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Writers aren’t neurotic. Not at all. NOT AT ALL.

One of the features of this very blog that I find equally fascinating and nauseating are the visitor stats. I can see how many people have been reading and where they are in the world; this is the part I find fascinating. The nauseating part comes in when I get to see exactly which pages and blog posts they have clicked on and realise, with a gut-twisting shock, that they have been reading my archive. I have the urge to hunt them down, stand in front of their computer screens and wave my hands around shouting, “No, no! This is old, this is not my best work! I’M SO MUCH BETTER THAN THIS!”

A perfectly natural response, I think you’ll agree. We all want to showcase our very best work, after all, and, no matter how pressed for time we are, this fact remains true.

It did, however, come and bite me on the ass this week.

I am currently writing to a deadline; book 2 is due with my editor in a few days. I also have a day job, a blog and two children to contend with. None of this is a problem, it is life carrying on at its normal life-paced pace.

Then, at the weekend, I was hit by a sudden desire to eat chocolate brownies. Chocolate peanut butter brownies, to be precise. These bad-boys right here.

Now, my grandmother in Germany has some very good advice for anyone who loves to bake and it is this: don’t do it unless you have the time to give it the respect it is due. If you rush, she says, you can taste the difference in the bake. She is right, of course. A 93-year-old who has lived through all she has lived through is rarely wrong. So why, pray tell, did I not take heed?

I’ll just knock up a quick batch, I said to myself. It’ll be FINE.

It would have been, too, had I not decided, in a moment of gross hubris, to share my speedily knocked together offering with two rather important people. It turned out to be more of a cake than a brownie. A somewhat overbaked cake, at that.

To make matters worse, I took said brownie/cake monstrosity to Ian’s house and put it in the fridge for later. We went to lunch and what did the kind chef at the café do?

What did he do?

Gave us a free brownie at the end of our meal, that’s what.

What a total bastard.

The brownie was perfect. I can’t fault it. It was bloody gorgeous, and I will forever hate that chef as a result because, as I sat down later to eat my own pile of dry, brown crumbs that I tried to pretend was delicious, all I could think of was that brownie. And how my brownie could have been JUST LIKE THAT had I given it the time and respect it deserved. I could have even out-brownied that chef.

And because I am totally sane, not at all neurotic and certainly not competitive (heaven forefend!) I will NOT be staying up for an extra hour tonight to prove to myself that I can indeed bake the perfect brownie.

No, I won’t.

I really, really, really won’t.

I might.

See? Writers are the archetypes of level-headed serenity.

 

Never Go There is available to order now from Amazon.

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An Audible Coincidence

Recently, I listened to a fantastic programme on radio four about probability and coincidence. The show itself detangled the eeriness of coincidence and exemplified the probability arising instead.

This led to a reminiscence of my favourite bookish coincidence about Claire Fuller, audio books and writing festivals.

I have a lot to thank the kind folk at The Winchester Writer’s Festival for. It was the place I found my writing voice, the place I met my mentor and teacher, Simon Hall, who in turn introduced me to my soon-to-be-published friend, Hazel Prior. I wouldn’t have found out about the festival at all, had it not been for another author, Claire Fuller.

Fuller was the first published author to follow me on twitter. I can still recall the butterflies in my stomach when I received the notification that, for the first time, a bona fide published author had connected with me. I had already read her first novel, MY ENDLESS NUMBERED DAYS, and devoured it. When she tweeted about the Winchester Writer’s Festival, I looked into it and thought, I have to go. This sounds amazing.

I attended the festival, joined Fuller’s workshop on working with an editor, and had her sign my copy of her book. It was one of those novels I loved from the very first line. I love it so much I have it in all formats; kindle, hardback, paperback and audiobook. (Yes, I know, I’m a bookseller’s dream come true)

Fast forward a couple of years to the Autumn of 2017 and my own novel, NEVER GO THERE, is on the cusp of publication. Imagine my further joy when I discover that the supremely talented Eilidh Beaton was set to narrate the audio book.

The same woman who narrated My Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller.

It is a small coincidence, one that could very easily be fobbed off with talk of probabilities and the smallness of the publishing industry, but it’s a coincidence I love and one that makes me feel as though I’ve come full circle. NEVER GO THERE is narrated by the woman who also narrated the debut of the author who, inadvertently, jolted me into publication. There is a beautiful symmetry to that.

 

Never Go There is available as an eBook and audio download and will be released as a paperback on the 28th June 2018.  You can order or pre-order here.