Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Stuff Going On

I've just come to the end of a particularly intense project in my new career, not much sleep etc, and now I have a week off. Which means I get to catch up with the rest of my life, not least a humungous quantity of housework, but crucially I get to be ALONE. Oh, it's like plunging into a warm pool under a sunlit sky. I get to be in my own home for a long period of time with no urgent deadlines and nothing stressful to do in the morning and all small people safely dispatched unto the care of others' hands.

So now I can focus on my book. This means spending most of my spare time editing a final draft, to be Lulued into review copies. But also...

For the past month the illustrator has been cogitating over the cover, and this weekend he came up with a couple of tentative draft images. This bit is HARD. Thank God he's a professional illustrator with decades of experience and knows what he's doing, cos I sure as hell don't. I can say what I don't like, but what I'm crap at is imagining a preferable alternative. The drafts have energy and humour, and I'm worried our tinkerings might stamp that out, but I think between us we'll get there. His wise voice is reminding me that it doesn't have to be literal. That what we are trying to do is capture the spirit of the book, and make people want to read it. And that if there is sex in the title, there probably has to be sex on the cover.

Yesterday we swapped pictures and thoughts, and this afternoon we'll be doing more of the same. It'll be ongoing all week. I have a meeting with the designers on Thursday, but we've agreed that we're not aiming to have a finished illustration by then, as that might put us in too much of a rush. This isn't to be hurried. We hope to have it nailed by next week though.

What's lovely about all this is that the illustrator is doing this for love, not money. We are old friends and he really cares that we produce something lovely. Of course I feel guilty about not being able to pay him much, but I just have to try not to think of it like that.

In the past I've done things like this and been terrified of offering an opinion or making any demands on people who clearly know more than me and who are anyway doing me a favour, but I've learnt it's pointless to think that way. This is my book, and my opinion matters. But I also have to trust in others' creative ability. Eek. The meeting with the designers will be interesting, too - particularly as we might not have a finished image to work with, but it's only an initial meeting.

So I'll be seeing Francis (the illustrator) on Friday, when I go and stay with him in London, and hopefully we'll have a tentative design to look at by then, as well.

My other reason for being in London is Stan, aka Bete de Jour, aka Karl's party. I found him fascinating even before I read his book and decided he wasn't real. Now he's admitted he isn't real. Or at least, I think he has. I probably found out who he was by accident a few months ago, so I think I already know. But anything could happen on Friday. Including bugger all. We have a back-up plan, Francis and I, just in case. I love London. I'll be there less than 24 hours (motherhood, motherhood, motherhood) but I'll make the most of it. Time for me has been scant for the last nine months, so this is a rare treat.

I thought about posting the draft book cover images here, but won't yet. We wouldn't tell people what names we were considering for the babies in my belly, either. It's the same thing. Unfinished creations are uniquely vulnerable to criticism, and sometimes even two opinions are confusing enough, never mind any more.

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