The Iron Bird

By Robert Woodshaw

A novel that takes the premise of ANIMAL FARM and applies it to the life of Margaret Thatcher.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Some Exciting News

In the mood for some exciting news about THE IRON BIRD? Hope so. First of all, though, can I just apologise for the absence of more frequent author updates? True, as the novel progresses towards publication, I’ve been keeping a low profile. But all that is about to change. More in a moment.

In the meantime, though, can I just say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported this project – and in particular to supporters I haven’t been able to contact personally:

Michelle Ayling, Stefano Benti, Tim Cashmore, Mark Cooper, Jessica Duchan, Chris Golightly, Carol Hellyer, Simon Jay, Ross Kessell, James Kingston, Elizabeth Li, John Lomax, Anna Luz, Catherine McIntyre, Jane MacKenzie, Elizabeth Malaiperuman, Simon Miller, Carlo Navato, Louise Reid, Allan Samuelson, Richard Todd and Arnold Williams.

And so what’s been going on over recent months? Well, as you’re probably aware from Unbound’s updates, THE IRON BIRD has been through the editorial process and arrived at pre-production.

There are two phases to the editorial side of things: the developmental edit and copy edit. I guess it’s a bit like building a house. The developmental edit is the joists and rafters of a novel: the characters, the setting, the arc of the narrative. Whereas the copy edit is the interior design: the shape of individual sentences, the choice of one word rather than another.

I was so pleased to be allocated a developmental editor at the top of his game: a chap called Craig Taylor, who lectures in editing at Oxford Brookes. I must admit, though, I wasn’t sure what to expect. In fact, I’d imagined the process would largely consist of cutting. However, in practice, I guess I must have added six or seven pages to the manuscript – not a continuous piece of prose, but a paragraph here, a couple of sentences there, sharpening up the contours of the novel and giving some aspects a little more fullness. What would Craig make of it? I wasn’t sure, so I was over the moon when he got back to me to say that for the first time in his career he had no edits to give. Fantastic!

The novel was then whooshed across to my copy editor, Mary Chesshyre. I suppose it must have passed between us three or four times as we fine-tuned the prose. I remember I was conscious that this was my last chance to get the writing as good as possible, and so I suspect I might have made more than the usual number of edits, but even so, I was hugely impressed by Mary’s patience and attention to detail. And delighted when she said that she thought it read “magnificently” – great!

The manuscript is now being typeset – a process that I guess might be a little more complicated than usual as the novel contains some rather peculiar typesetting challenges, such a letter signed by a jaguar.

And so what’s this exciting news, then? Well, at long last THE IRON BIRD has been allocated a publication date: 24 January 2019 – less than three months. Not long at all, considering the novel took over a decade to write. What does a publication date mean? Well, it’s where everything steps up a gear. You see, a lot is going to be happening over the winter months: an 89-page website launch, a cover reveal, a blog tour… And so please expect to hear from me more often as this rather unusual bird limbers up for her maiden flight.

Until the next time, then. Thank you.


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