It’s a strange feeling to come to the end of a novel after more than three years of sole custody. You don’t want to let your characters go – can hardly bear for them to confront the harsh, toxic world (or its indifference). And yet what else can you do? They’d grow weak and pale in your bottom drawer, starved of air, sunlight, nourishment. Like your children, they have their own lives to live.

No, I’m not exactly finished with Corvus. The last major rewrite of many frustrating rewrites is done, but there’s lots of careful editing still to tackle: correcting inconsistencies, tightening/slashing some sections, fine-tuning the sentences (how I love sentences!), rethinking the implications of an alternate world, subdividing some chapters, possibly re-ordering a couple of them. And then there’s the ending: oh god, the ending. Is it too short? too long? too sudden? too ambiguous? too symbolic? too trite? too too too?

So it will be a while yet before Corvus comes online, especially because next week I’m going into hospital for a week to have the torn tendon in my shoulder repaired – hefting all those weighty words, I like to say – and afterwards will be sporting some manner of splint for a fortnight. But the novel is there, almost as good as it’s ever going to get.

And no, it’s not good enough. I reckon it never is – just about the only thing I can say with certainty to have learned in the last six, almost seven, years since starting to write seriously.