Over the past couple of months I have been doing a series of edits on a novel I wrote back in 2006/7 called Rainbow’s End. In a nutshell its a first-person narrative about a young Welsh guy who works in a factory but dreams of becoming a writer. Eventually he escapes the constraints of valley life and moves to the city, only to face a whole new set of challenges.
The main theme is the perennial search for happiness, fulfilment and enlightenment everyone faces. That’s why we’re all playing this game, right? To some extent we are all looking for the big pay-off, that elusive pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, hence the title. Everyone is looking for something. Rainbow’s End is a more literary affair than most of my other published work, containing a healthy dose of youthful angst and a liberal sprinkling of social and cultural observation. It’s a big departure from my usual style of splatter punk horror fiction.
The edits took longer than expected because, frankly, there were a lot of them. Before the editing process, the book just wasn’t good enough. When I wrote it I was still living the student lifestyle in shared accommodation in Southampton, having just graduated from university. I was struggling to make ends meet as a freelance writer, whilst pulling pints at the local football club for extra cash. When I read Rainbow’s End in the cold light of day six years later those days seem so far away, almost like a dream. I am having problems relating to it. Maybe because it’s a book written by a young man. I’m not the same person I was six years ago, now I see the world through different eyes.
One of the main problems I have with it is the lead character. He comes across as being selfish, immature, irresponsible, a little arrogant at times, and just not very nice. Plus, he has issues with authority and commitment and frankly, isn’t very smart. In short, the guy is a dick. I dislike him intensely. And its not only me. One editor, who rejected the manuscript several years ago, said she did so because in her opinion nobody would relate to, or even like, the main character. That really hit home. It hit home because, in case you hadn’t guessed, that character is me.
Not only is Rainbow’s End the story of a prick, its also very personal. Even though it will be marketed as ‘fiction,’ most of the things in the book really happened. Mostly to me, but also involving people around me. Real people with real lives. I made sure I changed the names so nobody can sue me. I have to protect the innocent, as well as the guilty. But when certain people read it, IF certain people read it, they will recognize themselves or somebody they know, or some situation they once found themselves in with a guy called Chris Saunders. Or C.M. Saunders. Or Christian, Moony, Angel, Welshy, Boyo, or one of the other names I have become known by in various circles over the years.
Editing process complete, Rainbow’s End is now approximately 100% better than it was six years, or even six months ago. The cover, drawn by a graphic artist commissioned by the publisher, is almost complete, and the manuscript is going through final changes.
The dilemma I now face is whether or not to go ahead and publish it or not. If I decide not to it could be problematic, as I’ve already signed a contract with the publisher. I tell myself I’ve worked too hard on it to let all that work go to waste. But man, I’m nervous. I always get nervous before a book comes out, the way a boxer must feel before a fight, I imagine. But this is different, in every sense of the word. My horror fiction does quite well these days, but with this book I’ll be hitting an entirely different market, a market that has never heard of me before. It’s like starting all over again with no support network. I’m telling my story and laying myself bare.