“Where does this come from?”

That’s the first question that publishers ask.They must know how it tortures a writer.

The Shoreline and the Sea comes many different sources. The kernel was certainly an accumulation of notes and observations, mostly descriptive, made during family holidays in France and Italy.

Gradually I realised that a new pulse was beating. The notes were taking on a different existence and becoming fictional.

The plot developed in a blind and staggering process which threw up surprising characters and incidents. Imagination and the language process wrestled with each other. Disparate fragments of information chimed with unexpected illumination.

All this was done in longhand, in the days before I started to use a computer. I reduced a 130,000 draft to 90,000 by pruning material that seemed to clog progress and understanding.

Publishers hummed and hahed. “They’re all cowards,” I was told. “It’s too eccentric for them.”

I shelved the typescript until self-publishing became easy and respectable, then we decided to produce a good-looking, signed limited edition of 200 for close acquaintances. This sold out rapidly, and the next move was into e-book.

Another paperback edition is likely.

Many readers have clamoured for another novel, so … who knows?