My second novel, Be Do Go Have, is now available. The Kindle version is live and on the Amazon site, and as we speak, the PDF files are on the system of a printers somewhere in the UK, being converted into printed paper and coloured card, ready to be shipped back to Ireland and sold as books. The digital version is done, the printed one will be here shortly. It is a relief.
The actual writing of the thing didn’t take that long – probably a year or a year and a half, all in, once I got going – but it is the editing, the typesetting, the cover design and finishing touches that are time-consuming. I am still learning how to do all of this, so the actual production is slower than it could be.
For my first book, I outsourced the typesetting and cover design to a graphic designer that I trusted, who did a good job and produced a cover that I was very happy with. This time, though, I was determined to learn how to do it myself. My designer gave me some lessons in Indesign and I set about trying to grasp the ins and outs of the programme. I have learned a tiny fraction of what Indesign can do, but it was enough to put together a rudimentary cover, part of which can be seen above. In another iteration it was more complicated and busy, but I have since simplified it, and am now quite happy with the result.
The book started one evening when I was reading a passage in a book about language by Stephen Pinker. As a language teacher, the part about the centrality in every language of the four verbs; Be, Do, Go and Have, caught my attention. And then my writing brain kicked in…..
“The verbs be, have, do and go are…… the most commonly used verbs in most languages and often pitch in as auxiliaries: “helper” verbs that are drained of their own meanings so that they may combine with other verbs to express tense and other grammatical information…. Many language scientists believe that the meanings of these verbs – existence, possession, action, motion – are at the core of the meanings of all verbs, if only metaphorically.”
The phrase “the core of the meaning of all verbs” immediately made me sit up. “Existence, possession, action, motion” kind of sums up what it means to be a human being. We are, we act, we have, we move. What else is there?
From there came the idea of a story to go with each verb. Four verbs, four stories, four characters, all told in the first person, their lives criss-crossing over and back, into and out of the other stories, attempting to form a tiny picture of what it is like to live on the planet Earth in the year 2018, with all of our being, doing, going, having.
So I started writing……..