June 4, 2018 blog post - Of love...

OH, EVERYTHING HURTS. I have been digging trenches lately. A lot of them. It’s what happens when you’re building a house. It’s also what happens when the going rate for a tradesman to dig a trench is around $500. So I figured since I have a shovel I’d put it to good use, and dig a ditch around the septic tanks. (Also, it’s a lady’s shovel, if you didn’t know those existed, made for smaller hands and shorter legs, and it’s pink – thank you, Bunnings!) But back to the trench. Well, it took four days and I found a broken bottle, a golf ball, two lighters and a Smurf figurine, lost count how many times I fell over and/or chucked dirt in my face, but it’s done…and I’m proud of myself. Mostly, for surviving, but still.


But I’m getting ahead of myself. It all started a few weeks ago when my ed. notes for my latest book came back and I decided to approach things a little differently this time around. That is, the exercise approach. It’s this part of the process, much more than the writing bit, where I end up sitting at my computer for HOURS at a time, thinking and thinking...and thinking, and it’s doing me no good at all. Pile that on top of what I call editing-related insomnia – code for not being able to sleep because I’m trying to work out what’s going to happen next – and I’m sleeping about six hours a night, which just won’t do. Sigh.


Anyway, the upside of all of this is that I’ve saved myself a tidy fortune, found myself in a much clearer state of mind for my editing and, as a result, am powering through this current draft. Although, having said that, it might also have a lot to do with the fact that I’m so physically spent that I can sit for hours at my computer now – mostly on account of not being able to get up – and not feel any adverse effects. And because one good thing leads to another, I’ve also had time for other non-book related fun stuff, like baking.


My current mad-for recipe is one that features in Beautiful Messy Love by the wonderful Tess Woods. If you haven’t read it yet, do so as soon as you can because, apart from being an absolutely cracking read – funny, poignant and great – you can make Toby’s lemon pie and eat it while you’re reading! I’ve made it a few times now and have been learning some bakers' secrets with each attempt: firstly, pastry needs to be rolled once, then quarter turned, and then rolled again, turned again – you see where I’m going here? – to get a perfectly round disc. Otherwise it’s just going to be shaped like one of those melty clock-things from Salvador Dali’s Persistence of Memory. Admittedly, kind of cool but impossible to get in a tin.  Secondly, and possibly more dangerous, you have to pour the liquid into the pastry case while the tin is in the oven. I learned this the hard way while trying to get the door open, pull out the shelf, and hold up said tart without any sloshing. The finished result has been delicious each time, for which I’d like to thank Tess for the recipe, lemons for being just about the best fruit there is, and my Mexican grandmother for passing on a love for cooking that borders on the obsessive. My brother told me I’d kicked it out of the park with this one so I’m assuming that sporty metaphor means it’s really good.

But back to my editing. I’m halfway through the current draft, and I’m loving every minute of it. The story has really taken shape over the last couple of drafts and I feel like I’m getting to the point where I’m happy with it – and that’s something you don’t often hear from an author. As some of you may have read in previous posts, it’s a story about a love that goes horribly wrong. It is still a mystery to me, even though I wrote these characters, as to how they got themselves into this predicament. But I suspect that’s the thing with love – it does not follow convention, makes no sense and is, ultimately, the one thing that unravels us all. I’ll let you know when this book is ready to go out into publishing land and then you can tell me what you make of it all. In the meantime, watch this space.


Until next time, beautiful ones, I hope you’re reading – and eating – something great.


Much love, Samantha.

June 4, 2018

Of love (and lemon pie)...

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