|Cover image courtesy of Glasgow Museums|
I'm going to be talking about some of what inspired and lay behind the novel, some of the intensive historical research that went into it and how I feel about my main character, William Lang, who narrates the whole story as an old man looking back on his youth. I'm very fond of him, but there's more to it than that. Actually, I still recall the considered judgement of an 'industry insider' who had better remain nameless that the whole novel was 'just an old man telling his story' which is the kind of remark that burns itself into your heart and stays there, festering slowly. Not even a clutch of excellent reviews and a whole lot of praise can ever quite erase it, although they certainly help!
My publisher Saraband has made a wonderful job of this book - the actual hold-it-in-your-hand artefact - and the cover, with an image courtesy of the excellent Glasgow Museums, is to die for. This stunning sampler is part of their collection. One of the characters in this literary historical novel, Jenny Caddas, is a fine needlewoman, and in the course of the story she makes an embroidered christening cape. I'm planning to bring a similar cape along to the launches, since I have one in my own textile collection - another source of inspiration, although not the main one.
Now, I'm trying to decide which bits to read out: just enough to tantalise people into wanting to read more. I've been sitting up late and practising. But really, it's no hardship because I love reading aloud. I suspect most playwrights - and that's what I do when I'm wearing one of my other hats - love reading their work aloud and sometimes even going so far as to act it out. I sometimes think that we're show-offs at heart even though we like to pretend to be quietly self effacing writers.