Donna Gillespie's first book, "The Light Bearer" was published in 1994 after twelve years of research and writing. Her sequel, "Lady of the Light" was published twelve years later in November of 2006.
I have read 488 pages of the 1011 pages of her first novel. Suddenly, I have a different perspective on how long I should take to write a book: as long as it takes to get it right; as long as it takes to craft a story of such stunning beauty it breathes and moves, a living thing.
In "The Light Bearer", story, character, action, setting, and prose all flow through the mind as smoothly as a rippling river glinting in the sun. The time I give up for reading is valuable to me, and so I demand much of the books I read. I want to be entertained, inspired, informed, enlightened and changed by the experience. "The Light Bearer" has met my demands within the first half of the book to such a degree that I am confident the rest of the book will too.
Is twelve years too long to write one novel? Not if it results in a work as remarkable as Gillespie's, but time alone will not produce such a work. Reading Donna's biography, I see that education, training, and a passion for her subject also contributed to making her work exceptional. Not least of all, talent, that intangible but necessary trait that sets writers apart from imitators, is in no short supply with Gillespie.
In the forest of published books, Donna Gillespie's novels are landmark trees, setting a tall standard for anyone writing an historical novel.