Wednesday, 17 November 2010
I visited two schools, Isambard Community School and Greendown Community School, and talked to three groups of students about my books, reading, and writing generally. I was impressed by the enthusiasm I met, both for reading and writing. Isambard particularly seems to have a keen group of talented and motivated writers. I hope they get together and spark off each other. Writers don't have to work in isolation, sharing work and writing concerns with others can really help. I've been writing for more than twenty years and at each stage of my career, I've benefited from being in touch with other writers, both friends I've made through having a common interest and through the Scattered Authors' Society.
I hope the Swindon Festival continues and that its success inspires other places to follow its example. It is a wonderful way, not just to celebrate reading, but to encourage writers, too.
Tuesday, 9 November 2010
By coincidence, the librarian remembered me from a visit I made to a school in nearby Crowborough. It was the early 1990's and I had not long been published. I had been invited to the school as part of the Conan Doyle Festival (I wrote thrillers then). I felt very honoured to be invited but it was my first school visit and I had no idea what to do. I was terrified, but luckily there were other writers there to calm me down and proffer suitable advice and encouragement. I've done hundreds of visits since then but I'll never forget that first trip to Crowborough!
Monday, 23 August 2010
Monday, 5 July 2010
I went from there to Rimini in Italy. I had been invited to a Festival and was looking forward to a few days in the Italian sun. It rained (it did not rain in Yorkshire), but the festival was well worth the trip. It was run and organised almost entirely by teenagers. I was looked after by the wonderful Cristina who spoke excellent English and sorted everything out for me. A big audience turned out to hear me talk about Sovay, published in Italy as La ragazza con le pistole, despite a spectacular thunderstorm.
The day after I arrived back in England, I went to Kingston-on-Thames for an event with my friend, Mary Hooper, and another Bloomsbury writer, Lucy Jago. We were in the Rose Theatre talking about historical novels. Mary has just had her novel Fallen Grace published and Lucy's novel, Montecute house came out in April.
I ended the week at Haberdashers' School in Monmouth, taking part in a whole week's activities, centred around the life of Charles Rolls (of Rolls Royce fame). his family lived just outside Monmouth and this year is the centenary of his death. On Friday afternoon we were entertained to an Edwardian tea on the lawn - an excellent way to end the week!
Sunday, 23 May 2010
A lot of my friends are artists. I admire and envy their facility. Art attracts me enormously, but I have no skill. I could blame being badly taught, or left handedness, but I have never been able to draw or paint or take a half way decent photograph.
Nevertheless, I feel a great affinity to visual artists and feel that we have lot in common. Our ways of expression may be different, but I can identify with their single mindedness, their interest in certain images, symbols and motifs that they will return to again and again to the point of obsession. They see things that the rest of us miss and look differently. I always feel I can learn a lot from them and that we are just dipping from a different stretch of the great and mysterious stream that is creativity.
For details of the Exhibition go to:
Saturday, 1 May 2010
Sunday, May 2nd
There's rosemary, that's for remembrance
Today is her birthday. She loved Shakespeare. She named me for Celia in As You Like It and introduced me to his plays through his flowers, his songs and his verse that she could quote from memory. People ask where do ideas come from - I don't know, but sometimes I think that that come from a very deep place indeed.
Sunday, 25 April 2010
Monday, 12 April 2010
Tuesday, 6 April 2010
Rhiana Reads at http://rhiana-reads.blogspot.com/ This is an excellent site, with loads of reviews, comments and recommended reads. My fellow writer, Kath Langrish, has also posted a review and interview on her site Seven Miles of Steel Thistles http://steelthistles.blogspot.com/ . I'd like to thank these two and all the other bloggers who take the time and trouble to read and review books and share their opinions with others. It seems to me that this is the way to keep reading dynamic and vibrant. It means that readers can find books that they might otherwise miss, as well as getting the chance to say what they think. It is good for writers, too. We all want our work to be recognised. There is nothing worse than having a book published and for there to be absolutely no reaction. Now, thanks to the internet, that doesn't have to happen.
Thursday, 1 April 2010
Friday, 19 February 2010
I often buy books now via the Internet, from Amazon or Abebooks, but I was in Hay-on-Wye the other day and re-descovered the joy of browsing. The last time I was in Hay was for the Festival and the town looked very different from those heady days in May. The Festival field was just that, a muddy field, and there weren't many tourists about, but the bookshops were still there, still open, and I really enjoyed spending a few hours just looking, picking up books, attracted by the cover, the subject matter, discovering books that I knew nothing about, but found interesting.
Today, I went to the library. I went in for one thing and came out an hour later with an armful of books that I had not planned to read but which sparked my interest and took my attention. The internet is great - if you know what you want - but you still can't beat a real bookshop, or a library, for those random discoveries that will set off a new idea or introduce you to a writer you did not know before. And Hay has better ice cream!
Monday, 1 February 2010
Thank you to all the people who have offered me advice about blogging. Clearly, there are some people out there who read this. I've taken a break from it, partly because I was really busy getting Fool's Girl ready for publication, but I'm hoping to keep the blog up to date from now on!