Elaine Forrestal


My historical fiction based on the life of Clara Saunders has now gone off to the publisher and I have just started developing a new idea. I still don’t know whether this idea will keep on growing until it eventually becomes a novel. But each day I work on it and that seems to lead me further and further into the story. I am beginning to care about the characters and look forward to seeing, and hearing them each morning. Already I am up to Chapter 7 and I know there is still a long way to go and a lot more for me to discover about these characters. But unlike Clara’s story, which still doesn’t really have a title, although I have sent it off as Life Blood which is the closest I’ve come so far, this new story already has a name! Almost from the beginning I labelled it Parallel.

Writing is such an intuitive art that I very often find myself having to work around missing bits. Not just missing titles. I often have to wait for characters, or some crucial piece of dialogue, to reveal itself so I go back over my work dozens of times during the re-writing and editing stages. Titles are especially tricky. I am very rarely comfortable with the first attempt. Every one of my finished ‘Book’ files has a separate document labelled ‘Alternative titles’. Some of these include seven or eight titles that I have considered, but discarded. I can’t delete them, however, because  the editor and the publisher, the designer and the marketing department are all likely to have an opinion about it. I can never be absolutely certain that they won’t come back to me asking for other suggestions. Sometimes they have good suggestions of their own.

Then the discussions begin …