Nicola Vincent-Abnett

Nicola Vincent-Abnett
"Savant" for Solaris, Wild's End, Further Associates of Sherlock Holms, more Wild's End

Wednesday 6 June 2012

The Longest Apprenticeship in the World

I have been watching the husband for a very long time. In fact, we met thirty years ago this year, which, when you think about it is a very, very long time.

The husband began writing, and I mean seriously writing, long before I did. He’s written and published over forty novels and he’s been a New York Times bestseller in three categories and he’s hit the Nielsen. There is much to admire.
I don’t believe that anyone can teach a writer to write, but proximity to a writer does teach all sorts of other things, and my proximity is very close.
Today, I have the very great pleasure of running edits for the husband’s latest novel, “Pariah”. It is the first book in the third Inquisitor trilogy, “The Bequin Trilogy”, so book seven in a series of nine. If you haven’t read them already, I would urge you to seek out “The Eisenhorn Trilogy” and “The Ravenor Trilogy”; you won’t be disappointed.
As a writer, reading is invaluable. All writers should read widely, but how many writers have the fun of being editors and the privilege of seeing the work in its raw state? It’s an education, I can tell you. I don’t know how many books I’ve edited over the years, but being the husband’s first editor got me other jobs, and I’ve been privy to any number of writers’ work.
It’s all grist to the mill, for a writer, and it’s good discipline, but it isn’t the whole story.
Living with a writer who has established a career over a couple of decades has shown me much more than how to arrange words on a page.
I watch the husband work hard to do better, to do work that is fresh and new, to hone his craft, to please an audience. I watch the husband work under pressure of deadlines, putting in long hours while maintaining a standard. I watch the husband research any number of subjects on any number of levels, from a quick wiki check to reading a hefty reference book from cover to cover. I watch the husband weighing weapons in his hands, and clearing a room so that he can choreograph a fight sequence. I watch him pacing. I watch him making notes or flitting off to find something in the middle of what is supposed to be down-time.
The husband is very good at what he does... very, very good.
What’s more, he’s a very good example of how to go about being a serious, professional writer. For that matter, he’s a very good example of how to go about being a serious, professional anything.
Today, I set my own writing aside to work on “Pariah”, and it will probably be the most fun I have all week. I wouldn’t do it for anyone else, because, somewhere along the way, the husband helped me to learn that I could write to. 
It’s been a long apprenticeship, perhaps the longest in history, but I wouldn’t change it for anything.

1 comment:

  1. this isn't so much for Nik, as it is for everyone else ... *RANT ALERT*

    "If you haven’t read them already, I would urge you to seek out “The Eisenhorn Trilogy” and “The Ravenor Trilogy”; you won’t be disappointed."

    "The husband is very good at what he does... very, very good."

    this isn't just "he's my hubby, I have to say stuff like this" ... he really is very, very, VERY good, and so are the above mentioned trilogies.

    now that's out of the way ... a 'brief' history.

    at one stage I was dreadfully behind. if memory serves, around the time I first read a Dan Abnett novel I was only just getting into the Black Library stuff. someone had lent me William King's "Space Wolf" and Sandy Mitchell's "For The Emporer" (and between both fine novels, I never looked back). I'd since moved on to the first three Horus Heresy novels, and I was mighty impressed so I decided to delve further.

    someone at the local GW store recommended some of his other stuff, but it looked like a lot of books (thankfully there was an omnibus or five). once I'd read the first book, I was in a damn hurry to catch up. unfortunately I was also in the first year of my return to university and had myself on a short leash (when it comes to novels I'm very much the great devourer).

    five omnibi and a few Heresy novels later I'm even more of a fan. not to mention I've since read much from his esteemed company, messieurs Dembski-Bowden, Sanders, Kyme, Thorpe, Lee, Swallow, McNeill, and Counter.

    somewhere along the line I even decided that maybe I could string a few sentences that people would pay for. all in all it has been most inspirational. plus, it's how I ended up here in the first place :D

    that said, I will be suffering until there's a few more Gaunt's Ghosts (plug, plug) novels (enough for an omnibus maybe?) and the next two novels in the new trilogy (again, the omnibus).

    Mr. Abnett is proof that good, no, great things take time, but are most certainly worth waiting for!

    (not unlike Triumff which is only two days away from being devoured ... plug, plug, plug!)