Posted by: Linda Proud | August 22, 2007

End Games

Many people have been asking recently when the third part of The Botticelli Trilogy will appear. Not just those friends I meet in passing, but readers of the other two volumes who bother to phone. There seems to be a bit of heckling going on from the Universe – a cosmic chorus of ‘Why are we waiting?’ There are two answers to the question of when: ‘by Christmas’ and ‘I haven’t finished yet’. It’s quite difficult to know exactly when you have finished a novel. It’s not just a matter of reaching the end: one does that many times over. It’s more a matter of determining which is the final ‘layer’. I think I’m there, but I’ve thought that at least three times this year. Satisfied with my latest version, however, I sent it off to our proof reader, Arthur Farndell, but before David had finished reading it. I also sent it to my agent in California. Now I’m having to contact both, saying, ‘Ooops, sorry, new ending.’ For David didn’t like this ending as much as the previous version, so I’ve spent the last week or so frantically reworking it to include the best of both versions.

So, no bells and whistles, no fireworks, not so much as a thunderstorm to mark this momentous occasion. I do have a bottle of riserva bought at Montepulciano, awaiting a propitious moment. May be we’ll be opening it soon. Meanwhile there is still much to do. It’s an unwieldy narrative that has taken literally years to knock into shape, but David and Arthur both found it difficult to follow, not where we are at any time, but when we are (at any place). So I’ve devised a new kind of chapter heading, and David suggested a contents list, so that will keep me busy for a while. Then there is the cover to design, the essay at the end to finalise, the blurb to write, etc. etc. etc. When is a novel finished? When this fat lady sings. . .

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