For Banquo's Son, I relied heavily on the babes to critque my work. For Bloodlines, I still had the babes but I also had a lot of input from my agent, Josh Getzler, and my publisher. This time, I've kind of kept Birthright close to my chest. My original editor/publisher has moved to another house and I'm working with someone newish for me (she was editor for Bloodlines and was FANTASTIC).
But, I needed fresh eyes so I bribed my eldest (who wants to launch Birthright). I'm her mother. She's mean to me because, well, I'm her mother. And, she's a damn fine reader.
'Fold the washing, will ya?' I say.
'Aww, Mum, it's the holidays.'
About five mins later. 'Can you just read this to see if it's, you know, crap or okay?'
Cue twinkle in her eye complete with spock like raised eyebrow. 'Is it the washing or the book?'
What a stupid question. 'The book!' I say. (BTW, she still folded the washing of her own accord!)
She reads. I watch her as she: frowns, types furiously, nods, frowns some more, sighs, frowns and types again. 'Okay. There's what I think of the first chapter.'
As I expected, her comments were astute and exactly what I needed. But, I needed more. 'Is it any good?' I plead.
She sighs. 'Yes Mum. Now stop procrastinating and deal to the issues.'
Issues promptly dealt with, I sidle up to her while she is sprawled on her bed watching a documentary series about evolution. In my arms is my lap top; chapter two on the screen. 'Again, please?'
'okay. This will be finished in ten minutes.'
I place my lap top between the cat and her teddies and retreat back to the living room, mindful that I have promised Josh a look at the first part but am too insecure to send him anything. I read a bit. Chew my nails. Eat. Have a cuppa tea. Eventually I get a call from down the hallway. 'Mum. I'm done.'
I go to her room, retrieve the computer and head back to the living room. Thank goddness! Less yellow highlights. I fix and I am pleased with my fixing. Twice I go to her for clarification and twice I go back knowing she's spot on.
But, I can't send Josh only two chapters. So I beg her to read the third.
No reluctance this time. By the time I've made her a cup of tea, she's finished and nodding sternly. 'Very good. Very, very good.'
I push her (actually literally I do - I am so mean) out of the seat and deal to her yellow highlights and then send to Josh.
During this 48 hour period there has been some very high dramas in our family but we are a tight unit. I didn't manage to get her to look at Chapter four before she skived off to spend the evening with her boy.
That will be her reward in the morning. I will do her washing and her chores so long as she does what's she been doing - a fantastic job patting her dear old mother on the back and saying: you did good. Now, finish the damn book!