The Publisher Hat continues to rule over the Writer Hat. Busyness reigns but it just keeps on getting more absorbing and fun. Like most writers, being in the background suits me very, very well.
I did get to be an author again for an evening at a writer's group in the New Forest. I was invited to join this (literally magical) group by Blackbird author Diana Morgan-Hill and this was my second visit. Sue and Mike are extraordinary hosts, they do B&B too, check out the Tripadvisor comments on them and you'll see what I mean about magical. This is the perfect place to bookmark for a writing retreat.
Love & Justice author Diana is working on her first novel, A Jackie Collins-type romp, which is sounding so good. Diana is great company and her writing is just the same, intelligent, funny and you never want it to end. We drove there with author Christine Aziz, who is also well on the way with her new novel. Christine won the Richard & Judy Novel Writing Competition a few years back with The Olive Readers. She's a huge talent right at the literary end of the spectrum. I read a few pages from my children's fantasy novel, Trees, (um, working title), which suited the setting well in a big old house, deep in the forest. It prompted a conversation with Mike about his pet rescue owl which refused to go back to the wild and would sit watching the TV holding his hand with its claw. Trees is the writing I'll return to when time permits.
|Diane Chandler & I|
Meantime back in London, this was a fun evening. The Chiswick Bookshop, London W4 is a new bookshop that has local authors and events at the centre of its ethos, as well as a chocolate shelf (with samples!) and other amazing goodies. Blackbird author Diane Chandler and Susan Lee Kerr talked about writing fiction from fact. Diane's book, The Road To Donetsk, a finalist in The People's Book Prize 2016 and the Beryl Bainbridge First Time Author Award, is set in Ukraine. Susan's book charts the life, real and imaginary, of her great grandfather Ephraim in The Extraordinary Dr Epstein.
|Wine, present and correct|
|Susan and Diane in full swing|
|Every bookstore should have a LOCAL AUTHOR shelf AND.....|
|...a chocolate shelf - WITH SAMPLES|
|plus a 10% discount on book orders|
Susan and Diane will be giving the same talk & opening the discussion to the floor again on Thurs 16th June at Richmond Adult Community College, Richmond, Surrey.
Diane and I will be taking The Road To Donetsk on the road in April. One of the main events will be the Arsenal Book & Arts Festival, in Kyiv, Ukraine. Diane will be on the international stage on Thursday 21 April at 14.00.
This will swiftly be followed by the London Book Fair, back home in Olympia. Diane isn't appearing there but I might be (PH, publisher's hat), am waiting for confirmation. It's a major event for authors, agents and publishers alike with so many seminars and events to enjoy. Author appearances this year include Jeanette Winterson, Marian Keyes, Tracy Chevalier, Meg Rosoff, Judith Kerr and Howard Jacobson. See the full programme of seminars and events, all included in the 3-day ticket price, here.