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  • Writer's pictureLilac Mills

On the creation of Summer on the Turquoise Coast

(UPDATE - This book was originally called Elephant and Pinky Moon has been retitled "Summer on the Turquoise Coast" - but no matter what it's called, it's still the same great story).

Writing Elephant and Pinky Moon hasn't been easy for me. Not because of the story-line, or the subject matter, or writer's block, or anything like that. Oh no, this hardship has been purely self-inflicted, because I set myself a ridiculous publication deadline. Ridiculous for me that is, because I have a full-time job. Once the story was in my head, I had to get it down on paper (no surprise there, you're thinking, that's what writers do - write things down, so what's your problem?). My issue was that Elephant and Pinky Moon is most definitely a beach read - though please believe me when I say that it can be read at any other time of the year! So I wanted to release it in the summer, at the end of July to be exact, to coincide when many Brits go on holiday, (school holidays, you know). Bearing in mind I made this ridiculous decision at the start of June, so only giving myself a bare month to write it and another month to do the editing, I'd set myself a herculean task. Of course, there was nothing stopping me taking my time writing it, maybe doing a foray into Christmas-ville to write a festive story in between Elephant and Pinky Moon chapters, then releasing this book early next summer. That would have been the sensible option. Yeah, right... No one could ever accuse me of being sensible! The rest of the month found me trying to write 80,000 words in four weeks whilst holding down a full-time job, and with a family who wanted my attention (how selfish of them!). I also had to eat and sleep, which was a bit of an inconvenience, to be honest. June found me in the toilet roll aisle of my local supermarket, typing frantically on my phone, trying to finish a chapter while the idea was still hot. I was there for nearly half an hour and I'm surprised I didn't get thrown out for loitering, or something. June also saw me sitting in the bath with my laptop perched precariously on the edge (who said I can't multitask?). And June also saw me sobbing into my morning coffee when I saw I was late for work - AGAIN! I wrote at any and every opportunity, seizing precious minutes like a miner grabs gold, and when I wasn't physically writing, I was playing scenes in my head, silently working out dialogue and arguing with Flossie (Flossie became disturbingly real there for a while...) June didn't see me outside enjoying the remarkably hot and sunny weather we had in the UK, and I was indoors so much that I'm whiter than a snowy day in January. Friends started to ask me if I was unwell! And I probably had bags down to my ankles from all the waking up in the middle of the night too. I was a mess (yeah I know, don't say it!). The first half of July had me printing the darned thing out (I was swearing at it by this point, convinced it was out to sabotage my life), and walking around with a wad of paper in one hand and a red pen in the other, scribbling indecipherable notes in margins, crossing words out, and putting arrows and circles everywhere. But eventually it came together and the vague idea I had at the start of the summer developed into a fully-fledged novel, with a front cover and everything! Looking back, would I do it like that again? Hell, yeah!

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