By now I was already well into Book C. My editor wanted us to work closely on this one, and so right form the start I sent her chapters and a synopsis and told her my ideas. Again, this was to be a story set partly in India and partly in Guyana. I loved the Guyana parts; it let me relive some of my own childhood, and I had fun creating the character of Rita, who was a lot more like me than any of the characters from Of Marriageable Age. In fact, the following passage – taken from a review on my website – is an episode straight out of my own life (yes, I also had no “attributes” to speak of!)
One day — and this is the day I don’t believe I will ever forget, Rita goes on for a man hunt, though that she would never admit — even should her feet soles been burnt and her hair pulled. What girls don’t hesitate to do when they want to attract attention! Devil had it, in the celestial form of her sister, that in the least appropriate moment, the green sponges come into view… Green sponges? If you don’t see it already, poor Rita didn’t have any… attributes to speak of, and thus the sponges, green as they were. No end to embarrassment! Sitting in the darkness of the cinema afterwards, the miserable creature saw the world twirling in tears, the silver screen filled with green sponges, shame the only feeling, nothing but death ahead. Didn’t you have a moment like this, when you wanted to fall under the ground, when without any mathematical training with insane certainty you grasped, absorbed the full meaning of infinity? “
I felt I was now a real author. I didn’t have a contract for Book C yet, but I was confident of getting one, as I was in such close collaberation with my editor, and the horrible beast on my shoulder “Will I get published” had vanished.
The downside was that I felt a different kind of pressure: the pressure to live up to Of Marriageable Age. “Everybody’s watching you for the second novel”, both my agent and editor told me. They want to see if you can do it again, or if you;re a one-shot wonder. If you can do it again, your career is solidified. Otherwise….
But I knew I could do it again. I was born to tell stories, and this one came as easily as did the first.