“You aren’t with me, are you?”
“Of course I am,” I reply to the Mrs. as she shouts up to the office where I’m in front of the PC.
“Yeh, what did I just say?”
“Uh, that you want me to cut down the tree.”
“No! I said I’d like a cup of tea! You aren’t listening to anything I’m saying,” she sighs.
“I am… [Wait? Hmm. Addington wasn’t PM in 1800? It was still Pitt?] Uh, I am listening…” [Yes, Lieutenant Colonel, that’s a good rank given his baronet title. Some French did flee to Russia. Tolstoy wrote about it. So that’s plausible. And when did that Polish girl arrive in Paris again? Do I have that year right?]
My wife hates this time. She knows “where” I am. Often it is not here in the present moment.
As I am sure you know by now, my latest is out in September. Many of you have been with me since 2013 and my very first novel. I am always grateful for that and try to make each one better than the previous one (to try to keep you with me!), so you get the first peek (ahead of Instagram). I was messing around yesterday and decided to have a look: this is what its “simple” Kindle cover will be:
This is the first time I have ever had cover artwork with visible faces. The painting on the bottom left is of an unidentified English late teenage (probably between ages 15-18) girl, painted in London in 1787 (by George Romney, who is an ancestor of – I kid you not – U.S. politician Mitt Romney). The other is of an unidentified family on a Paris street painted in 1803 by a French artist.
There are, I suppose, three main characters in this novel: “Robert,” “Carolina” (pronounced Caroleena as was not uncommon in 18th century England) and “Marie-Thérèse” – all had been in Conventions: The Garden At Paris you may recall. The story is seen mostly through their eyes. After those “people,” there are at least a dozen other nearly as major fictional characters… and then there are the historical people portrayed, and all of the real events, and all of the fictional that is mixed in.
These are just its first chapters…
…and these the last:
Including all of that, and many more chapters in-between, we see some who began in Conventions in 1787 in their late teens by the end of this part (which goes to 1805) now reaching middle-age. That is new to me: I have never tried to write such a “life progression” over decades. It is fascinating moving someone from age “eighteen” well into their “thirties.” (I suppose having “lived that” myself must help.)
There are deaths. There are near-deaths. There are births. There are marriages. (Usually marriages before births, but, uh, not always.) There is family. There is violence. There is war. There is also fun and joy. It’s about 600 pages to become (I hope) absorbed in – to escape in a sense from our present day’s cares and burdens. Even if you don’t give a damn about history, while reading all of that “romance” and “adventure,” by the end you’ll have learned (I bet) some history even if purely by accident.
I wrote Conventions: The Garden At Paris imagining there might be two further volumes someday – all of them to be stand alone novels each of which may be read on its own. But each book has proven such a massive writing undertaking that for now I feel I have yet again largely run out of steam: I’m exhausted. So it’s two books. As for a third? I hope so. We’ll see.
Have a good day, wherever you are. I know where I will be. 😉