writing eyre affair

Back to Eyre Affair main page


This is my first published book although the fifth that I've actually written. I started this one first and finished it second from last. Writing is like that. Full of surprises and drama that excites no-one but me. It all began back in those Halcyon days of 1988 with two names and a notion scribbled with a pencil on the back of an envelope: Thursday Next and Bowden Cable and someone kidnaps Jane Eyre. Like many ideas of mine it grew and festered in my mind a little like the gunge that you find on refrigerator seals, waiting for the time when It would ripen sufficiently for me to give it life on paper. The first draft was a deadly serious screenplay written on an old typewriter. This ultimately became a short story on a 486 Toshiba running DOS and then lengthened into a serious attempt at a book. By 1993 I had 40,000 words, some of them in the right order - here the book stalled and I wrote another three before returning in 1997, finally arriving at a first draft by new year's day 1998, this time on an Apple Macintosh PB 190. The story spanned writing technology.

The action originally started as Thursday goes in to tackle Hades and was written initially in the third person - the 'retro telling' of chapter five is a direct consequence of translating third to first person and trying to keep the various parts of the story all running together without losing pace.

The original title of the book - you heard it here first - was 'The LiteraTecs', then 'Thursday Next' for a bit before the obvious choice popped into my head.

Why Jane Eyre?

Useful Tips Section - Why Jane Eyre? The most important thing about JE is that it is an excellent read, full of romance and fab characters and a burning building at the end - something that fitted in well with what I had planned. The other point about JE is that it is a very familiar piece of work - I think most people have a good idea that it is a romantic Victorian novel even if they haven't actually read it. It gave me problems too. I was stalled on the writing for about three years as I couldn't see how I could commit literary heresy and put words into Jane's mouth. I got round the problem by skirting it completely, coward that I am - I think I gave her only two lines - and short ones at that!

Thursday Next? What sort of a name is that?

My mother used to sometimes refer to 'next thursday' as 'Thursday Next' and I suppose this is where it comes from. As soon as I thought about it I knew it would be an excellent name for a heroine. Mysterious but intriguing, I am still trying to figure her out. She has a middle name beginning with 'E' but she won't tell me what it stands for.

What is a bowden cable and where can I buy one?

Bowden Cable. Another name that sounds sort of familiar and has a little jaunty 'doo-dee-doo-doo' sound that I like. (the same goes for Victor Analogy) In truth a 'bowden cable' is the sleeved wire that is used to control bicycle brakes. He's a bit of a geek and has a sense of humour so dry it has been designated an 'extremely arid place indeed' by the Goliath Geographic Services.

Acheron Hades

Acheron Hades. With a name like this you would have to be a thoroughly bad piece of work. Acheron is a tributary of the river Styx, across which you might be ferried on your way to the underworld. The thing I like about Acheron is that he is actually a bit crap and seems to enjoy playing at being a bad guy far more than he is at actually being one. With a name like Hades he had to be fairly demonic, although it's a puzzle to me why Thursday and Bowden never realise who he is.

Goliath and Jack Schitt

Jack Schitt and the Goliath Corporation came hand-in-hand. Who else but Jack Schitt would work for a company like Goliath? Schitt was always Schitt but Goliath started off as The ACME Corporation (of road runner fame) then became, in turn, The HUGE Corporation, The VAST Corporation, The Snargett Corporation until finally it clicked perfectly into place as Goliath. They own everything and do everything, Cots to coffins. The Goliath Corporation regard individuals as 'units' from whom they can eke a profit for three score years and ten....

Back to Eyre Affair main page