Today, 2nd September 2016, would have been Gramps’ 91st birthday. Apart from wishing the old fellow well, I thought it would be an auspicious occasion to update this long neglected blog, and let you all know what is going on with the Cypress Branches project.
I suspect many of you thought the project had been quietly forgotten and Part Three of the trilogy would never see the light of day. After the best part of three years of no news, I wouldn’t blame you for thinking that.
Although not much has happened over that period, that doesn’t mean that completion of the project has been forgotten. Far from it. The past 36 months have been a hectic period in my life. While I can’t deny that losing both William and his wife Sheila in such quick succession didn’t put the brakes on the project, I can assure you that The Cypress Branches has been in my thoughts almost constantly, and although nothing has been written, edited, posted or published, that doesn’t mean that the project has been abandoned. It’s merely been on hold, and never far from my mind.
As many of you know, It Never Was You, Part Two of the trilogy, was published in early 2013, shortly after the death of William’s wife, and my grandmother, Sheila. Given the timing, the launch was a quiet affair. I had planned to re-launch it a year later with the fanfare it deserved, but then William himself finally lost his battle with Alzheimer’s and passed away in February 2014.
Losing both so suddenly knocked the family for six. We were all grieving, and it just didn’t feel right to continue working on the project.
During that time, I had also moved into a new house and started a new job in a brand new industry. Having taken time to settle in to both, I then managed to secure a major promotion within a year of starting my new job, and then began a major construction project to extend the house. Whilst the roof was being taken off at home, I was back in the classroom studying rules, regulations and procedures for my new role. The chaos continued with me having to juggle months of on the job training with a seemingly never ending list decorating tasks at home!
All through this, the Cypress Branches has never been far from my thoughts, and I have been itching to get back to work and finally get Book Three published.
Now, in September 2016, with the extension finally finished, and with me nicely settled into a job I thoroughly enjoy, I am finally able to commit serious time and effort to that end. Earlier this week, I put together an action plan that, barring any major mishaps, should see Book Three not only gain a title, but also be printed and published in the first half of next year.
I know that sounds like a long way off. Indeed it will be a full four years after the publication of It Never Was You, and the last thing many of you want to do is wait even longer. Although I do have a date in mind, I’m very reluctant to nail my colours to the mast at this stage and announce it. After all, the past three years have taught me not to bite off more than I can chew! There is a lot of work to do before you can all finally find out what happens to Harry, Lesley and Mary.
So what happens next?
Firstly, I need to crack on with copy-editing the manuscript. At 460 formatted pages, 24 chapters plus an epilogue, it is a much larger tome than the previous two books. This is going to take some time. I’m planning on tackling it in small chunks – firing up the computer and editing for at least 1 hour every day, with much more being done on rest days.
Once the copy-edit is complete, I will put together a beta-reader’s copy and send it out to a selection of readers and ask for feedback. Whilst they’re devouring the book, I’ll be designing the cover and re-designing the website to incorporate a more coherent brand around the Cypress Branches theme.
Once I get the feedback from the beta-readers, I’ll make the necessary changes to the manuscript then format it ready for final proofreading and printing.
Pegasus Falling and It Never Was You will also be re-launched at the same time as Book Three’s publication, so they’ll need sprucing up too – although Pegasus Falling is already sporting a fancy new cover. All being well, I’m hoping to organise a launch party to celebrate William and his work – something for family and friends to look forward to.
So, having just finished two huge and challenging projects, I’m catapulting myself into yet another one. Honestly, I can’t wait to get started! In fact, I’ll be starting to copy-edit Chapter One as soon as I sign off this post.
I can’t promise the next six months or so will be plain sailing, or if my highly ambitious schedule for publication will give me enough time to get it done, but I do promise you this: I WILL be posting updates on progress on this here blog, and I WILL get the trilogy finished!
So, happy birthday, Gramps. Here’s to having a new book to unwrap on your 92nd.
Happy reading, everyone!