Isn’t it funny how time seems to move so slowly, and then suddenly speeds up? It’s about a year since I finished writing The Ruby Airship, but so much has happened during that time that it actually feels much longer.
A little over a year ago, my husband and I decided to change our lives forever. We put our flat in London up for sale and started looking for a house in Cumbria. The plan was to ditch our office-based day jobs and move north to open a second-hand bookshop in Penrith. In between we thought we’d take advantage of the fact that we’d be homeless for a while to do some travelling – but by then I also knew that I would need to finish The Ruby Airship before we moved into our new home.
Thus, the first draft of the book was written while we were staying on La Gomera, one of the smallest islands in the Canaries. It’s a beautiful, quiet place, with the extinct bowl of a volcano housing a rainforest in the centre, edged by jagged peaks that slope down to sandy, calm beaches around its edge.
Every morning I would get up just as the sun was about to tip the horizon, and I’d sit on the balcony that overlooked the ocean and work. My husband would get up a little later and go out walking in the mountains. I’d write until about lunchtime then join him for a walk myself. At the end of the six weeks that we were there, I had a finished manuscript and Adam had a fantastic tan (actually, so did I!). Then we came back and started our new lives.
The bookshop (Withnail Books) opened in July, and I worked on the second draft of The Ruby Airship surrounded by the Pennines. Maybe that’s why the landscape of the book is so mountainous – I wrote what was around me into Remy and Thaddeus’ new adventure!
I really hope readers enjoy The Ruby Airship. I had so much fun writing it, not just because of where I was as I worked, but because I do so love the characters.
It’s funny, but despite the fact I hadn’t written them for quite some time, Remy, Thaddeus and J came back to me very swiftly. It seems that their voices stay in my head even if I’m not writing down what they’re saying. They’ve all grown up a little – and they grow up even more over the course of this particular story. There are new characters for them to meet, new places for them to explore and new challenges for them to overcome – and I hope you have as much following them as their adventure unfolds as I did!