Friday, 19 February 2010

Books and Ice Cream

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

It's always hard to decide when it is time for a new book to be 'out there'. In the old days, it was easy. A book 'came out', when it came out, but now, with web sites, internet, Amazon, etc. a book has a life long before it hits the book shops (those that are left). So, this is my new book, The Fool's Girl. Its official publication date is 5th April. It is based on Shakespeare's play, Twelfth Night, but is not a straight re-working. Rather, it is about what could have happened after the play ended and how Shakespeare might have got to hear the story. He is, in fact, a character in the novel. I normally avoid having real people in my books, especially any as famous as Mr WS, but rules are there to be broken, especially rules about writing. Once I saw him as Joseph Fiennes in Shakespeare in Love, not the bald bloke in the Folio engraving, I found him much easier to write about.

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!