Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Golfing for cats in the Third Reich


Just come back from sub tropical London where I was trying to be well behaved at a very posh party where we menial little writer types had to act grown up in front of publishers and ... err lots of other folk with job titles that give very little clue to what they actually do.

I was hiding in a corner, in a lovely garden with N J Cooper who was telling us about her own garden produce, the stream that runs through her garden, the cherry orchard, the homemade wine. Chris Simms was waxing lyrical about his perpetual spinach, Laura Wilson was chatting about the contents of her window box, I was moaning that I'd had to scrape my car that morning to get to the airport .... how Scotland still has it's winter moments .... the waitress came up offering white wine, red wine and mineral water ... we all took the mineral water and plumped for the vegetarian canapes ... As Ian Rankin once asked ... what has happened to all the rock n roll crime writers. Edgar Allen Poe was an alcoholic by the age of 9.

Had an interesting discussion on one of my favourite topics ... the cultural differences between us as we write and why we write what we write. The Icelandic author whose name I can pronounce (she gave me lessons) but I will not attempt to spell, said that Scotland and Iceland share the same landscape, the countryside around Inverness could be the view out her kitchen window. She thinks, as I do, that the cold and the bitter wind (the bitter, bitter wind ...) shapes our writing. We looked around the lovely English garden we were sitting in, full of sunlight and colour, our host offering her guests factor 15 sunblock, my companion and I sitting in the sun waiting for our skin to turn from blue to pink ...

Our French colleagues were telling us that in "England" (it was always England), books about dogs sell well. In France books about cats sell very well. And golf ... and anything to do with Hitler. From the bizarre conversation that followed, it was just as well we were sober! Golfing with cats ... instead of clubs one presumes.

I'm getting on with book five while the builders are absent with permission. Also thinking about running a marathon ... starting training today. I recovered from that quicker than I recovered from being charged £6.50 for a coffee, two slices of toast and a fried egg at Standsted airport!


Thursday, 7 April 2011

Hello all

Hi I definitely can't do this techno stuff. The last two blogs have disappeared into the ether or maybe appeared on somebody else's blog site, poor bugger. However book five has been started, strange thing - I promised myself a break after book four but book five jumped into my head and I had to start writing again. Walking about with serial killers and psychotic rottweillers in your head is not a good idea... much better to get it down on paper. The ugliest dog in the world, like many of us, has been watching the footage of rescue scenes from Japan, especially the search dogs sniffing their way through the rubble, looking for survivors. So when the ceiling fell in... in a classic Only Fools and Horses kind of way, with the poor builder underneath, the ugliest dog in the world leapt to the rescue... running up the stairs.. into a room that was snowy white with stoor... and began digging at the rubble... where she found the builder's packet of Hobnobs and made off with them. Ugly? Yes. Brave? Yes. Stupid.. No! But has no real sense of decorum. She would be the sort of person who would turn up at a stranger's funeral just to fill their plate at the buffet... and then go back for seconds. I've also been at the Radio Lab with BBC Radio Four which has been a very interesting experience. Lovely people; a Channel 4 journalist, theatre people, a poet, screen writers and yours truly. And what different skill sets. They were in awe of somebody who can write 130,000 words. I was in awe of those who can pinpoint a story... and tell it in 7,000 words. But one thing I did realise... novelists have a great capacity to lie instantly and convincingly. The last day of the Lab was spent in the studio recording, often taking 1 hr 30 minutes to get just 3 minutes of good stuff. The actors were very good, endless patience, amazing ability to say the same thing twenty times over without a hint of boredom... getting them to say urticaria ... and then say it in a broad Yorkshire accent. Just try it, it's not easy. Interesting language also, listening to the director and the studio crew and actors talk to each other... strange terminology. We are rumoured to be going back once the edit has been done for a chit chat and overhaul of our ideas. And going out for a pint after that! Should be more next week as my blog is now talking to me again. Caro