There is an old joke that keeps doing the rounds. A guy shows of a gardening, or DIY tool, proudly, with a tear in his eye, declares it’s the old hoe, spade, hammer that his father handed to him before his father died. ‘They built things to last back then’ is the proud declaration, ‘why this has only needed a new blade and two new handles in all that time. As good as the day his father handed it to me,wouldn’t change it for a new one, no way.’
Blue Moon is a little like that spade/hoe/hammer. The story created over twenty years ago has only needed a ‘couple’ of changes, but otherwise as good as the day it was born.
Well no, not really.
It was brought home to me when I was discussing with a friend just exactly how I had brought it up to date.
A new blade, two new handles? And the rest!
I mentioned last time that I had in my innocence broken the cardinal rule of writing - to write about something you know - when I set it in the USA, in the police department. Broke the rule twice. Back then there was no google mapping, no swooping onto the Internet to research. Finding out about areas, departments did actually require someone on the ground. Three times I and friend from forever journeyed over there to carry out ‘research’.
Each time we had to buy another suitcase before returning home to carry the excess books, brochures, maps etc picked up in the course of the trip. We had a great time exploring the country. Thoroughly enjoyed ourselves.
I wrote a book, called it Blue Moon.
It wasn’t great.
Actually, most of it was pretty dire:(
Never destined for publication I had enjoyed the writing of it. Then on a menopausal hiccough I took myself off to university in my late 40s, packed Blue Moon away in a box and got on with real life.
It never really went away, this story of the American detective. Kept poking me in the mind with a hiss of ‘hate this box’.
I got Blue Moon out one NaNo time and re-read it. Some bits were actually not bad. Some bits.
The world had changed since then, in so many ways. We had new technology, we had fought wars, leaders had come and gone, the culture had dramatically changed. I was vastly older and maybe a little wiser.
Was the story even worth resurrecting? I had by this time published the first three of The Sefuty Chronicles. Knew about at least having some knowledge of the subject of the book. New blades and handles were needed.
So I changed the following:
The hero was no longer to be a detective (what did I know about detecting-nothing) He was now a builder/property developer.
He and his friends no longer lived in the USA (I really couldn’t take any more research to update the American connection! Now he lives on the East coast of England, this is my patch.
All the names of the main characters have been changed.
Instead of four characters thoughts and speech there is only three, the heroine remains only as memories of three friends as they each recollect past events. No longer a linear narrative, each of the three friends have their own sections where they recollect and interpret. Involving gaps, back stories and misunderstandings.
There are still the harrowing events, the lies and deceptions, the cover ups. Must have those.
And still it is a story of love: between lovers, between friends, between adult and child, between people and their God and what devastation can occur when secrets are heard, when loyalties and love are tested to the limits.
See, still the old story, just needed a couple of new blades and handles. Wouldn’t change the story for a new one - no way:)