Sunday, 13 April 2014

The solitude of writing. Please send Prince Charming...

Writing.  It isn't just another word for sitting alone in a room making paper unicorns, staring out of the window and wondering what's for dinner you know.  It's a Real Thing.  And, increasingly, it's a real thing that demands quiet, contemplation, chocolate and Being Left Alone sometimes for quite dramatically long periods of time.

Not like centuries or anything, because being shut in a room alone for centuries would make me...well, Sleeping Beauty or Rapunzel.  I am neither of those things.  Although, I suppose my house could be mistaken for Sleeping Beauty's castle, what with all the undergrowth outside and the things growing up the walls (I have a fern growing in my kitchen.  Not in a pot or anything, just In. My. Kitchen. And the places you can find mushrooms?  Not limited to the fridge. All I am saying).  But any Prince Charming attempting to scale the walls and wake me with a kiss...well, I think he would swiftly abseil back down again, shuddering, and kiss his horse in preference.  In fact, therapy would probably be necessary... "I went in there and...and...no, it's too horrible..haven't you got any dolls I could use to show you?"

"Like this, but lying down!  The horror, the horror..."

So, no.  But I can spend long periods of time doing nothing but staring at a keyboard, muttering.  Actually, I'm not really muttering, it's my mouth practicing for the next biscuit, but it's always more impressive if people think you are rehearsing dialogue in your head.

I used to be able to write in a room full of people.  Obviously those people had to be engaged in other activities, not rushing up and poking me to see how far away they could get before I lurched to my feet and came after them, but I could still do it.  However, now that the Other People are large, and come and go to University and other activities, my presence among them is punctuated by Jeremy Kyle, the Real Housewives of wherever it is that they are supposed to be real housewives of, however I have yet to see even one of them wield a mop, and arguing.

So I write in here.  It's quiet, there is chocolate and I can't see the huge stacks of washing up that accrete around large children.  And soon most of them will return to University or college or wherever it is that they go for stretches of time, for all I know half of them are in prison and just come home on some day-release arrangement, and I shall be able to venture forth cautiously into the wider world, clutching my laptop and my HobNobs and maybe get some fresh air.  But for now... LOCK THE DOOR LOCK THE DOOR!  THEY'RE TRYING TO GET IN! HELP HELP HEL




Sunday, 6 April 2014

Being a Writer - how to identify a writer at a glance, and how to approach if you do spot one. Also, daybeds - why?

What Being A Writer means...

I hate to disappoint all my readers who imagine me floating around in a fuschia negligee, eating grapes and occasionally scribbling down a sentence of such carefully crafted wordage that it instantly becomes a classic and is quoted on Book of the Week, then lying on my daybed (what is a daybed, exactly?  I have only one bed, which, during the day, becomes a daybed and then reverts to being an ordinary bed bed at night, by dint of, you know, it being night time and everything... Do people have a separate bed for daytime?  If so, why? Does their night time bed become unusable during the day because of..oh, I don't know, a nocturnal Nutella-spreading habit?  Why can't they just use a sofa?  Or the carpet?  As a 'daybed' I mean, not to spread Nutella on) eating Walnut Whips. 
Apparently, this is a daybed. Just looks like someone pimped a garden bench to me.

Being a Writer is not like this. Anyway, I'd look daft in a negligee of any colour, like a circus tent that had escaped its moorings after a really windy night.  No.  Much as I hate to shatter your illusions of me as a wafter and floater, the only part of the above that really holds true for me is the eating of the Walnut Whips.  (Incidentally, also the nocturnal Nutella-spreading habit, but I use bread, not bed.  That's a good slogan now I come to think of it, 'Bread Not Bed'.  I should get that on some T shirts or something..).  Being a Writer is far less romantic than you may imagine, unless you are a writer yourself in which case you know exactly how unromantic it is.  Here is what Being a Writer is really like...

Food - the house rarely contains any.  At least, nothing readily identifiable.  Everything in the freezer looks like this..
or worse.

Housework - hahahhahahahaha... If you hold both hands out in front of you, you might just find the table. Or the dog.  If it's large and has four legs, ask if it wants a walk.  Fifty per cent of the time it will.  The other fifty per cent of the time it will have your dinner on it.  (See above).

Clothing - writers tend towards the 'comfort' end of the spectrum.  If it's wearing this..
and clearly has as much intent of going running as you do of piloting the space shuttle, it may well be a writer. 


Temperament - writers are easily startled.  When approaching one, hold out a piece of chocolate, or a cream puff at the end of a long stick.  This will pacify them for long enough for you to get close, where the smell may well drive you back, but persevere, because a writer has many words of wisdom to impart.  These are usually incoherently muttered, however, the application of wine will render them much more comprehensible.  As will the 'laying on of tenners'.

I hope this helps.  Now, where's the Nutella...?

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Forthcoming competition to win Vampire State of Mind, Falling Apart and Modern Vampires of the City. I spoil you, I really do... and a shout out to Duncome Park's Birds of Prey Centre!

Just a couple of points today...

Now I've finished pointing, I suppose I'd better tell you what I'm pointing at since you can't see me.  Except for you, hiding out there in the bushes, and you'd better be careful because we did some gardening yesterday and dug a big hole just there to...oh. I see you found it.

Firstly.  It may have escaped your attention (if you are living up a particularly high mountain with no electricity and your fingers in your ears, going 'lalalalala') that my sequel to Vampire State of Mind is called Falling Apart and will be released upon the reading public as a Kindle book in May and in all its paperbackular glory in June.

Pre order it here.  Just a hint, you understand, I won't send the boys round if you don't.  Probably.

Now, I have it in mind to run a little competition, just prior to the release - around about the middle of May I shall be giving away on this very blog, a Special Prize.  How special? I hear you ask, because I know that some of you have some very 'special' requirements because I've seen you in the fish warehouse when you thought no-one was looking and there was an offer on dabs...  Well. I shall be giving away - giving away mind you, and you know how it hurts me to give anything away, apart from the twist ending to certain films... a package.  And that package will comprise:

a) A shiny, signed copy of Vampire State of Mind
b) An even more shiny, also signed, and probably not bearing coffee-ring marks and dogeared pages, copy of Falling Apart (which will not even be in the shops yet!)
c) A copy of Vampire Weekend's latest and Grammy-winning album, 'Modern Vampires of the City'.  It's a brilliant album, by the way. Very singy, and popularly regarded as THE album of 2013.



I shall be hosting that competition on this very blog, and you will be required to 'do something' (as yet unspecified) in order to win.  But probably not dance. Yes, probably not that.

And my second point...yesterday I popped in to the Birds of Prey centre at Duncome Park to do some more research for the upcoming book, which features a Lanner Falcon called Bane.

I mention this merely to advise anyone in the area to visit.  It's fabulous.