Because I’m currently on sabbatical from the University of Salford and because one of the things I’ve agreed to do is complete the first draft of a novel, I’m spending a little more time than normal on my writing. I’m up to three hours a day – about 3000 words and am spending another three hours a day on research. In November, I go up to 4 + 2 and then in December 5 + 1 etc.
My project is to do with the Holocaust and brings in three strands. The usual players are all there: the victims, the bystanders, the perpetrators (though I’ve not tried to get into their minds – and there’s a thought -maybe I should), the innocent and the resistant. During the rest of my working time I’m keeping the other balls in the air. In my leisure time even I happen to be reading a book with a Holocaust connection. I talk to my husband and he is a fascination to me: he is a second generation Holocaust victim and I’m finding out more about his family than he knew himself.
TV programmes like QI, good food and wine, and connections with all my friends keep me sane. But the rest of the time I’m back in the 1940s and really feeling the anguish on all sides (except the perpetrator’s, though I have watched Eichmann’s trial). I read the facts, find out what the settings were like and explore it all with my words. It takes quite a lot to drag me back to the 21st century.
When we write we become absorbed into the worlds we create, perhaps even more so than when we read.