Yesterday I started the edits for The Jerusalem Puzzle.
I received two pages of notes from my editor at Harper Collins in London on Monday. Her comments included many compliments “powerful – expertly brought to life,” which are encouraging, but I won’t go on any more about, and suggestions for three extra scenes.
The first will be where Sean explains in detail why he wants to go to Jerusalem. The second will be where Henry’s involvement is expanded. The final one, at the end, will be where discussions take place about what happened in Jerusalem.
There are also notes from HC on each page of the manuscript, which need to be considered. This is all about 6 weeks work, editing maybe 2-3 hrs a day. After this we will have something truly interesting for you for January release.
Thank you for staying with me on this journey.
If you would like to follow a series of posts on fiction writing for the 21st century sign up for updates on the right.
There will be one post a month on the progress of The Jerusalem Puzzle towards launch next January and one post a month on writing craft issues. Here is the first post on writing:
The image below is of the Italian hardback edition of The Istanbul Puzzle, which is all over Italy at the moment. It was launched June 21st. If you know anyone in Italy please tell them it is available there. Thanks.
I delivered The Jerusalem Puzzle to Harper Collins in London last Monday, by email. I had finished it the previous Thursday. I spent most of last weekend doing one final edit.
That was a hundred page a day edit. The kind of edit that drains something from you as you go on and on and on for endless hours each day.
But I did it. And I’m glad I did it. There were logical errors, which you see better when reading through a novel fast.
I fixed an issue in the middle about the dig in the old city of Jerusalem, which they visit in the novel, and I changed a big part of the ending too.
I spent about a year on The Jerusalem Puzzle from concept to fourth draft. I expect Harper Collins will come back in July with a series of suggestions as to how to tighten it up. These I will address during July and August. There may be more editorial suggestions in September too and then some copy editing changes in October, perhaps twice, and that will be it, I hope.
I am pleased with how The Jerusalem Puzzle turned out.
It may even be better than The Istanbul Puzzle! The Jerusalem Puzzle will be released January 17, 2013. It should be available in other languages after that. The Istanbul Puzzle is being translated into 9 languages.
I hope you enjoy The Jerusalem Puzzle when it comes out. I enjoyed creating it. If you would like to pre-order it from Amazon click here.
And I greatly appreciate every comment and kind word and recommendation you give for it.
I will be submitting an outline for The New York Puzzle to Harper Collins in the next 10 days. Once that is agreed I will start writing The New York Puzzle.
Below is a photo of the Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem, which I took earlier this year. This is the main entrance to the city from the west. It features in a few scenes in The Jerusalem Puzzle.
Written February 2012
I am spending time in the old city of Jerusalem. If I stay here any longer I’ll probably have to apply for a resident’s permit. And as I am staying in East Jerusalem that may be tricky.
My reason for being here, aside from the welcome sun, is to research the next stage of Sean and Isabel’s adventures. If you read The Istanbul Puzzle you’ll probably know that there are a few questions at the end still hanging.
The Jerusalem Puzzle will move the story forward and answer some key questions.
As part of my research in old Jerusalem, where the book is mainly set, I have spent a lot of time in the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the legendary site of Jesus’ crucifiction, his tomb and the burial place of Adam’s skull, according to some 2nd century sources. Whatever your beliefs, this place is an extraordinary building, a mix of mainly Crusader and 19th century, Armenian, Catholic and Orthodoxy all rolled into one. This was the place a lot of people died for before the crusades, during the crusades, and ever afterwards. Richard the Lion Heart and Saladin fought over this place and almost every other Empire since has had plans to capture it.
Here is what the entrance to the legendary tomb of Jesus looks like now (click each image to see it in all its glory):
This church is the most important place of pilgrimage in the Christian world. Bar none.
What I found though, at the end of my last visit, was a less than spiritual place. I had queued to get in to the small chapel where Jesus’ tomb is supposed to be with cries of “hurry, hurry, we are closing,” echoing in my ears. I’d visited where Mary, Mother of Jesus fell into an eternal sleep (legend says), on Mount Zion the day before and I was lucky that I went down into that underground tomb with the sound of a Polish group singing hymns echoing in my ears. That place was spiritual.
Much of the rest of the old city is a heady mix of the Arab souk, with plastic toys and wooden crosses for tourists, and a wedge of Abercrombie and coffee shop Westerness pushing up close to the city from the Jewish and modern western side.
To me Jerusalem is where three great faiths, Christianity, the Jewish faith and Islam all overlap with their bits fraying.
The Islamic faith is well represented here in the famous Golden Dome and mosques and the regular call to prayer filling the air.
The Jewish faith is evident in the devotion at the Western Wall, the Orthodox faithful almost everywhere, and through the joy of young men being escorted with drums and horns through the crowds.
The Christian faith is evident in the extraordinary churches and the pilgrims from all parts of the Christian world walking the Via Dolorosa carrying crosses and following the legendary route of Jesus to his death.
This city is an ancient fraying tapestry of faith and colour, tradition and prayer, belief and culture, the old and the modern mixed and interwoven.
I know there are many things in serious dispute here, but I hope to God compassion comes into play for a unique people and a unique place when this city’s future is decided.
The Jerusalem Puzzle, my next novel, will take readers to the heart of Jerusalem. It will expose some of the very real puzzles that are at the core of this truly amazing city. I hope you’ll like it as much as you liked The Istanbul Puzzle.