatment into a novel. He had just read the now notorious Holy Blood and the Holy Grail by Baigent, Leigh and Lincoln and had been inspired to sketch the bones of a story - a thirteenth century tale of the Cathar heresy in the Languedoc with elements inspired by what he had read in The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail. The upshot was that I was commissioned to put flesh on the bones and turn the treatment into a novel, the idea being that a script would then be written from the book and a film made. I duly embarked on the project, which was bigger than anything I had attempted before. I was still quite a new author then and this was definitely going to stretch me! The novel was titled Children of Destiny in the UK. I rewrote it for the USA market where it became Daughters of The Grail, and is, I think, the better novel for the rewrite.
Anyway, due to one thing and another, not least the demise of publishing mogul Robert Maxwell, the novel sank without much trace. I have a feeling too that it was the right novel, wrong time.
My current publishers, TimeWarner, are re-issuing Daughters of the Grail and have given me the wonderful and rare opportunity to give the novel a complete overhaul before its December publication. I'm thoroughly enjoying revisiting the book. After so long, I've forgotten most of it (I tend not to re-read my material very often once it goes out into the world). I am also realising how much I have moved on as a writer. I cannot believe how clunky some of the prose is! I wonder if writers continue to improve throughout their careers, or whether they reach a level of talent and stay there. Alternatively perhaps they arrive at the top and fall off. Looking back at my own career, after eight 500 page novels written between the age of 15 and 32, all rejected, I finally reached a level where I was good enough to be published, but I was still raising my game and expanding. I hope I still am (other than my posterior from spending my time at a PC screen!).