After two wonderful weeks in Dorset during which I have spent most of my time outside walking and discovering yet more gorgeous hidden gems of this most beautiful of counties, I am back at my desk sorting out my "to do" lists (yes, there are several ones...).
I will post a few Dorset pictures on here soon.
Before I left, I did a bit of research for my third book, The Right Place, which will be set in Dorset. One of the background topics of the novel will be smuggling in the county, and I read that the best book about this subject is Roger Guttridge's Dorset Smugglers.
I hastened to find out more about this volume and discovered that it was out of print. What a disappointment. Then imagine my joy when on my last day in Dorset, I got my hand on a first edition at the Dorchester Curiosity Centre! What incredible luck indeed! I was feeling very depressed about leaving but this find definitively help me through the drive home...
It has absolutely everything you need to know about smuggling activity in the county!
I will soon know everything there is to know about smugglers in Dorset!
I am particularly interested in the area around Abbotsbury where I will set my book.
Isaac Gulliver, "King of Smugglers", is the inspiration behind one of my characters' ancestor! There is quite a bit about him in the book!
I cannot wait to get started properly on the book... First, there's novel number 2 to publish. I am on 3rd proofs now, nearly there!
Designer and typesetter Matt ArtPix has drawn a map of Whitemoor Hall, where the action of my second novel The Book of Thoth is set. He has used my own very badly done map of the estate (I used it to write the book as the characters move around the place quite a lot!).
Also, Dimitri, the 11-year-old boy who is one of the main characters of the book, is obsessively drawing a map of the house, so we thought it would be a nice touch to insert a map in the prelims.
I think it is rather cute and clearly shows the main elements featured in the story.
So the first proofs of The Book of Thoth are back with Matt ArtPix. I now have to wait for the corrections to be done to check them. Then we will need to finalise the cover and prepare the documents for the printers. We are still planing on sending the book to the printers in early October to have the copies of The Book of Thoth on time for our November events. I cannot wait to see the printed books.
I can now turn my attention to my third book, The Right Place.
For several reasons, I have decided against applying for an Arts Council Grant - which I probably wouldn't have obtained anyway, and will therefore have to finance the project myself.
I have done a draft publishing schedule for the book, but lack of funds might mean that this will have to be amended. As it stands, I am aiming for a pub date of November 2017 (!). This is the optimistic one, by the way...
I have given myself plenty of time to think, read and plan, with "proper writing" only supposed to start next summer - but I need to be in Dorset for that, so we will see how things pan out then.
Still, you can read the opening pages of the book HERE, written during the week-long Creative Lab: On Writing Fiction at Metal Southend. That's the first chapter done!
Having just finished Christopher Fowler's latest Bryant and May, The Bleeding Heart (thoroughly recommended!), I carry on with detective novels and will be starting The Red House Mystery today. This is A.A.Milne's only detective novel (he is best known for being the creator of Winnie-the-Pooh!).
I will be studying detective novels a little bit more over the next few years as I might venture into the genre for my fifth novel which will be a rural noir story set on Exmoor and featuring a detective called Barton Stacey!
But I have two more books to write before I get to this one...
People reading this blog regularly (if there's any?) know that one of my current musical obsessions is the unique cellist Jo Quail.
She has just released a bewitching new video, Adder Stone. This is what the soundtrack to my forthcoming novel The Book of Thoth would sound like, and it gives me goose bumps.
Jo is launching her new album, Caldera, with a very special evening at The Islington (in... Islington!) on June 28th. I will be there...
Today, I am sorting our my study and preparing to get started on Book 3, The Right Place. I will probably start on research and planning around mid-June, after I've finished sorting out a few admin issues... I am still thinking about the ways I could fund this release... I cannot wait to get started as it is set in one of my favourite places, Dorset... An excuse to spend more time in that wonderful county!
Unfortunately, I haven't been able to get permission to print the lyrics of PJ Harvey's The Wind in the book (nobody answers... probably not interested in a small imprint!) *sigh*.
Typesetting work on The Book of Thoth should start in June too...
I am absolutely thrilled to present to you the first in my interview series, "Book Talk".
And what a way to get started! an absolutely thrilling interview with the very talented Jordan Reyne, whose first novel, Remembering The Dead, is out now.
What began as a "Book talk" became something else altogether. Really, really interesting.
Subjectivity in the way we interpret history - very fitting with the current debate surrounding WW1 "celebrations" - as well as philosophy, music, the fluidity of language(s), writing, self-publishing, storytelling, surviving...
It's all in there and more.
Thank you Jordan for giving us such in-depth answers to my questions!
READ JORDAN REYNE: REMEMBERING THE DEAD
There is a review of I Am a Muse in issue 2 of V&OAK magazine, a new glossy independently put together in Colchester by a team of talented and hard-working people. V&OAK stands for "vintage and one of a kind".
I am very happy with the review, and it was a surprise to find out that the article took a whole page in the "Culture" section. The review does highlight the main topics in the book. It didn't start well, though, and I have a slight issue with the following sentence: [talking about Constance] "An elite events planner, her story begins along a similar vein to your typical chick-lit narrative of an independent woman stuck in a love triangle with two different yet disposable men."
WHAAAAT? "CHICK-LIT"? *Hits head on wall*.
Believe me, this is absolutely NOT chick-lit. I most certainly do not write for women but for everyone who loves reading. I do not tackle "women's issues", and at no point in my book do I say that the men are disposable! Constance is a single, working individual in London who has affairs, shares a house when she'd prefer not to, and tries to keep her head above water.
Constance is not an "elite events planner", but the manager of an arts and media centre inspired by the iconic Tea Building in Shoreditch where artists and start-ups hire space and units. She also runs a monthly club night inspired by the Vauxhall Pleasure Gardens.
But I "forgive" the reviewer, because the rest of the article is beautifully written and rather spot on (and she corrects herself about the chick-lit tag too in some way!).
OK, and seeing my picture rather big on there was a bit of a shock... You can see you're no longer in the fashion section!
My partner in crime Matt ArtPix also had a little feature in the magazine about his design work.
And both Arcane Publishing and Matt ArtPix advertised in the mag!
I think therefore I write.
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