What I should be doing. And here's more about TK (aka Tania) Roxborough's trilogy which began with Banquo's Son (shortlisted for this year's NZ Post book awards but enjoyed by adults and children alike) - and will continue once her editing work on the second book is done.
Tania's advice is spot on.
This woman is a machine: teaching full-time, her own children at home to care for, and researching and writing flat out at night. And she manages to both get on with the writing and 'incubate' at the same time. At the moment, I spend far too much time 'incubating'; and quite frankly the trouble with a book 'pregnancy' is if it goes on too long people start to think it's a phantom.
So, inspired by Banquo's author and her heroic battle with the 11th century, I'm hurtling back into my children's novel today with a vengeance. It's not too far off being finished, but I do need to do a little more research on old lighthouses.
As luck would have it, I ran into an expert in old lighthouses at the Four Square the other day. As I paid for my toilet paper and Weetbix, I had an epiphany: the woman behind me in the queue is an artist who paints lighthouses and whose husband inspected them (or something like that.) I waited for her outside, and sidled up, supermarket bags rustling companionably.
Jacky told me her house is indeed stacked with archival photos and notes about lighthouses - she painted 40 of the classic NZ coastal lighthouses! - and she has some rather marvellous stories about them she hopes to put into a book one day. She told me two - about a blind lighthouse keeper and about an Indian princess who became a lighthouse keeper's wife - and said of course I could come and see her archives. Any time.
Trouble is, I wasn't able to get to get round there before Jacky went to Queenstown for the week. So my characters are still flying towards the lighthouse... and they don't know what they'll find there. Neither do I.