Saturday, 14 November 2009

How to make a success of your print

I've started to present talks about How to make a success of your print.  I did it because if I got a £ for every time some one said to me they had a book inside them I'd be a very rich lady.   I talk about basically how and why you should write a book fictionalizing your life, and more importantly why you shouldn't.   You know, the should've, would've, could've of life that you can only live out on paper and not in reality because you either don't have the courage, the money or the time to do it in real life.  Or you might be put in jail if you do some of things you get your characters to do.    I've always found writing the wicked characters so much fun. They are interesting to write and entertaining to read. Elliott Sterling in my latest book is a real stinker but utterly fascinating and there's a geek called Digby losely based on someone I used to know when I worked at Warburgs many many years ago.   He had a smell about him and a permanent stain on his chair.

So far the talks have all gone very well.  I can immediately tell the ones in the audience who will write a book, who have the inspiration and passion to sit up in the middle of the night as I first did when I penned my first, and write.   I know when I got published people looked at me as if to say 'well if you can do it, I certainly can', but they still haven't.   Point is, as I explain in my talks, writing books is not about making money, wanting fame or taking revenge (if you write for any of those reasons it won't work as you'll make your heros so vile they will be un credible and your heroines so flawless you'll want to slap them) it's about passion. And it's strange how few of us have passion, real passion (not talking sexual passion here), these days...If you want to attend one of them, I'll let you know via the blog when I'm doing the next ones, which are in January in and around London.   

Saturday, 17 October 2009

The whisperers came to stay

October is not over yet.   There are two more weeks left.   I have been visited by a 70 something horse whispering cowboy and his third fiancee and a 30 something guide from Ecuador (voted the world's best - for 2009 at least).  None of them were ghosts but they sound that way don't they?   Echoes of my visits overseas coming back to haunt me at home, although the haunting was for the most part very pleasant.   They all thought England was wonderful which I suppose it is if you stay here for a few days only, as neither of them had to drive.   Their cultures in a way both curiously and strikingly out of place here.   The Cowboy wore a stetson and the South American talked in a whisper all the time, gently, passionately about his country.   They are all gone now and my son goes off to Thailand for two weeks as well so from having a full house for two weeks I am alone with computer and an action list of stuff that I meant to complete sometime in 2007.  I will miss him loads.   I am talking at the Richmond Book Now Festival on November 1st with three other authors.   I need to decide who is quote 'the most important author of all time, barring the Bard'.    Can I think of someone?  No.   Loved Keats as a teenager No one writes about misery like Keats.    Jane Austen I suppose because I've read all her books but feel personally aggrieved by this author as spent most of my twenties looking for Mr Darcey, in some sort of romantic stupor, and ended up with Hurriah Heep.   I suppose as I live in Richmond, it should be Virginia Woolf but I admit I'm a bit afraid of talking about that one.   Loved and still love Roald Dahl.   Dark, childish, deep and contemporary.   J G Ballard is another one who should get more recognition than he think he does.   Perhaps I should say Darwin as just back from the Galapagos.   Or perhaps it's a test. Perhaps it's like America's Next Top Model (I love that programme. It is so pretty and mindless). Perhaps I should say I am the most important author.   And then it's an excuse to talk about my books.  No.    I have two weeks left to decide and I am definitely not going to say Dickens.   

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Ecuador and Galapagos

I've just returned from an utterly fascinating trip to Ecuador and the Galapagos with Tom.    I was expecting a Noah's Ark of animals on the islands, but it's more prehistoric than anything else.  Every living thing looks as though it should be outsized in a Ray Harryhausen film.  The giant tortoises all had the expression of one who has seen too much of live, and at over 120 years old some of them probably have.   On the awesome mainland we climbed up and down and around volcanoes which our passionate and experienced guide Diego (one of the best in the world) advised us were still live and could erupt any moment.  None of them did.  I'm in two minds about recommending going to the islands.   They should be left untouched and abandoned.   They would do much better without us to watch or interfere. 

Saturday, 11 July 2009


I've spent the last ten years writing fictional novels and now turning my pen and time to something else, but the latest book THE CONTROL FREAK CHRONICLES will hit hard all the nerves THE PLAYGROUND MAFIA did three years ago.  Control freaks according to the psychologists I interviewed researching CFC, never accept they are, so no one should recognise themselves in this one. I was on Radio Four Woman's Hour last week chatting to Jenni Murray, and on Radio Five Live tonight talking about the book, and I've sent Gordon Brown a copy, just in case he throws a copy at Cameron during question time...