‘But is it commercial?’ you ask yourself. ‘Is it what agents and editors are looking for at the moment? Can you imagine the marketing? There are plenty of soul-searching questions you can ask before you commit yourself to tens of thousands of words.
Don’t go there. Markets move fast. Faster than you can write. Faster than your finished novel can be produced. Publishing is one of the most unpredictable of the creative industries. If you’re beginning to wish you could paint well instead, consider my own story and what it has to say about writing the book you want to write – or read, because you’ll be doing just that, over and over again as you edit and polish.
One of the most frequent questions I am asked about my novel, Perception, is why I chose to write a sequel to Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice. While it is tempting to say, ‘because I am mad’, or something far wittier, I usually plump for the truth. I simply had to write the story.