Friday, January 30, 2015

Books and more books

First of all, I want to recommend The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins who is a new name to me whom I hope to hear more of. If you want to read my review it's a five star Amazon review. Basically, I thought it a fine psychological thriller by an author who knows exactly what she is doing. (It has three first person viewpoint narrators for a start.) In my Amazon review, I also mentioned something that annoyed me about the title: the trend of calling young women 'girls' when they are in their late twenties and thirties with lovers, husbands, jobs or children. I know it can be used amongst ourselves in a light-hearted self-deprecating way but it seems it's everywhere now.

Anyway, I was heartened to find this opinion piece in Publishing Perspectives about this very novel. 
What do you think? Am I behind the times and old-fashioned? (Don't worry, I don't like 'lady' or 'ladies' either.)

I am now reading quite a different novel, Solace by Emily Mackie. I am still in the middle of it so I am unsure of whether it appeals to me. If it does, I'll let you know.

 I have two novels on order I am really looking forward to. They are Kate Atkinson's, A God in Ruins,  the 'follow-up' to the stunning Life After Life and A Spool of Blue Thread by the inimitable Anne Tyler. This said to become final novel. I hope it isn't.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

New Year. New Beginnings

Winter is well and truly here. The snow is no more than a sprinkling, fortunately, but it's been a day when I haven't been tempted to venture beyond my four walls. Roll on summer.

But I have news to report. I have finally submitted my manuscript of my finished (I hope) novel manuscript. (working title: The Rosedale Miracle.) That's why you've not heard from me for a while. I'm fine but I have kept my head down. I haven't been blogging. I've hardly been tweeting. I haven't done much in the way of housework. I've been a boring writer with my eyes fixed to my screen and not much else.

I have been reading, of course. But nothing has grabbed me as much as The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton did in 2014 that I blogged about back on the old elephant blog. Here and again here. But then, it is very early: only the 17th day of this year, to be precise.

But it's a good excuse to stick its cover up here again with a suggestion that you buy it especially if you still have Christmas book tokens left. And here's a lucky coincidence. Before Christmas I was asked to vote on-line for my favourite novel of 2014,offering me the chance to win National Book Tokens for £50. Of course, I immediately forget it. I never win anything. Do you? Guess what? I got an email yesterday that I'd won and would I supply my postal address? This very morning I got the modern answer to those old paper book-tokens - a plastic swipe card -  to spend in any participating book-store. Yippee!

What a lovely way to ignore that empty feeling having submitted my novel today my agent. I know I will have to wait some time for a verdict. I feel, however, not so much as if I'm waiting for the jury to return from their deliberations but like an empty-nest mother. I was so fed up with the manuscript. It's taken me far too long and has driven me crazy. I've hated it and loved it in  equal measure. So, today, to avoid twiddling-thumb and mourning, I'm updating my blog and deciding what to do with myself, writing-wise. I will not mention the novel again UNLESS: a) it makes it to a publisher after much revision b) even more unlikely, it is accepted for publication. Otherwise I will not complain, moan or go on about the trials of an ignored novelist or the so-called idiocy of agents and publishers. That's life and I refuse to ever be bitter and twisted.

So how am I going to fill my time?

1. My next novel, of course. I've got an outline in my head and some of it already on file, but not much. It's set two hundred years or so after the one I've just finished, but  in exactly the same place but has more width of focus with scenes in London as well - Spitalfields to be more specific, as we're talking Huguenots.

2. I've signed up for an on-line fiction-writing at an intermediate level in order to improve and a chance to offer my work for the appraisal of a tutor who is a published novelist.

3. I have promised myself to be a better blogger about my writing life. But as I have proved recently, when one is immersed in writing a novel that may not ever see the light of day, it's not that easy to be interesting and informative!

Now I think I'll trot over to Twitter and see who's talking...


As you've probably realised, my blog has been dormant for far too long - well, it's been a long winter.  Although this blog has b...