I started working on what will one day become my third published novel back in 2012.
The themes of the book were a mixture of ideas that had been floating around my head for a while and lines from the PJ Harvey song The Wind. Reading the lyrics and listening to the music, I slowly started to build up a narrative around one of my main characters, the enigmatic Catherine Thorne. Some of the decisions I made about the character's past life were based on the following lines:
She dreamt of children's voices
And torture on the wheel
Patron-Saint of nothing
A woman of the hills
She once was a lady
Of pleasure, and high-born
A lady of the city
Even though we get glimpses of that very different existence as Cathy attempts to keep her past life under wraps, we do not know until very late in the book what exactly it is that she has been doing all this time in New York. Although if I told you that since the inception of the novel the actions of a certain Ghislaine Maxwell have come to light and that their respective occupations involved the same kind of activities, you can now guess why it is that Cathy has elected to work in a rural area under a false name... Nevertheless, Cathy is presented as someone somewhat more flamboyant who has emerged fully-formed from the underworld of a more alternative culture.
This week, I have just finished working on an important scene in which one of the main characters, 14 year-old Kat, discovers that a very special ex-classmate of hers is now on the cover of fashion magazines...
Then a few days ago, I spotted something about British Vogue's April covers which look very, very close to what I had in mind (although I was thinking about something a bit more fierce, more Grace Jones...)
Then also in the media this week is a PHOTO-ESSAY about single dads... This is just perfect timing, as I am trying to define the relationship between Kat and her widowed father Simon. Kat is 14 and lost her mother, whom she just cannot remember, when she was six month old. Even after all this time, Simon just cannot shake off the sense of guilt he feels about the death of his young wife and he still misses her. He also suffers from the side-effects of the anti-depressants he has been taking and these impact his on-off relationship with Oona, the woman who loves him and can't give him up. Simon did struggle a lot to bring up his daughter and actually temporarily gave up for a while - his young daughter spent several years living with her glamorous grandmother. It is only when Kat reached the age of seven that she finally went back to live with her father.
But then Kat was the victim of some horrendous bullying at her school, and this is when Simon rose to the occasion and showed his daughter how much she count really count on him...
We meet them after this very intense moment in their relationship when they are more than ever a tight unit, uprooted from their North London life...
I think therefore I write.
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