by John Lanchester. Published by Faber and Faber, 2019.
We’re in Britain, in the near future – perhaps nearer than we think. And something has gone horribly wrong.
If, like me, you’re already a fan of the wonderful Bristolian novelist Jodi Taylor, you’ll get my reference to one of her St Mary’s Chronicles series. St Mary’s is a research institution where historians research historical events in contemporary time. Yes, they time-travel. Although as Jodi cheerfully admits, she has no idea how the time travel pods actually work.
Jodi is busy launching the ninth and latest in this series, An Argumentation of Historians, and together with her lovely publisher Hazel came up with the splendid idea of Prosecco and afternoon tea at Octavo’s Book Cafe in Cardiff. Jodi, bubbles and scones – what’s not to love? Continue reading “Just One Damned Bestseller After Another!”
I’ve come a long way from the Malverns to conduct a bloodbath. My home for this week is the The Court in the tiny village of Sheepwash, Devon. Lovely hosts Debbie and Wendy run Retreats for You in this beautiful sixteenth century townhouse, mainly for writers, but anyone in need of utter peace can enjoy their splendid hospitality and the deep rural peace here.
This blog is usually about my writing, or other authors I love. In case you’re steeling yourself for the crushing disappointment of not hearing about my latest publication, relax. There will be links to my new anthology at the end.
We writers tend to live in a fantasy world of our own creation much of the time. But at times in any writer’s life, reality doesn’t just intrude: it bangs open the door, shouts loudly to attract attention, and continues to be demanding and exhausting for as long as it can get away with. A bit like a teenager.
I’m really quite an organised person; or as my beloved suggests, I’ll do any form of prevarication to avoid actual writing. So I keep a detailed record – using fab writers’ tool Duotrope – of all my stories and their current whereabouts.
Now please don’t be picturing the bereft little creatures, dispatched shoeless and alone, doomed to wander forever in the big bad world.
I’m not that cruel, and I truly love every story I write (even if a surprising majority of publishers and competition judges don’t agree.) So I track each submission carefully, anxiously monitoring the progress of my small creations and weeping a little whenever they are rejected and sent back to Mummy unpublished. Continue reading “Poor little lost souls”
Those of you who already know and love the wonderful books of British author Jodi Taylor, including her St Mary’s Chronicles series, will recognise the cheekiness of my title for today’s blog. On Saturday I went to Octavo’s cafe in Cardiff with my lovely daughter-in-law (aspiring children’s author Ariana Carrano), to meet Jodi and hear about her books and writing. Continue reading “Just one (good) thing after another…”
A few weeks ago, I went to my local library in Cheddar on an innocent mission of research. I emerged having foolishly promised an enthusiastic volunteer that I would get involved with the upcoming Cheddar Arts Fringe Festival (CHAFF), taking place 29 April to 2 May in my part of Somerset, UK. Continue reading “A Moment of Madness”
Doesn’t look like much, does it? Just a muddy field in a farm on the edge of the northern Somerset Levels. You’d never guess that under these grassy clods lie the remains of a large second century Roman courtyard villa.
In 1998 metal detectorists found a hoard of over 9000 silver denarii in this field. That is a serious amount of money, folks, something like £250,000 in modern money. The coins had been buried in the corner of a small room inside the villa. No-one knows by whom, or why. (The hoard is now on show in the Museum of Somerset, in Taunton). At around the same time as the hoard was hidden, c. AD 225, the villa was totally demolished, possibly after a major fire. Continue reading “Changes of scene”
So here we are … Christmas has been and gone, and we’re looking 2016 firmly in the eye.
How about you – any life-changing body-morphing liver-mending resolves made? Fortunately for my liver, my appreciation of alcohol is correlated to quality rather than quantity these days. The Chief Medical Officer and I are so in alignment, with no effort on my part. Must be getting old. Continue reading “Beach Walks”
Our local library at Cheddar in Somerset, largely run by volunteers due to funding cuts, whistled up a wonderful surprise last week when the highly-regarded historical novelist Maria McCann came to talk to library-goers and fans. Maria’s novels have been picked by Richard and Judy, and short-listed for the Orange Prize.
Not only is Maria charming and candidly entertaining, she writes excellent polished and very well-researched novels. Continue reading “Cheddar library and meeting Maria McCann”