My feet have just about touched the ground again after four weeks of mayhem, starting with jetting off to Dubai for the wonderful Emirates Airlines Festival of Literature at the start of the month, which I was lucky enough to be invited to as a speaker and workshop facilitator. I don’t think there is any point in pretending that it wasn’t THE coolest thing I have done as a published author, because you’d all know I was lying. Highlights were many but included:
- Delivering a workshop on being inspired to write and writing comedy to a sold out room!
- Talking books and publishing and everything in between with readers, other authors, agents & generally bookish people for a whole week!
- Being on a panel with Sudha Murty and the utterly lovely Alexander McCall Smith, and having the most fun and fascinating conversation about letter writing. You can find the transcript of my letter to Dubai here.
- (Much later…) Discussing the merits (or not) of toilets with glass walls with Alexander and his wife.
- Meeting a bunch of amazingly creative people and being surrounded by multi disciplinary artists from so many different places and cultures.
- Seeing a bunch of old friends and making some new ones too. The theme for this year was ‘Old Friends’ and it couldn’t have been more perfect.
- Sunshine and warm weather… working by the pool made for a nice change of pace!
Talking of working, I’ve been going at it like a dog. I’ve barely left the house since I arrived back and I’ve forgotten how to talk to people but my latest manuscript is now nearly ready to go out to the world and there’s another one hot on its heels that I’m two thirds of the way through already! I’m really enjoying being at the end of the process for my second novel, and excited at the ideas I’ve had for the third one, to really make it zip. Putting an extra spring in my step this month has been the fabulous news that my agent, Davinia Andrew-Lynch, has joined Curtis Brown Books and taken me with her as a client! I am very much looking forward to stepping out on this new adventure with her.
FEBRUARY BOOK CHOICE:
Finlay Donovan is Killing It by Elle Cosimano was a recommendation by Davinia, actually. The premise is simple but irresistible: a author and mom of two who’s husband has run off with the estate agent is mistakenly hired as a contract killer. If you like Stephanie Plum, you’ll love this. It’s fast paced, murderously good fun with lots of funny and familiar scenarios for the mums out there. A great palette cleanser if you’ve been getting too serious with your literature lately. I bought the audio book and it’s read pretty well – not sure about the ‘guy’ voices but it’s not as annoying as most!
FEBRUARY TV CHOICE:
There is nothing better than deliciously dark television that offers plenty of sass alongside – and Bad Sisters more than delivers. Nicknamed ‘The Prick’ by his sisters in law, JP really is the gold standard: his apparent playfulness towards his wife, daughter, mother, the neighbour and the sisters is in turns threatening, frightening, patronising, dangerous and downright evil. The sisters decide they’ve had enough and plot to kill him, but he proves a slippery fish to nail – and here is where the wonderful comedic turns can be had as the assassination attempts get more and more outrageous, with disastrous consequences. The story, in essence a ‘whodunnit’, moves forwards and backwards in time to finally reveal the who, what, where of the murder. The only thing I didn’t think was utterly brilliant was the slightly annoying subplot of two hapless insurance agents trying to prove the women killed him to save their business from bankruptcy and a criminal action lawsuit. Yes, it was necessary to have someone investigate to create the motivation for the cover up, but I think the plot stretched a little thin at times in terms of the believability of these characters. However, it didn’t really take too much away from what was a brilliant story, beautifully shot, subtly acted and wonderfully written to keep us guessing most, if not all of the way.
MY MONTH AHEAD:
Well it’s a quiet month for me after the storm that was February so I’ll mainly be focused on final tweaks for submission and cracking on with the next manuscript. But there’s a couple of things going on in the CWIP motherland that I should draw your attention to…. firstly, the shortlist is out and it’s fantastic! Very much looking forward to reading some of this stack that hasn’t already found it’s way to me.
Secondly… and admittedly, you don’t have long with this bit of information… but the Comedy Women in Print Prize is running a ‘Febulously Funny’ fundraiser, where if you donate, like, TODAY, you’ll be put in the prize draw to win lots of books and swag from the authors of the unpublished-but-now-published CWIP Prize books. The Prize relies purely on donations and Helen Lederer’s caffeine intake, and does great things for unpublished authors as well as championing funny female fiction – so if you’re a fan, please consider donating here. You can, of course, give generously after today, with absolutely no chance of winning anything except the adoration of all involved with CWIP!
See you next month,