Charlotte's Web

Blogging my world since 2006

From There to Here


Anyone remember The Cool White Room of Peace? I was there this week. Lying there, with someone drilling inside my head, specks of spit hitting me in the face, the numb slug of my tongue in my mouth, I had some time to reflect.

When I wrote that post in 2006, it was right at the start of my writing journey. I was just starting to find my feet as a blogger, starting to peek out from behind the wall of fear at the possibility that I might start writing something out of the images in my head and the rage in my heart. It took another eighteen months, but in January 2008, with the awareness that at the end of the year I would turn 40 and the feeling that if I didn’t start then I never would and I would one day die angry and bitter, I started a novel.

It was very bitty. I had no idea where I was going. I wrote my way in, draft after draft after ever-loving draft. Cheerleaders read my chapters, saying encouraging things. Friends leapt out of the internet to read my drafts and make suggestions. There were highs and some horrible lows. It started out as literary fiction and turned into crime. First person became third. An entirely new character presented herself to me as I drove my family home from Berlin and she became my main character. I killed darlings. I erased characters. I murdered words.

Around draft six, my agent Michaela phoned me to say she loved the book and wanted to represent me.

Around draft fourteen, my publisher Else offered a contract to publish Balthasar’s Gift in German. She titled it Balthasars Vermaechtnis and translated it herself with loving attention to detail and to the accuracy of words and meaning.

July 17 is publication day. Sometime between now and then, I will hold a book that I have written myself in my very own hands.

It has been a long hard road from the cool white room of peace to this. But every detour, every dead end, every hard shoulder presented a chance for me to become a better writer. I am grateful for them all.


Author: charlotteotter

Novelist, feminist, crime writer

8 thoughts on “From There to Here

  1. How wonderful is this!!!!! Well done – I’ll get the cake in, and maybe something sinful to drink – can’t have you celebrating on your own. I’ll raise a glass from across the sea.

  2. Such a story of determination, to encourage us other unpublished authors to keep going, redrafting and redrafting, until a thoroughly publishable work emerges. Charlotte, you so deserve great success 🙂

  3. Congratulations! If every visit to the dentist is as fruitful, you should maybe go there more often 😉 ?

  4. I am so happy for you, Charlotte! If I could read a word of German I would have already pre-ordered the book. I may buy it anyway. I so hope it eventually comes out in English because I am jealous of everyone who will be able to read it. Congratulations on the publication of your book!

  5. Congratulations! Very happy for you.
    I look forward to reading it.

  6. Sometimes we do not follow our dreams to the end because of all the stones in the way. You manage inspite of them. You have the amazing ability to wander your path alone, all the while allowing company to occasionally drop in for a long cup of tea and talk. It has been a great joy for me to drink a few serious pots of tea with you on this journey of yours. Thank you for the privilege.

  7. Congratulations Charlotte. You have worked tirelessly; you have given your whole self to this wonderful work – I can’t wait to read it. A success that is much-deserved.

  8. Ohhhhhh!!! I’ve made a timid return back to blogging to find THIS!! Brought tears to my eyes! WOOT! Congratulations, you inspiring creature 🙂 x

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