Four months ago the deadline was looking impossible: I written had 40,000 and those words had taken me a year to write. The more I wrote, the longer the book wanted to be. I was feeling sick and tired all the time. But then something happened. It all started falling into place. Suddenly that life growing inside me wasn't being such a burden. I had spent so much time thinking about the book that suddenly my writing sped up and what was going onto the screen was no longer about finding the voice and the story of the novel: I already had those. So when the words eventually fell on the page they were mostly the right ones. I have been describing it as the novel reaching a critical mass in my head. It was bursting out of me.
Writing a novel is a little like having children. It gets easier as it goes along, so much so that when it is going really well, you forget how hard it was in the beginning, and you do it all over again. This book was agony to write at times - last year I had some dark days, weeks even, when I couldn't imagine ever finishing it or getting it right. But all that is behind me now.
Just a quick mention: last weekend I went to Wellington to visit family and friends, and was very privileged to witness the gloriousness of The Wellington International Ukulele Orchestra at the Michael Fowler Centre, on the first of two sold-out shows in one night. The sound was superb, as was the set and it truly was, as they advertised it, a magical evening. Those harmonies! Those lead breaks! As their friend, I was pleased and proud. As a fan, I was just so happy to be there. This is a show that deserves to play at similar venues all around the world in my opinion.
I will leave you with a picture of the ukes at one of their first ever gigs: my wedding, in 2006. They played 'All You Need is Love' as we signed the register and the wedding ditty as we walked down a makeshift outdoor 'aisle' on an unusually glorious Wellington day in February. Don't I feel smug.