Monday, 31 December 2012

last post for the year

Just under twelve and a half months ago I set out to write a novel. Two and a half months later I started on an historical novel about Vashti, Queen of the Ancient Medes. Six months later it was complete at 152,000 words. It was impossible to stop at our (Hamma Mirwaisi, whose unique research on the Ancient Airyanem civilisation of the Middle East was the co-author and researcher) original goal of 120,000 words so I felt it was quite ok to make my first novel an epic.
Perhaps that was  a mistake because trying to sell it has not  been a good experience. Literary agents posit an incredibly competitive and cash starved publishing industry.  Only the best of the best makes it.Our book is now on Amazon but still frozen there.
Undaunted, we have started on the sequel, Esther Mystery Queen of the Medes, also written on the basis that King Ahasuerus of the Biblical book of Esther and husband of Queen Vashti was the father of Darius the Mede of the Biblical book of Daniel. Because Darius was aged 62 in 539 BCE at the fall of Babylon, he cannot be the son of King Xerxes, who was born in 519 BCE. So King Xerxes was not the husband of Queens Vashti and Esther. There seems to be little evidence about this in historical accounts, so once again the Bible provides valuable historical proof about the origins of an heroic figure who has not received the acclaim she deserves but would probably not have pursued.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

loss of a literary giant

A famous Australian writer died last week. He wrote a book a year for the last 21 years. He was born to a seamstress in South Afroca and suffered horribly from bullying in childhood. Gaining a scholarship to a boading school he had to return to the prphange which was ususally his homme during scholl holidays.He learned to tell stories to survive. He did more than survive, with each of his books making $10 million for the publishers. His son died of blood transfusion unduced AIDS, he divorced his wife, who later was cared for by her remaining sons till she died. He was estranged from his sons at times, they seemed to indicate that his writing and obssessive creating of his own 'facts' interfered with his ability to relate to his family. Do writers write for themselves? Of course, they write their own stories, and it seems the good ones can write everyone else's at the same time. Hence the masses can identify.
This writer's motto was something like, 'Success is the only option.'
I absolutely agree.

giving up

Yes, we've temporarily given up on tradtional publishing and have given in to digital (more than one finger). And no this message is not in binary code( yet). Somewhere on Amazon sits half of our as yet insignificant tome. We have facebooked it, blogged it and it has its owm commentary page on Amazon. Thhe other half is ready to be launched, but I am not ready to let it go. The count down has started...mean a while a young Jewish girl named Hadassah waits within the walls of a mudbrick house in the Ancient Median city of Susa, wondering if her people will ever return to their homeland.

literary agents and masochism

Hours and weeks of submittung to literary agents, giving them what they want yields only rejections and engagement in a few negative telephone calls. Such a waste of time and effort, this process is hell compared to the heaven of writing.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

J K and the writer's 'reality'

JK Rowling has been interviewed a few times on the publication of her first adult novel. In one session she was asked whether she was nervous about its reception. She replied to the effect that she was as thin-skinned as any other writer and she could be insecure and defensive.  It was comforting to know that even the great writers of our age experience these doubts before their work is exposed to readers.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

voices in my head

My son is a musician, he adds music to any situation he can, by tapping, singing or making indescribable rhythmic sounds. Music is in his being, even when he is not listening to it or is playing his guitar.  I have words, sentences and paragraphs in my head a lot of the time. I suppose this is writer's schizophrenia. Today whilst confined to a recovery position from the common cold I saw one writer on the TV who had coincidentally been diagnosed with the mental condition. He mentioned that a writer should do more than raise the issues of, say, the challenges of the  human condition and morality, but they should change the reader and make them see things differently. I do not know if our work will do that, but it definitely exposes readers to the words and concepts taken from my restless and often excited mind, recording the era of a civilisation that we believe has not previously been written in such accurate and comprehensive detail.

the little Aussie battleaxe

In Australian legendary history there is a female character who helped 'pioneer' the country with European settlement. She is a short stout woman clad in a billowing but practical dress and wielding a small (or larger axe) with which she splits kindling for the kitchen stove where she cooks feather light scones and legs of roast lamb. She uses the axe to chop the heavier wood if her husband is away droving or at a far flung part of the station, or huge grazing property. In my case the littler Aussie battleaxe has fallen down at the wood pile, her fingers reaching feebly for a piece of kindling. I have just removed myself from my bed where, with a mild fever I have delusionally thought of replacement words for those that were not quite right in the 150,000 words plus of our novel.