My current book is a novel about the rise and fall of a secret cult in twelfth-century Paris. It has some weird characters, lots of nastiness and some poignant moments but, to let you into a secret, I have realised in recent weeks that, because this is my first full-length work of fiction, there has been a gap in my understanding: I didn't know what the book was really about. I had amassed copious notes, plans and draft text but I have only just figured what it should all add up to. I am sure that many writers start with that knowledge and then get on with the job but for me it has taken time which is a shame because, until you have a handle on that, it is almost impossible to get going -- a bit like trying to tell a joke when you are not sure of the punch line! I hope have it sorted now, though, so watch this space.