Call Me Big-Headed - by Susan Price
"In the Ghost World, beyond Iron Wood, lay all that was
left of the Northlands; and in that timeless Northlands' forest there is a gyrfalcon. It has been a gyrfalcon so long, it has almost forgotten that it was once a mortal baby, and then a shaman's apprentice and a shaman, and a Czar's black angel.
Ghost Dance by Susan PriceAnd that is the end of this story (says the cat).
If you thought it tasty, then serve it to others.If you thought it sour, sweeten it with your own telling.But whether you liked it, or liked it not, let it make itsown way back to me, riding on another's tongue."
This is from the ending of Ghost Dance, the third book in my Ghost World Sequence. I've just finished turning it into a paperback, so now all three books are available as paperbacks again.
I wrote these books a long time ago, and it's been a rather odd experience, going back to them.
When you first begin a book, and the idea is alight in your imagination, it's a wonderful, exciting time. New ideas and images spring into your head, seemingly unplanned, from some other place... They jostle and fight for attention, almost too many to get down on the page.
Then tying the images together and making the plot work becomes difficult and frustrating, a chore...
By the time you've finished rewriting it several times, you're sick of it. There are no longer any surprises in it for you. Passages that were meant to be beautiful seem merely mundane and dull. Surprising revelations are anything but - trite and well-worn. You lose all judgement about the thing.
With conventional publishing, the book may be taken away from you for several months - and then the proofs are suddenly sprung on you. With luck, this is rather cheering. The break from it has renewed your interest. You've forgotten some of the details, so it seems fresher. Your faith in it perks up a little.
By the time it makes it into the shops, you've usually moved on to some other fantastically shining, wonderful new idea, and you've done with the old book. If it gets reviewed well, that's rather nice - if it sells well, even better, because then you have some money to live on while you write - but you're really not that interested by then. Or so I've found.
But let twenty years go by... Then re-reading the book is like reading something written by someone else entirely. I was startled by Ghost Dance. The power of the occult scenes took me aback. I'd forgotten the chill of the descriptions of the dying Northlands. Did I really write this powerful book? - Well, that's my name on the title page.
Call me big-headed if you like. Maybe I am - but I'm being honest about the experience of re-reading this book, which I wrote a long time ago. I suppose it's one advantage of growing older.