After the frantic revisions to Flight Into Darkness, I got an email from Peter Buckman’s office saying that he is on holiday for two weeks! Oh well, holidays are an entitlement, not a privilege, I suppose but he will need a new best-seller to pay for next year’s vacation!
I am keen, however, that FID, being a very current novel ‘of this moment’ should not pass its sell-by date. If the Iranians block the Straits of Hormuz, I don’t think it’ll affect the plot, but if the Israelis launch a nuclear attack on Iran, it would. I recall hearing West-End impressario Cameron Mackintosh talking about the end of the cold war. It coincided with his east-west cold war musical ‘Chess’ and he was shit-scared that world events would affect its success. They did, of course. Please don’t let this happen to Flight Into Darkness!
I don’t think it’ll happen but am aware that getting a novel into print is a long-term process. After the year it takes to refine to a point where an agent picks it up, we then have to go through the process of revising it in the light of his market feedback. Ok, this has been done. Now, when…or if…it gets picked up by a publisher, the process starts apparently all over again until they have a book that they think the market will go for. Then they have to do the advance marketing and plan a launch. This may be a muted affair for an unpublished writer and the priority may be low for them. When they can make a million by publishing the life story of some wannabe Sun celeb with big tits or some inarticulate moron who can kick a football, why take the risk with a book that might get their HQ bombed?
Celeste did a bacalhau dish last might. Very Portuguese. Bacalhau is a staple of the Portuguese dinner table. It’s salted cod that can be stored forever and comes from a time before the fridge. For Portugal that was probably about twenty years ago. Anyway, you buy it in great salty slabs from the fishmonger who slices it up with a guillotine, as if he was chopping wood. You then soak it for two days to get rid of the salt, although this never seems to be entirely successful. The result, regardless how it’s cooked, is tough and salty and tastes a bit like soggy Bombay Duck (Indian dried fish). Actually, not that palatable and bearing little resemblance to the moist, succulent cod that we are used to in England. The funny thing is that this Portuguese staple actually all comes from Norway, from the Lofoten islands, as cod is not caught here any more. I’d love to taste fresh cod again. Oh, for an English chippie!
So, with the novel it’s hurry up and wait. I think I’ll go off to a pastelaria and have some coffee and Portuguese yummies. Not bacalhau, though.