Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Sitting typing alone in a room

Hmmmmmm . . . blogging about being a writer . . . (see title).  It's going to be thrilling stuff.  On the other hand, when I'm not writing, I'm (drumroll) usually gardening.  Or even (hang on to some sturdy fixture) reading.
So, if it seems to you that the precious online time you could use to watch Top 60 Ghetto Names on Youtube again would be better spent reading about my books and garden, this could be the blog for you.

To be fair, I will report from Thrillerfest in NYC and all that, and gardening these days does include killing the odd rattlesnake, and one of the questions people ask most at book events is "What do you read?".

It's an odd moment in my writing life right now, in that lots is happening but I'm not the one making any of it happen.  My UK editor is reading Dandy Gilver No 7 (working title: The Trouble with Young Ladies), my US editor is reading DG6 (An Unsuitable Day for a Murder).  My agent is working with my last stand-alone modern novel (working title: Open the Door).  As for me, I'm thinking about preparing to plan to start to grope my way towards the initial stages of a new one.

Hence all the gardening.  I moved onto twenty neglected acres in Northern California last autumn and, even though cow lodgers have come to eat and fertilise about fifteen acres of it, there's still a lot of waist-high weeds to deal with in the short Ca spring before everything dries to biscuit again for the summer.

And reading.  I started keeping a reading diary a few years ago, getting tired of sitting with my mouth hanging open and my brain dripping out of it whenever anyone asked me what I read.  I don't make notes or anything  - it's not homework - but I always pick a Book of the Month.  BoftheM for April, which might well turn out to be BoftheY was the astonishing Still Missing by Beth Gutcheon.  Published in 1980 but newly re-released by Persephone.  http://www.persephonebooks.com/  It's not at all a typical Persephone - think Miss Pettigrew, Dorothy Whipple etc- boy oh boy but it's good.  (Except for the puzzle of a weirdly graphic sexual episode late on in the book that feels out of place and unbalancing (compared to earlier descriptions of sex all done in the best paahhsible taste)).

Hey, I did it.  I blogged.

And the world is exactly as much richer as I thought it would be.  I dunno, do you?


  1. Clearly much richer! I read a book called Still Missing also, but the one I read was by Chevy Stevens. I'll have to go check out your Still Missing recommendation.

  2. Get you, blog lady... x

    I'm a fan of book diaries too, an old friend from Dumfries put me onto the idea - though i do sometimes spoil the fun by making notes about why the book was good (from a writing point of view).

    My Book of the Month for April was The other hand, by Chris Cleave. Fab at showing how to slowly unfold a story and keep you guessing what the origins of the novel's problem are. It even been an Anita Shreve - which is saying something.

  3. No longer so alone in the room!

    My BoftheM for April is Lindsey Davis's Saturnalia, featuring Roman detective, Marcus Didius Falco, ably abetted by his wife Helena ... intriguing and funny. I also keep a diary note of what I've read when. A friend of mine keeps a spread sheet of her reads, but she does work in admin.

  4. Hi Eileen, Lou and Frances. Ohhhhh - Anita Shreve - such a delicious writer and yet you can't catch her at it when you go looking. As for Lindsey Davis, I haven't read any of hers yet, but 1. I loved the odd snatch I caught on R4 back in the old country 2. I think I once stayed in her sister's b&b in Northamptonshire (???) and 3. my oldest friend-in-law (in that he married my oldest friend) recently left the nineteenth in the series at my house before he flew home. There's an incentive to do nothing all summer except lie on the porch sipping and reading.