I have finished the first major revision of Tony Abbott and the Times of Revolution. I’ve added two more chapters to the first draft. Shortly I will begin my second intense revision using the two editing programs Grammarly and ProWritingAid, both of which I can recommend. It will take another six weeks to bring the manuscript to publishing stage. I will be looking for a publisher.
Tony Abbott and the Times of Revolution
When I decided to write a book about the fall of the Abbott Government, I feared I might have bitten off more than I could chew.
My specialty – to the extent I have one – is philosophy, specifically political philosophy. My Master’s thesis was on Edmund Burke. Although I follow politics fairly closely, I am more interested in the ideological motivations and clashes than the day to day political activity. My mind concentrates on the logic and consistency of a politician’s ideas and the implementation of those ideas in the concrete circumstances.
What always appealed to me about Tony Abbott was the philosophical depth and consistency of his thought, qualities few people appreciate. The caricature manufactured by the leftist media has dominated the political discourse. I wanted to show that his demise was due more to the unrelenting attacks by his ideological enemies (including those in his party undermining him) than to his record and the policy program he was pursuing. His program was a solid conservative program, economically and socially. The appalling ideological pig-ignorance of the President of the AMA was just one illustration of what he had to deal with.
The problem I thought might be my lack of knowledge of the detail necessary to my analysis. Nevertheless, I decided to go ahead to see how far I could get.
As I proceeded with my preparation, I saw that I had underestimated the reading necessary for the background I had planned to sketch. The prelude to Abbott’s political career was the 1960s and his time as a student politician in the second half of the 1970s. After much reading and making pages of notes, I sat down to write.
I discovered as I wrote I had to do still more reading if I was to succeed in establishing those critical influences that made Abbott what he is as a political player. I had reached around 25,000 words when it occurred to me that Abbott’s time as a student politician was a story in itself – a fascinating story. I split the project into two books. Back to my reading and research.
Months passed while I amassed more than 300 pages of notes. When I went back to my writing, I made good progress. I have a clear schedule now, the result of a strict ordering of the notes. I hoped I could catch up on the deadline I had set myself which was March this year for the first draft.
I’m happy to say that I am steaming ahead, reaching 95,000 words as of today (3 Feb). I probably won’t achieve the end of March deadline, but it won’t be much beyond that. Stay tuned. I am sure many will find Tony Abbott the student politician as fascinating as I have.
Until now I have not felt the need to place my fiction writing into any particular genre, happy to let the novels speak for themselves. I adopted this attitude even though the three novels I have written fit into the genre of the Catholic novel.
I did not want to put any limitation on them. I was convinced that the stories’ framework would not inhibit the interest of the discerning reader. I was right about this. A number of readers said that the Catholic characters and circumstances did not prevent them from liking the novel.
I have changed my mind and think it best that I ‘come out’, so to speak.
First, I don’t see myself writing as anything other than a novel in the genre. I have two novels planned, one already at 45,000 words, and they will be in this market. There is no point in hiding the fact. Indeed, it will link me to that market.
Second, there has been such a polarisation in Australian society that I feel I must make an explicit stand on where we are heading. The issues of ‘same-sex’ marriage, the Safe Schools program, and euthanasia are just a few of the issues that have, and will continue to polarise Australian society.
Third, in coming out, I would like to promote the market and encourage readers and writers to have a closer a look at the novels and novelists in the genre of the Catholic novel. To this end, I will make comments and provide links to writers and their works.
What does the genre of the Catholic novel entail? I have devoted a page to explaining what is it and who are its foremost proponents.
Caroline Chisholm Library’s Catholic Reading Club invited me to attend their March 31 meeting as the author of the month’s featured novel, In This Vale of Tears. I was delighted that my book had been chosen for discussion and equally delighted to attend the meeting. I was a little nervous, though, because I had not experienced this sort of literary ‘examination’ before. It would be embarrassing if nobody much liked my book!
I am aware that the themes of my novel and its Catholic setting are not to everyone’s liking.* But one may think I would be safe with the people in a Catholic Reading Club. Regretfully, it does not work that way. The paradox is that the members of a Catholic Reading Club are likely to be more discerning about a story of women in a female religious order than the general reader. Continue reading In This Vale of Tears featured novel for reading club
I was thrilled to be informed that the Catholic Book Club has chosen one of my novels – In This Vale of Tears – for one of their early meetings in 2017. I also received an invitation to be present at the meeting to discuss my book.
The news and invitation came at a good time because I had recently begun a revision of The Castle of Heavenly Bliss for a 2017 paperback edition. The Castle of Heavenly Bliss is the first book in my Winterbine Trilogy. In This Vale of Tears is the second book.
I was around two-thirds of the way through the revision of The Castle of Heavenly Bliss, but switched to In This Vale of Tears because of the news and invitation. I have completed the revision and uploaded the new ebook version to Smashwords. I have completed the preparation for the CreateSpace paperback edition, except for the cover. I am having a new cover designed. That should be ready in a few weeks at the latest. I am hoping that the new paperback edition will be available before Christmas.
Without changing the story, I have extensively revised In This Vale of Tears for the 2017 ebook and paperback editions. I have trimmed the text and corrected faults of style and language as pointed out by a number of readers who were otherwise generous in their comments. I have also made additions to the story to bring it into line with The Castle of Heavenly Bliss and to clarify the linkages and themes of the story. I am confident the revised edition presents a far more gripping and polished story.