Saying Goodbye

BAkkCYzCQAAK4MPDavid shot this candid on his way to bed last night. I was sitting at this table until 3am finishing Currawong Manor in time for its deadline today.

It’s the shortest space of time I’ve ever written a book, it took on its own life and is double the size of Poet’s Cottage. Some days I can make myself write to a word count. If I know I have a 5000 word limit I put that figure in my head, I seem to naturally break just before I hit it. Currawong Manor however, lured me along its strange, twisty and winding corridors to a far bigger book than I had envisaged when I began.

David who has read, made corrections and suggestions for me says its the best book I’ve ever written (If he had said anything else I wouldn’t record it here of course).

I do like this photograph as to me it reveals the reality of the everyday life of a writer. The screen’s illumination, the characters, the isolation when creating (apart from a friendly cat friend who is willing to purr away the long hours by your side). It’s not glamorous but it’s intense, challenging, deflating and amazing all at once.

And so the story is told. The characters have blessed me with their insights, their deceptions, their dreams and their stories yet again. Now the book goes to Selwa Anthony, my agent and then onto the publishers. Eventually it will make its way to the public.

But for this moment in the early quiet hours of my small home, it’s just the story, the cat and me. I do find it hard to say goodbye to the characters at times.

I am flying to Tasmania to spend a few days with my family in yet another Tasmanian sea-fishing village. I will be seeing Neil Gaiman talk down there which I’m looking forward to. We will have a bottle of champagne by the Tasmanian sea to celebrate the book’s conclusion on this stage of its creation.

I have my notebook packed as already the next book (which has been waiting patiently its turn for years) is eager to come through. I’m really looking forward to this one.

Thanks for visiting me and keep creative. xx

18 Responses

  1. Phyllis January 15, 2013 / 2:41 am

    Congratulations, Josephine. Although not a writer, I imagine this is both a sad and happy time. Happy that it’s done – sad to say goodbye to your character friends. Enjoy Tasmania and the champagne.

    • josephinetalepeddler January 15, 2013 / 2:50 am

      Thank you, dear Sister in Crime Phyllis,
      I shall toast your good health as I look over that Tasmanian sea. The Sisters in Crime have given me good reason to enjoy that champagne. And yes, it is a combination of both relief and sadness. Like any birth it is now a process of letting go of the book. xx

  2. ravenscauldron January 15, 2013 / 3:24 am

    Hi Josephine,

    Thank you for your note and a picture into your writing shed equipped with your cat. Enjoy your little break, and I have said this to you a few times before when I was writing my first novel and you had published your first. “Keep trying you said to me and believe in yourself’ well that’s what I have done and my first novel will be out in February this year, and the others to follow all first drafted and ready for me to dream again.

    Enjoy your time, and look forward to reading your new book.

    Carole Weave Lane.

    On 1/15/13, Josephine Pennicott – Tale Peddler – mysteries, nostalgia,

    • josephinetalepeddler January 15, 2013 / 7:35 am

      Dear Carole, that’s such wonderful news about your book and to know that I gave you some advice that kept you going. Massive congratulations on your book and please let me know when it’s out. I would love to pick up a copy and support you. I really do believe in the quote by Winston Churchill that success is the ability to go from one failure to another without loss of enthusiasm. So happy for you. Thanks for your good wishes. xx

  3. Kylie Mansfield January 15, 2013 / 3:29 am

    Can’t wait! I haven’t even finished Poet’s yet and I am worrying about when the next book will hit the shelves. That, my friend, is a true sign of a good story.
    As per the cat beside the computer – it’s rather familiar. I have a Tom cat who loves to sit anywhere close to my computer. I like to think it’s because he enjoys reading what I am writing, maybe it’s the same for your cat! 🙂

    • josephinetalepeddler January 15, 2013 / 11:43 am

      Dear Kylie, thanks so much for your enthusiasm and I hope you enjoy the rest of Poet’s Cottage It was lovely to spend the night with my Smuchie last night. I am not sure if she was reading although she might have been very afraid if she was! When you read Currawong Manor you will see why. Good luck with your writing. Love Josephine xx

  4. Wendy January 15, 2013 / 3:32 am

    Such a poignant moment! Did you collapse into tears? I imagine the life of a writer would be fairly isolated, but, oh, what I would do to have the ideas for books pouring out of my head onto the page! I have to make do with enjoying other people’s amazing imaginations, and that is not a bad thing at all! xx

    • josephinetalepeddler January 15, 2013 / 8:49 am

      Hello Wendy, Poignant is a perfect way to describe it. There’s incredible relief but also sadness at having to say goodbye to the characters and release them. I did not burst into tears however. I was quite emotional during the day which is normal for me as I come to the end of a big work. This book has quite an emotional ending but when I finally turned the laptop off that was that. You would think trumpets would blaze and spirit helpers would dance a jig with me but it was all very much – where’s my notebook for the next one? Writer always need readers and so I’m fortunate you are out there Wendy but you don’t do a bad job at all of writing on your blog. It’s all creative expression and also your teaching is your gift. I imagine that would be very draining work which can make it difficult to get the energies flowing. Thanks for popping in. I look forward to catching up with all my blogger pals soon. xx

  5. Heather Quenneville January 15, 2013 / 7:27 am

    What a great photo Josephine. They say a picture paints a thousand words and you can almost feel your emotions when you look at this. I’m so looking forward to opening the pages to Currawong Manor. Have a wonderful time in Beautiful Tassie, I’m going down myself for a week on Friday. I hope this year holds amazing, wonderful things for you. Heather xxxx

    • josephinetalepeddler January 15, 2013 / 9:36 am

      Thanks Heather for your good wishes and I hope you have a wonderful time in Tasmania. I cannot wait to smell that sea-air and eat the food. It’s always home to me. I read an interview with Essie Davis and when they asked her where was home she said Tasmania straight away. The only trouble is I always want to stay and start looking at real-estates. That is how Poet’s Cottage began! I’m in a different sea fishing village this time as my husband really begged me to let him explore a different part of the state. And I cannot wait to send you a copy of Currawong Manor. I am not sure when they are publishing it. I shall let you know when I hear. Fingers crossed my agent will enjoy it as much as my husband did. Not too many cuts I hope. xx

  6. Sarah January 15, 2013 / 12:02 pm

    Jo, your post gave me goose bumps and I felt a little sad, but also very happy..How exciting, I can’t wait to read Currawong Manor. Have a wonderful time in Tasi. Sarah xx

    • josephinetalepeddler January 15, 2013 / 12:55 pm

      Thank you darling Sarah. I feel I will sleep for days down there. Goose bumps are good. Much love to Anna and take care of yourself and your family. Thanks for visiting me and your good vibes. xx

  7. sleepydwarf January 16, 2013 / 3:53 am

    Wow! What an insightful post. I imagine it must have been a very intense time for you. Congratulations on finishing the book 🙂 Hope you have a lovely time here in Tassie and can get used to the up & down weather we’re having at the moment!

  8. Karen Brooks January 19, 2013 / 9:54 pm

    Congratulations, Jo. Gorgeous picture and you’re right, it does sum up the writer’s life – the beloved pet/s included! Been such an adventure for you, this book. I can’t wait to read it. Enjoy Tasmania – we have a beautiful day today – Neil Gaiman (Neil Gaiman!!!), the champers and the serenity. So happy for you! xxxx

  9. jen storer January 21, 2013 / 2:56 am

    It’s a great pic, TP, and totally captures the essence. Congratulations on completing a mammoth task. I am so looking forward to this next book. As you might have noticed on my rather feeble blog, Poets Cottage is still a firm favourite of mine. It has been a privilege to follow you on your Writer’s Journey. Have a lovely rest. No need to say stay creative… 😉 xx

  10. Sian February 8, 2013 / 6:23 am

    Hi Josephine,
    I thought I’d share with you how I came to discover Poets Cottage. I was on my morning commute to work when I seen a lone book on the seat opposite me, which isn’t a rare occurrence. Normally I’d ignore any books / magazines, but the cover art had me intrigued.
    So, I started reading (and thoroughly enjoying) the book.
    Then I was disturbed by the books rightful owner, who had moved carriages only to realise she had left poets behind. I was reluctant to return it.
    So, on my way to work I called into a book store and fortunately they had you in stock. I was a little late, but not bothered as I was able to continue reading on my lunch break 🙂
    I was sad when I reached the ending, because I had to depart with your wonderful characters.
    Now, I am looking forward to and much anticipating Currawong Manor.
    Just out of curiosity, how long do you write each day? Every word seems to flow perfectly, everything just fits seemingly effortlessly. My, how talented you are !
    Warmest regards

    • josephinetalepeddler February 8, 2013 / 6:36 am

      Dear Sian, that is a wonderful story and worthy of a book in itself. How romantic and filled with possibilities is the scenario of a book left on a bus or train…
      Thank you so much for sharing that story. It has made my Friday afternoon and I love to hear of Poet’s Cottage making its way around the world but this is the first time I’ve heard of it being lost!
      I am so thrilled you enjoyed it and that the cover art drew you. Nada created a beautiful cover and I will always be grateful to her as so many people have been attracted to it on its cover. She managed to nail the story on her first attempt.
      I understand the sadness of reaching the end of a book you have loved. I feel it with my own books that are special to me (like Poet’s Cottage) and other tale peddlers as well. I do go through a mourning process of having to release the characters. It’s always a joy to escape into a story. I’ve had those feelings from when I was small enough to recognise marks on the page as being a code I had to decipher to reach a magical land of the imagination. And thank you so much for your kind words on the storytelling. I write every day when I can. With my small daughter who is seven it can be tricky. I do aim for as much time as I can get but if I manage to get three hours in that’s a good day! Prior to motherhood it was a different story and I could wake at 3am and write for hours. When I am nearing deadline I have to do more hours. Even when I am not writing I am always thinking of my book and my characters and I don’t have a lot of distractions if I can help it to help me reach the deeper level of mind to get to my characters.
      Thank you again for popping in and your lovely post. Currawong Manor is being published this year and when I hear of any dates I shall let you know here.
      Warmest Love, Josephine xx

  11. Sian February 8, 2013 / 10:02 pm

    Well you are doing remarkably well with the 3 hours writing in my opinion.
    I have four year old boys. They are incredibly rowdy but I love them nonetheless. Since having them, even writing in my journal has become a luxury. Hopefully when they are in school next year there will be calm before the storm (that being, them arriving home) and I’ll be able to fit in some writing time after work.

    Good to hear Currawong Manor is being published this year, I’ll check back regularly for any dates.

    Take care,

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