Monday, April 26, 2010

Banquo's son and the art of getting down to it

What I should be doing. And here's more about TK (aka Tania) Roxborough's trilogy which began with Banquo's Son (shortlisted for this year's NZ Post book awards but enjoyed by adults and children alike) - and will continue once her editing work on the second book is done.

Tania's advice is spot on.

This woman is a machine: teaching full-time, her own children at home to care for, and researching and writing flat out at night. And she manages to both get on with the writing and 'incubate' at the same time. At the moment, I spend far too much time 'incubating'; and quite frankly the trouble with a book 'pregnancy' is if it goes on too long people start to think it's a phantom.

So, inspired by Banquo's author and her heroic battle with the 11th century, I'm hurtling back into my children's novel today with a vengeance. It's not too far off being finished, but I do need to do a little more research on old lighthouses.

As luck would have it, I ran into an expert in old lighthouses at the Four Square the other day. As I paid for my toilet paper and Weetbix, I had an epiphany:  the woman behind me in the queue is an artist who paints lighthouses and whose husband inspected them (or something like that.) I waited for her outside, and sidled up, supermarket bags rustling companionably.

Jacky told me her house is indeed stacked with archival photos and notes about lighthouses - she painted 40 of the classic NZ coastal lighthouses! - and she has some rather marvellous stories about them she hopes to put into a book one day. She told me two - about a blind lighthouse keeper and about an Indian princess who became a lighthouse keeper's wife - and said of course I could come and see her archives. Any time.

Trouble is, I wasn't able to get to get round there before Jacky went to Queenstown for the week. So my characters are still flying towards the lighthouse... and they don't know what they'll find there. Neither do I.

1 comment:

TK Roxborogh said...

Thanks for your comments, Mary. This machine does break down occasionally (lots of tears tonight after another 'tuning session'. The kids complained that they want me around more. The irony is - THEY aren't around! And, when they are, they tell me to get lost.

Also, nothing like a CONTRACT where one has recieved money to motivate one to keep going.

Still, if you should see my garden and the dust and the stack of accounting work to be done and note my lack of fitness you might not feel so in awe.

It's a balancing act - one in which I fall over often. But, I am pretty determined.

I guess it comes from being brought up on a farm. If the fence's broke, don't matter if it is dark or blowing a storm - ya stay and get it fixed otherwise the stock will get out; if there's a leak in a pipe which feeds the troughs, you stay out there until you find it and fix it otherwise the stock have no water.

Drives my towny husband nuts!