Jules currently has six manuscripts to her name. I wish there were more (the ideas are there). After so many years, she’s still amazed there’s even one when, long ago, she faced making a choice between three ‘life options’. Having dabbled with one potential novel, these included trying her hand at writing for a year. This was quickly dismissed and she determinedly set out in a very different direction - only to find less than two years later that the people and experiences of that course of action formed the foundation to her starting to write.
Julianna and the Unicorn was her fifth manuscript in as many months, but the first to translate her thoughts into fiction. It was written at an incredible chapter a day – and in concurrence with creating The Gryphon Said. This was followed, less than a year later by Seven Stars for Seven Suns – that took almost two years to write. A little over a year after that ‘Julianna’ found itself becoming a trilogy with Love’s Lies Woven – Weft and Warped. That took around a decade to be completed!
There are many interesting stories about and around these three manuscripts. Typically, they’re rarely referred to or talked about even though they are of the essence of the ‘magicks and miracles’ at the heart of the trilogy.
This essence wasn’t carried through to Jules’ following manuscripts – unless it’s in part in the writing of them. ‘Creative Writing Classes’ and her wouldn’t make a good combination! There’s no fun, no challenge, no interest in plotting and planning and structuring anything – poem, lyric or manuscript. To read her work is to read her experience of writing it. When she writes she (all but exceptionally rarely) has no idea of what is happening at the time, let alone to happen next. In her manuscripts, the events arrive as a surprise and the characters arrive as much as strangers to her as to any reader. When she does have a firm idea? This is usually found changed in an instant. She just sits down and writes and writes – and seldom reads back.
I find this extraordinary – particularly in view of that her manuscripts can be complex and convoluted and she leaves so little in the way of notes to remind or help her self bring everything together. This, from a selectively forgetful woman who has to make lists – and lists of lists – for daily life. A woman who has to leave a big note on the computer keyboard to remind her to do the banking the next morning – and often doesn’t see it as she moves it aside!
Writing as she does has played a large part in the reluctance behind her efforts for any of her manuscripts to be published, even when those efforts have actually been many and varied and full on. Jules really doesn’t want to see or be part of the sabotage of a truly creative process – either by her hand or that of an editor to make her work ‘acceptable’ or ‘marketable’.
One of the conditions to her agreement to make her work available through Thoughts Above Clouds was that it appears ‘as is’ – so none of it will appeal to anyone with set ideas of the perfect book or maybe even a good or average one. The manuscripts are in the main first draft so have spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. They can occasionally be repetitive and go off on an irrelevant tangent or merely go on and on. They can sometimes be a little contradictory and frustrating. In ‘Jules’-speak’, they are exactly like life and people – and what’s to be found in them is what we allow ourselves to find. They have a beginning and an end, and the middle is an amble around the garden path.
Thoughts Above Clouds is not only a very real portal to the greatest body of my wife’s work, her manuscripts, but also to what is a mystery to many of us – the spontaneous creative process with all its flaws and errors. Extracts of each manuscript can be viewed on the site but, for those interested, Jules has agreed to make each manuscript available in full as an e-book in pdf format and eventually in kindle format. - To Enquire