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Shadowheart presented an interesting task. Life background was that I was single and not happy about it; and getting bored with my job and losing motivation as a result. There was also the small matter of the Japan World Cup which was a diversion I let become too big for too long. This was the first writing year (February to November 2002 to be exact) when I turned my thoughts seriously to how to extricate myself from the office life.

As in earlier bibliography entries, I’m not looking for sympathy but there’s no doubt that the attritional effects of holding down a busy job and writing 160,000 words while trying to have a life, were making themselves felt. Mainly in the areas of occasional fatigue and an unwillingness to write in the evenings because of the need to relax. It added up to a disjointed approach to writing Shadowheart.

Fortunately, I was aware of the potential issues this raised and instead spent those times when I couldn’t face the PC noting new scenes, and planning further ahead than usual in the cause of ensuring continuity. It worked and actually, writing Shadowheart was a joy. I loved the pace and the action of the book and found my characters, already very familiar, helping me out; providing answers, developing tensions and doing those things that come so naturally to them…

Where the system fell down was in the editorial detail. My editor, Simon Spanton, must have been tearing his hair out with the small typos and sometimes clumsy sentencing that came as a result of not having the time before deadline to read and clean as thoroughly as I wanted to (not at the end of the process, nor throughout the year). Still, I think he forgave me and I was, and remain, delighted with the result.

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