Tag Archives | Dorset book

Book Launch in Sherborne

Two weeks tomorrow, on Thursday 21st November at 6.30pm for 7pm, I am having a Book Launch for my new book Dear Magpies, at Winstones Books in Cheap Street, Sherborne, DT9 3PX.  I will be giving a talk about my book, answering questions and signing books.  Refreshments will be provided and anyone interested in coming along will be welcome.

I am delighted to be having this launch at Winstones, which is a fabulously light and well laid out independent bookshop based in the beautiful historic town of Sherborne, Dorset.  Winstone’s has won the British Book Awards South West Bookseller of the Year four times and was winner of the Independent Bookseller of the Year nationwide award in 2016.

Dear Magpies is my fourth book and the first one in which the main character lives in Dorset. It tells the story of Josie Cuff who has been trying for ten years to trace her young grandchildren, the only members of her family still alive, who have disappeared on the other side of the world. She now lives in a small rented cottage in England after a turbulent life in South America. She writes her grandchildren lively letters which may never be sent, telling them about her past and about the eccentric inhabitants of the Dorset village where she is seeking to make a new life and new friends. Threatened by a sinister intruder who invades her home and privacy, Josie fights to cling on to hope.

Come along to Winstones on 21st and find out more. You might even like to buy the book! (£9.99)

Dear Magpies

Creating a book and getting it out into the world is a little like having a baby – though it usually takes far longer. It grows more erratically and more slowly and its birth involves many people of different skills.  But both baby and book are hugely fulfilling.

The idea for my new book, Dear Magpies, to be published on 18th November 2019, had been floating around in my head for months before I started the research for it. As a lifelong writer of letters, I had always wanted to write an epistolary novel – one that is written as a series of letters or diary entries. This book, about a woman searching for her long lost grandchildren, lent itself to the form and so I worked out my plot and worked on my characters. The writing the first draft took over a year, after which I planned to re-read, reflect and then start on the edit.

However, I got a time-consuming job and work on the book came to a halt whilst I got to grips with a very different working life, one that took all my energy and commitment. I didn’t revise or revisit my draft manuscript for eighteen months – which was not ideal, but at least I could see more clearly what needed to be changed. Then began the PEP stage – pruning, editing and polishing.  What a marathon! I took advice from a few people who had read my manuscript and I must have done at least seven edits.

Then followed the publishing which took many more months. My publishers, SilverWood Books, so helpful, efficient and sensitive, have been responsible for getting my book into print.  And so, about five years after the initial idea, last week the first copy arrived at my home and into my hands. My ‘baby’ had arrived – it was a good moment.

Dear Magpies

I love the front cover, designed by my publishers, with the silhouette heads of the teenage grandchildren, Tom and Lottie, who flew off into the pale blue yonder and, like magpies, stole the peace of mind of their grandmother, Josie, who writes them letters she cannot send.

The big question – “Will it please the reader?”- has yet to be answered and I will have to wait until after publication to know. It pleased me to write it, though at times the progress was painful. Now my child has reached maturity and is about to leave home and make its own way in the world. I wish it well.

 

PEP Talk

It’s been over 4 weeks since I finished my book.  I felt elated even though I knew it was only the first draft.  After 10 months and some 95,000 words, I needed a break from it, and decided not to look at the book for at least a month. The plan was that I would come back refreshed and be more clear headed and prepared for the ‘PEP’ work. PEP = Pruning, Editing, Polishing.  As all writers know this can be a long procedure and a lot of work.  Self-criticism is always difficult but it’s essential. But first I needed some relaxation and time away from my study. Needless to say, I became involved in other work, which has been all-consuming, and I don’t feel as if I have had much respite. It’s said that a change is as good as a rest, but I’m not so sure. I like writing and I can do it at my own pace and in my own space.  I don’t take telephone calls, I ignore the untidy house and I can eat chocolate as often as I like with no one to witness my greed.  Working with others seems quite stressful by comparison. Anyhow, I must soon re-focus on “Dear Magpies” and start the edit.  This week, I went to a lunch in a New Forest Pub with other members of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists and gained interesting insights about other writers’ ways of undertaking the editing process. It’s so helpful to feel I’m not alone in finding the task so daunting. Cutting out the flab in one’s prose is vital, but it does feel like discarding weeks of work and jettisoning beguiling words that seemed so good at the time they were composed.  It has to be done and I must get down to it. Perhaps next week!

Independent Bookshops are great!

All bookshops are marvellous places but a good independent bookshop is really worth supporting. I’m lucky enough to have a book signing next weekend on Saturday 19th September at Winstone’s Book Shop in Cheap Street, Sherborne in Dorset. Winstone’s is a treasure-house.  It’s a light and well laid out independent bookshop based in the beautiful historic town of Sherborne. Wayne and his team are passionate about books and reading – and the shop is stuffed to the gills with books, stocking over 9,000 titles.

Sherborne Flyer 19.9.15

 

I’ll be there from 1 pm onwards signing copies of my latest novel: “The Lost Journey Homeward“, so, if you are in the vicinity, do come along. There’s a great little coffee shop too.  I hope you can make it.

Moving on to new Work

I woke up the other morning with a bunch of plot ideas in connection with my next book, a novel to be set in Dorset. In the earlier part of the year, I was doing research on the locations and working on the back history of my main characters, but I’ve only mapped out an outline of the story and need to work on this.   The new project was inevitably put on the back-burner whilst I wrestled with the editing process, corrected proofs and worked with the publishers of ‘The Lost Journey Homeward’.  Then I’ve had to get involved in the promotion of the novel, now that it’s published, and I’ve had a number of book signings and events already with quite a few coming up soon. But bubbling up from within my head, like a spring of water that won’t stay below the surface, are ideas and enthusiasm for the book I now want to write.   Get out the notebook.  I’ve another story and it’s a work in progress.