Hey Novelist - what's your book REALLY about?


I steer clear of psychoanalysis. Whatever deep currents may swirl around inside me they can fuel whatever I'm writing. Then the odd thing sometimes just leaps in your face and yells so loud I have to listen.

It happened in my morning bath today. I was appreciating my novel's new character. He's a doctor, and seemed like a good warm man in an extremely hostile situation. I've been glad he appeared. It's been tough, pushing my character through on his own. I was glad of the doctor's friendly face, his wise counsel.

Then came the revelation. This doctor may have charm, but he's no good guy. He's an enemy. I must write him with that in mind. My young lead character must always know it.

So where's the psychoanalysis in that? Simply the perception that both my life and my writing have been treading the same old rut, and I was about to do it again. I keep looking for someone in authority, looking to collapse my commonsense and deliver myself into someone else's care. I have made the mistake in life then worked it out in my books - ie Mother Meera in In Search of the Divine Mother and the shaman in I Was Carlos Castaneda. I in fact stripped all the anger out of In Search of the Divine Mother, but way before that book I wrote a version called "Unmasking the Gods" that was wilfully angry. I now need to do the same with Cromozone, this new novel. It's exhausting but necessary.

Why is it necessary? Because the psychological drive to do so is suddenly clear and until I let it run it will burn through many drafts and many books. On the personal psychological level it stems from overcoming abuse - and learning to avoid situations where it might happen again, instead of finding myself drawn to them. On a more dynamic and public level, the one the book will appear as, it is about finding strength and value in your own life regardless of what people throw at you.

Thankfully, the book is also about other things. It has a damn fine plot.

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