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Sunday, 26 February 2012

Interview with Jane Turley

Gosh it's been busy for a while - forgot to mention that Jane Turley interviewed me earlier in Feb for her blog.

Here's a short extract ...

Unlike a self-service checkout at Tescos, the publishers don’t tend to have a "call if you need assistance" button. My tip would be to find a person within the publishing company that you think may suit your book, ring them and tell them you have an unexpected item in the packing area.

Read the full (somewhat strange!) interview here where we talk of Julian Barnes, washing your hair, Life of Pi, homework, crying, rejection, whips & clotted cream.

Photo credit: placbo  ( This is a scan of my brain as I answered Jane's questions.)

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Book Addicts: Wigmore Book Group

'We're investigating things - have you any idea why a raven is like a writing desk?"

Had a fun evening last Thursday at Book Addicts: a book group at Wigmore library in Luton.  The Ascent of Isaac Steward was on the menu together with tea, coffee and biscuits - writing is so rock 'n' roll !

It was the first time I've been invited to a book group and enjoyed answering questions like, Did I hate Punch & Judy? How can a lawnmower made out of cakes work? Have you any idea why a raven is like a writing desk?

Was surprised that it is the only evening bookgroup in Luton -  on the radar anyway. With a population of around 240 thousand in the area you'd think they'd be quite a few.  Perhaps they're all meeting in secret in the woods reading Lewis Carroll books.

Picture credit: Caroline

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Get Writing 2012: there's no longer time to get a Coke

Had a wonderful day at the Verulam Writers' Circle's Get Writing 2012 conference on Saturday based in the setting of The University of Hertfordshire's impressive de Havilland Campus. Arrived just in time to be on a panel on Non-Fiction which was the first time I'd ever done that sort of thing and great fun.  I was sat next to author Adrian Magson and we exchanged a few, what do we do now glances but it seemed to go okay!

I also ran a workshop on A Writer's Guide to Blogging which was packed out - enjoyed kicking it off with some adverts letting people know there was still time to grab a coke - see video above - and to turn off their mobiles - anyway as Ian Cundell (the chair of the Verulam Writers' Circle) twittered, it was downright trippy!

Best of all was meeting people and putting faces to virtual friends like Jonathan Pinnock who's on my The View From Here team: he kindly signed his book Mrs Darcy versus the Aliens  with a rather wonderful signature with a huge tentacle squirming out of it.

Also enjoyed listening to the keynote session by Barry Cunningham (who first signed J.K. Rowling to Bloomsbury and worked with Roald Dahl and Spike Milligan) Many interesting insights into Roald Dahl (grumpy) and JK who Bloomsbury advised to get a job as her Harry Potter was never going to earn her a living.

Finally a couple of shoutouts: Karen Roy for navigation to the event via Poland, John Cowton  and the comedy mic on the panel - up a bit, no down, down, that's it, is this thing on?

Monday, 6 February 2012

Shh There be Writers

Last Friday night was the first meeting of The Luton Writers at the cafe in The Hat Factory in Luton.  And a real eye opener.

I'd prepared by scattering muffin and biscuit crumbs to make a trail into the Hat Factory to try and lure some writers from their habitat out into the open and it paid off - we weren't sure if there were many writers in the area at all but one by one they filled in and packed out the cafe ( aka The Kitchen ) with 20 people flitting between the tables and moving the chairs into a nesting area. 

Over plenty of coffee (which should be compulsory for any writers group ) we kicked off the group and everyone introduced themselves whilst glancing around for predators.

I found the whole evening fascinating and there was a real buzz about it, which may have been because I was high on coffee but as writing can be such a lonely profession a real treat.

Now the trick is to not scare people off - writer types can be nervous and often retreat to their nests if spooked or at sudden noises. 

We'll be meeting on the first Friday of each month ( apart from April )  and start at 8 PM - tickets can be bought from the box office at the Library.

Photo credit: John Wesley Barker