Thursday, 28 July 2011

Out of Office

This summer I've been out of office a lot. Every time the sun shows its face I'm there. Swimming trunks on, grabbing a towel and walking - or rather skipping - to the beach.

A borrower (I know they are called "customers" now, but I prefer the old-fashioned word) in the library complimented me on my tan and asked if I'd been on holiday. I told her I'd been on my local beach, to which she replied "You're a good advertisement for Hove!"

My normal "office hours" are between 9-12 in the morning before I go to work in the library, but I find it very hard to sit by my desk in my bedroom when the weather is so welcoming ...(You Brits moan that you haven't had any summer but I tell you that most mornings have been pretty sunny!).

I don't know about any laptops that actually work well in sunlight ... but luckily I can still operate a pen and a notepad, so I have done some work, sitting on the beach, in parks or in the garden.

As I'm between novels (just like other people are between jobs or between relationship or between homes or whatever) I find it extra hard to place my bum on that office chair ...

I'm still struggling with some of the ingredients of my new novel project, but by jotting down notes, writing random scenes and drawing diagrams and making mind-maps I think that I'll get a dough together eventually ...

On Saturday I'm off to Sweden for ten days. One part of me is praying for rain. Rain means serious writing. Another part of me is dancing the sun dance. Sun means lake swimming.

Monday, 18 July 2011

A New Season of Ace Stories

It feels like you "should" stay in on a Sunday night and prepare yourself for the week ahead, but by going out you make the weekend last longer, and Ace Stories (at Hotel Pelirocco, Brighton) is a great excuse to leave your cosy bedroom!

First up was the poet Mike Loveday. His extraordinary observations of everyday life made me smile. Especially the poem about what you might find in a lift.

Next author to take to the stage was Lizzie Enfield and she revealed that what motivated her to write What You Don't Know was that she saw one of her colleague's novels in a supermarket and thought I could do that!

Lizzie has a great sense of humour and read a couple of extracts from the novel, featuring a husband bordering on OCD behaviour and his wife mixing up his CD collection, shelving Radiohead under H ... (I do that to my brother!)

The headlining author for the evening was Jayne Joso who has written a very original novel called Perfect Architect. The widow of an architect challenges four other architects to build her the perfect house ...

Jayne was interviewed by the event director Jay Clifton before her reading, and it was fascinating to hear how the idea for the novel sprung from a non-fiction book about architecture that Jayne had ghostwritten.

Another interesting thing I found out was that Perfect Architect is actually the first novel Jayne wrote, but as she had difficulty finding a publisher at the time her second novel got published before the first ... (This has motivated me to crack on with my new novel idea!)

To finish the evening off Fire Eyes played some great folky rocky tunes.

Ace Stories now have a website and I'm very happy to be the event photographer! Check back later for more photos. (Also this post looks better if you view it in Firefox.)

PS. Ace Stories finishes at a sensible time (9pm ish) but I wasn't sensible enough to leave then ... But hanging out in the bar after is part of the fun, and I love to talk to writers and other artists about their work. Also it was nice that the audience were not only made up of writers. Among others I spoke to a psychologist and woman selling dresses.

Monday, 11 July 2011

Novel Ingredients

I have:
a setting

I don't have:
a structure
a voice

Can I still make a novel? Or will it be a bit like making a cake without sugar and butter ...?

Monday, 4 July 2011

Where the Book has No Name

Today I was interviewed by a Swedish radio station and they asked me about my new novel (UNDER THE LIP), but this novel in question is already starting to feel old to me...

I'm between novel relationships. I'm waiting for a publisher to take on UNDER THE LIP, and I've started a new project, but it's a bit like seeing a new man/woman when you're still clinging to your ex. (Which funnily enough has been my status in real life as well!)

So I find it very hard to fully give myself to this new novel project (that doesn't yet have a name) as any day my agent could email me with good news. But at least it feels like I'm making half-hearted love to this one idea now instead of sleeping around with different ones ... Yet it's far too early to label this affair, hence the "no name" ...