Roy Harper – why have I written two books? The story.
In a fit of creativity and great burst of obsessive zeal four years ago I sat down at my computer and wrote a book on Roy Harper. It took me three weeks – an explosion of words in a stream of consciousness.
I suppose I was imagining myself as Jack Kerouac with his long scroll of paper hammering out On The Road in one relentless gush.
First thought –best thought.
It wasn’t so much a book about Roy, although Roy was the theme; so much as the story of a fifty year friendship and two lives that ran down different tracks, in parallel.
I didn’t plan it or research it, I just wrote and it flowed.
I was part telling a story about Roy from my perspective, part talking about the times we lived through and part contrasting that with my life. I thought it gave perspective.
In a blind subjective haze I sent the book to Roy. He hated the writing but said that there was a good book in there.
I found that weird – but when I reread it with more objectivity I could see that it was far too dense and badly written. I’d just gushed it forth.
So, with my good lady Liz doing some great editing, I rewrote the whole book into a completely different style.
I’d nearly completed the rewrite and, on the spur of the moment, checked out whether a publisher would be interested. To my surprise I received an instant response. They liked the writing. They wanted a book on Roy.
However, they first wanted a book that fitted into the series they were putting out – On Track – every album, every track. They sent me a contract. I signed and found myself writing a completely different book – a book about Roy’s songs, albums and poetry.
Thus I ended up with two books on Roy!