Phil Grimm's Progress is off for its final edit, with Phil Owens. Unless I hit unforeseen snags, I'll publish it - in ebook form - by the end of April. We'll see about print.
It started last summer, a week after returning from a camper van trip with J to Holland and Denmark. I often have wakeful periods in the middle of the night. Those periods began to fill with ideas for a story - in mythic form. I'd recently re-read Parzival and the Stone from Heaven, and I pictured a spiritual seeker with little self-knowledge, on a quest to discover himself.
I'd read lots of nonfiction about Taoism, Buddhism, Advaita Vedanta and non-dualism more generally, but I'd never come across a modern allegorical approach. In my less humble moments, I imagined penning a cross between Parzival, Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, The Tao of Pooh and Sophie's World. My aim was a fictional work that illuminated, entertaining along the way.
The book wrote itself over the next seven weeks, although it was only just over 50k words in that first draft. Realising I had no idea how to write a book, let alone get one published, I turned to professional help from Alice Peck. Because she's such a pleasure to work with, Alice is very busy. I paused for a while for her to come free and tear into my manuscript. In the meantime, I gave it to a few patient early readers.
By Christmas, the draft was back in my hands, along with feedback from Alice and the first readers. After a few weeks' work, the second draft went out to a next round of helpful guinea pigs. The discussions with them raised three significant points:
"Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you enjoy the play?"
So, a major re-write occupied and entertained me for another four or five weeks. Then I tucked into an involved round of self-editing - reapplying the "rules" that Alice had taught me. The book expanded to just over 80k words.
Then, when I learned that Phil helped one of my favourite new sci-fi authors, Ian Sainsbury, I contacted him for the finishing touches.
There you have it, the story of Phil Grimm's conception and impending birth. Watch this space for updates and launch announcement!