Last month I was running to stand still, getting organized to attend Natcon and pushing hard to finish The Gathering of the Lost (The Wall of Night series, Book Two.) In the meantime I’ve run like crazy—made it to the convention and best of all, The Heir of Night won the Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Novel 2011 (jointly with Lyn McConchie's The Questing Road; Tor)—how awesome is that? I have to tell you that I was absolutely over the moon and my NZ publicist, the wonderful Karen, bought champagne, so it was a sparkling evening all around! If you want to read more, I did a post about the whole evening on my blog, here.
Immediately afterward, of course, I had those winged shoes on again and was back in the writer’s study and working hard to meet the 1 July deadline for final delivery of The Gathering of the Lost. Things were running tight, I thought, but should be do-able—and then on Monday June 13, Christchurch (the city where I live in New Zealand) was rocked by two further major earthquakes: a 5.7 followed an hour later by a 6.3. Given the nature of the subsoil here we immediately got what is called “liquefaction”—liquified sand and water pushed out of the ground to flow everywhere and settle as a grey sludge. But not, I hasten to add, inside our house as happened to some: we only got it outside. (May I say: phew!)
Nonetheless, it still needed to be dug out—and I was close to despair as I wondered how I could possibly do the necessary digging and finish Gathering. My man said that he would take care of it and I knew he meant it, but this really is not a 1 person job: it’s definitely a case of two being both company and lightening the burden of work to be done. So I knew I really couldn’t just leave him to it—but in the end, I didn’t have to. Over a period of four days, a number of different friends turned up to help out. “You finish the book,” they said. “We’ll do the digging out.” And they did—in the wintry rain, as well, some of that time.
Needless to say, all their names will be in the Acknowledgements section of Gathering when it is published in March next year, but I would just like to list them all here, anyway: Andrew (that’s my guy); Joffre; Dave; Caroline; Susi; Peter; Fitz; Ram; Shane; and Chris. I said it to their faces a couple of weeks ago but now I’m saying it again here: guys, you rock! And without you, I would not have met my deadline for the book.
Delivering The Gathering of the Lost:
Which I have now done: hurrah! Woot!! Handsprings & cartwheels!!! Getting to that final line is just the best feeling—not just because you’re done, and in my case done with a day to spare (hurrah again!)—but also because I now feel that I have written the book I wanted to. The Gathering of the Lost is my third novel, but the second in The Wall of Night series and as such it needed to expand the story begun in The Heir of Night and take it new places. This expansion includes the characters as well—I felt they needed to develop and grow, but also be poised on the edge of that next stage in the adventure, which will unfold in the third-in-series (working title: Daughter of Blood.) I felt, when I put away my pen (I jot long hand notes as I type) and closed the laptop yesterday, that I had completed a book that delivered on all those objectives. Dear readers: I felt satisfied. And although this is no guarantee that you will feel similarly satisfied next March, I believe it considerably enhances the chances of this being so. [Grins.] So yes, a feeling of a job well done, and now a little playing catch-up, a little r’n’r—and then onward, to Daughter of Blood.
1 Year On:
And then I realized, as I sat down to do this post—fingers flyin’ over the keyboard yet again!—that it is exactly 1 year today since I posted my inaugural blog on the Supernatural Underground. How cool is that?! I have really enjoyed this past year, getting together with you all on the first day of every month and talkin’ about what we all love: fantastic stories, the writing & reading life—and definitely having a spot of fun along the way. Needless to say, I’m really looking forward to more of the same over the next year, but in the meantime, may I say—you are all awesome and it’s a pleasure to spend time with you here!
Supernatural Underground author Helen Lowe is a novelist, poet and interviewer. Her latest novel, The Heir of Night, the first of THE WALL OF NIGHT quartet, is published in the USA, UK, Australia & NZ and forthcoming in The Netherlands and France. The Heir of Night recently won the Sir Julius Vogel Award 2011 for Best Novel, and received a Catanetwork Reviewers’ Choice Award in 2010. Helen’s first novel, Thornspell, (Knopf, 2008) won the Sir Julius Vogel Award for Best Novel, Young Adult 2009 and was a Storylines Children’s Literature Trust Notable Book in the sme year. Helen blogs every day on her Helen Lowe on Anything, Really site and on the first day of every month right here on the Supernatural Underground.