A bad case of PBS…. by Kate Furnivall
Night sweats. Lethargy. A strange emptiness that can only be filled by consuming mountains of pasta. A restless ache and voices in my head. I need help. (Well, sympathy anyway!) To be exact, I am suffering from a severe case of PBS. That’s otherwise known as Post Book Syndrome.
There, I’ve admitted it. That’s the first step towards recovery, they tell me. The sickness struck hard and fast the moment I clicked on the Send button and felt the edited manuscript of The Betrayal tear itself loose from my heart. I’ve lived, loved, laughed and cried with my characters for the best part of a year. Often I’ve spat nails at them. Gone to bed with them. Even died with them. But now they don’t give a toss. They don’t need me anymore. They are off and running with indecent haste, like a puppy chasing a new pair of ankles, into the outstretched arms of my publisher. Not a backward glance. All I saw was dust and an empty screen, as I smiled through gritted teeth.
So what now?
Post Book Syndrome afflicts all authors, though for some odd reason it tends to be talked about only in whispers. It is acutely painful, let me tell you, and needs instant medication or it can easily slide into Post Book Blues – which I’m told can be fatal. But don’t worry because I have found the antidote. I intend to bottle it and distribute it to all authors.
“What? What?” you are asking.
The cure is this – Venice. Venice? (We’re not talking Venice, Florida here.) Yes, that’s right, Venice, Italy. That’s where I am now as I write this, chilling out on the Rialto, sipping a bellini (Venice is where the divine bellini cocktail was created) and gazing out at gondolas and water-buses broad-siding each other on the Grand Canal, as ferocious as taxis in rush-hour Trafalgar Square. But prettier.
Venice is so stunningly, breathtakingly, heart-breakingly beautiful and yet so infused with thrilling tales of murder and mayhem throughout history that already my head has abandoned the cobbled streets of Paris in The Betrayal and is buzzing again. That dainty lacy bridge over there is perfect for a romantic rendezvous that ends in tears. I can see a knife-fight in the shadows of that sinister little alley. And look at those mossy steps down to the swirling black water, that’s where my heroine could … Enough! Venice is a city built on secrets.
As we speak, I am filling bottles with water from its canals to gift to all authors. Marie Curie discovered x-rays. Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin. Kate Furnivall discovered the cure for PBS.
I am thinking Nobel Prize.