Monday, 14 April 2014

Blog Tour, tagged by PENNY HANCOCK

Thanks to Penny Hancock for including me in the BLOG TOUR. I met Penny at a literary event in Southwold, disturbingly entitled Slaughter in the Scout Hut, and she was no more than 30 seconds into her talk when I knew I'd buy her book and love it. And I did: TIDELINE is wonderful, a forty-something woman's obsession with a youth gone wrong, a crime chiller for the MILF classes. Check Penny out on her website:
So, this Blog Tour is basically a literary pyramid scheme, except instead of having to send a chocoloate bar or a pair of knickers (anyone else remember that one?) you simply have to answer some questions on your blog. So I shall do so, in the hope that someone will still send me a bar of chocolate…(don’t worry about the knickers. That one always struck me as a bit odd.)

What are you working on now? My Sister & Other Liars.

Why do you write what you do? As always with my writing, it is inspired by a real event. Several years ago I was watching a TV programme about a young girl whose sister had been attacked, and left brain damaged. The girl was told that the police had no idea who had attacked her sister and they were closing the case.

My novel starts at exactly that point, fictionally working through what a girl in that position would feel and think and – most importantly – do.

How does your writing differ from others of the genre? I’m hoping it will appeal to young adults, as well as older readers, as Sam is just sixteen years old when she receives this devastating news. She decides that, if the police can’t bring her sister’s attacker to justice, then she will. The story takes place over the following 2 weeks, culminating on her 17th birthday, which is also the anniversary of the attack.

How does your writing process work? It takes months. Years. Who’s counting? It’s not a race, and the reader doesn’t care how long it took, just so long as it’s a damn good read! I write a first draft in a fever, and then edit by going over and over what I've written, never afraid to cut, always hoping to improve. 

I’m attracted to stories that raise my anxiety, those newspaper headlines that linger long after the paper has been binned. Writing is my way of working through it. 

Okay, writers I like and admire, and would add to the BLOG TOUR are :
Gary Murning
Guy Mankowski
Sophie Duffy  sophieduffy.wordpress. com

Friday, 4 April 2014

Dugdall in the Duchy...

When I was a kid, I hated Sundays. The seventh day would yawn ahead of me, defined only by boredom and roast beef. No shops, no plans, nothing doing. Hitting my teens, the day only lifted at 5pm when the Top 40 boomed from radio and I could amuse myself for two hours trying to capture songs on tape without any of the DJ’s chatter, a test of my digital dexterity on the `pause` and `record` buttons.

But then the world changed. Shops started to open, no-one bothered with tapes anymore, and the weekend finally had function.

That was many moons ago, but I find myself again thrown back into that Sunday feeling. On my first Sunday in the Duchy I had no idea of the time-warp that had happened overnight, until I arrived at the door of Auchan to find it shut. To my open-mouthed horror, even IKEA was closed.
Deciding to take advantage of forced recreational time, we took a family trip to Little Switzerland and discovered a wonderful walk starting at the dramatic and steep Wolf Gorge then winding around sleepy villages and dramatic rock formations, following the meandering stream back to the car, By then our stomachs had started to grumble, but we couldn't find any place selling dejeuner, no pretty café or bistro. Subway was open, but that wasn't exactly the authentic experience we had in mind.
As we munched on our Hearty Italians, walking through the picturesque villages, it felt like everyone else was snoozing. Could it be true?

Embracing once again the Sunday feeling, last week we went to MUDAM. Now, what I love best about modern art is its accessibility. It doesn't stare at you from the wall, challenging you to study your art history’ no, modern art is what we make of it. I’ll never forget seeing Tracey Emin’s tent, embroidered with the names all the men she’d ever slept with. So simple, so fascinating.
And MUDAM didn't disappoint. Lee Bul’s work especially grabbed the attention of the kids, who sat rapt in front of the dozen or so retching dogs, a homage to the artist`s own pet and lovingly re-worked in the same pose using various materials. “I like the one with cotton wool.” “Nah, I like that one, covered in tape!”
I think Ms Bul would have been delighted to see how engaged, how thrilled, we all felt by her work but sadly the security guards weren’t so delighted. They flinched every time the kids moved.
In the mirror instalation we discovered earphones that made everything around sound dream-like, so we had great fun taking turns with the headset and shouting at each other like we were in a coma, “Wake up! Don’t follow the light!” Until we were told off.
I’d love to have had Lee Bull with me at that moment. She is a woman who dressed like a human squid for 2 weeks in TOKYO airport, so I don’t think she’ d have had any truck with officious guards. However, as a rather more timid creature, I whispered to the kids to hush and resolved that next Sunday maybe we'll visit a cathedral.

Afterwards we drove home, via a garage for milk and provision, and then had an afternoon snooze. When in Rome….