The Isis Knot is a story that, in one form or another, has lived in my head for nearly two decades. I wrote it once, and put it away because it clearly wasn’t right. About five years ago, I suddenly found another way to tell it, and started writing again.
In the meantime, however, I’d started writing at Public Address, and become completely spoiled with instant feedback. Writing for me had become a conversation, a collaborative process. Writing a novel now felt impossibly lonely. How could I know if what I was writing was any good, without a bunch of people unafraid to tell me?
This led to the birth of the Isis Knot Reading Group, to whom I owe profound thanks. Less regularly than I intended, they received chapters of the manuscript as I wrote it, and gave me feedback. Mostly this consisted of “That bit someone else just told you they loved? Cut that, I’m not buying it.” I got to see which characters they loved, which ones they hated, and how much those were the same characters. Without my beloved reading group, this story would never have been completed. Cheers, guys.
One of the reasons this story has taken so long to finish is the Isis Knot Curse, about which I am mostly joking. Every time I took this story off the back burner and started working on it again, terrible things happened. Sometimes, they were terrible things that happened to characters in the book. I was slightly concerned that if I ever finished it, I might die. This has so far failed to happen. Fingers crossed.
If you’ve ever been around a group like the Carter Club, some of these characters may resemble people you know. This isn’t so much coincidence as human nature.