Two weeks before your book comes out is a strange time for doubt; or perhaps it isn't. Maybe there's a natural tendency to worry about whether anyone will buy it; and then whether they'll read it. And then of course there is the worrying about whether anyone will like it. But strangely that's not the kind of doubt I'm on about.

You see a couple of days ago I bought some books - not an unusual thing. Well I have started reading one of them - Robert Harris's Munich. Now I like Harris's work. I read Conclave just a few weeks ago and enjoyed it immensely. But this is something different. You see I'm reading Munich and starting to question why I am even trying to write.

Now I'm not saying this is the best book in the world EVER. For one thing I'm only five chapters in so it's far too early to judge and, being honest, it's unlikely to beat the books I rate at the top of my personal list - Foucault's Pendulum, Dune and Midnight's Children will take some beating. But there is something incredible about Harris's prose. It's so effortless. It just sweeps you up and takes you along for a wonderful ride.

I'm jealous of ability like this. I've figured out how to stumble through to the end of a novel and tell a story. I even think I've been improving at every stage of the process the more I've done it. But somehow I don't think I would ever be as good as Robert Harris; or Stephen King; or Magnus Mills; or Umberto Eco; or Salman Rushdie. I could go on.

I'm going to keep trying though.


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