I’ve been writing forever, I suppose. Poetry, short stories, plays – mostly just for my own pleasure. There are two novels in the secret drawer, just waiting for a good house fire or a serious second look – not sure which would be best.
But meanwhile, (The) Last Year is my latest offering, and I think my best. I wrote this book for my own diversion in 2015, setting it in 2014. It started as a way of getting through the dark days of spring and autumn and winter, with a garden leave break for the brief and wet summer we had that year. I made a contract with myself that I could only write on 3 or 4 days in any week and could create no more than 1000 words a day. This was my attempt to keep (The) Last Year from taking over my life, sucking up all the creative space available. And it sort of worked for me. Certainly, this discipline meant that I really looked forward to the 1000 word sessions and some time had to argue with the computer about the word count. But I did stop at 1000, even when it hurt.
As time went on, it developed its own momentum. What started as a bit of fun became the most private part of my day, the time when I could create something out of the air of experience and imagination. I even enjoyed re-drafting and re-reading it many times.
One final thing: it’s not autobiography. It’s in the first person but it’s fiction. It’s great fun to read and/or write about people who aren’t us, isn’t it? And maybe we do learn something about ourselves along the way.