Sunday, August 03, 2008

Guest Blogger Linwood Barclay

Our guest blogger this Sunday is the absolutely fabulous Linwood Barclay. His most recent novel, No Time for Goodbye, a Richard and Judy Summer Read pick, hit the London Sunday Times bestseller list at #5 on Sunday, June 29, and catapulted to the top of Amazon UK's bestseller list. It has sold over 500,000 copies in Germany alone.

He was for many years the humour columnist for the Toronto Star, Canada's largest circulation newspaper. I can attest that he's also a really nice guy.

Feel free to hate him.


Is there any better feeling for an author than when you finish writing a book? Okay, finding the book in a store is nice, but that's usually undercut when the place you find it is the back of the store, on the lowest shelf, spine out, and instead of being placed in "mystery" it's in "self-help" next to some bit of nonsense that says you can realize your full potential if you just look yourself in the mirror every night and say, "I LIKE you!"

I finished writing a novel last week. I shipped it off to my agent, who deemed it in good enough shape to send off to my U.S. and UK editors. And the really good news is, my editors are on holidays, so it could be several weeks before they actually have a chance to read the damn thing and find all the things that are wrong with it.
So now I'm in this wonderful little window where the book is done and there's nothing else I can do with it.

I like this feeling. It's like having a couple of cinder blocks lifted off your shoulders. Plus, it's nice not to be sitting in a computer chair for hours every day staring at a computer screen, checking your email every 79 seconds because you're very worried someone ELSE might be trying to perform some nefarious activity with your Scotiabank, PayPal, eBay, Wells Fargo Trust and God knows what other accounts, which is all the more unnerving because you didn't even know you had Scotiabank, PayPal, eBay and Wells Fargo Trust accounts. (Can I tell you something? I was typing this very quickly, and back there I had written "PapPal" account. I hate to think what that would be.)

Anyway, this book I just finished -- I started it the end of May, and it will come out in the fall of 2009 -- is tentatively titled "Not a Word," which also happens to the title of a book I wrote between January and April. The reason I was able to give the new book the same title as this other book is that the other book is never going to see the light of day. I'm told every author has one of these, eventually. It's not the the book was bad. It's just that the plot, the characters, the pacing, the setting, and pretty much everything else, were terrible. There were, however, remarkably few typos or spelling errors, which I think has to count for something.
When I realized the book was not what I had hoped it would be, I put it aside and dived into another, and I feel a lot better about this one. (My UK editor, noting I had written two books in seven months, said, "You see what you can get done when you just apply yourself?") But I don't want to start writing the next one until January or February.

So now that I'm finished, I have very big plans. I am going to mow the lawn. I'm looking out the window at it now. You should see it. All this rain, it's like a goddamn corn field out there. I expect to see Kevin Costner, figuring out where to put his baseball diamond, bumping into Mel Gibson, looking for aliens and crop circles.


Visit Linwood's website at


Sarita Leone said...

Enjoy your mowing! :)

Debby (Deborah Turrell) Atkinson said...

LOL! In our house, my writing frenzies lead to a very nasty refrigerator. Broken eggs turn to concrete under the drawer for fresh items. Yeah sure, fresh. Chunks of things...well, you don't want to know. But isn't getting your life back a grand feeling? Enjoy, and I'll be looking for the new book.

Hannah Dennison said...

I enjoyed your blog very much! I now feel a huge failure. You really wrote TWO books in 7 months??? sigh. What's your secret?