11 November 2016 Entry: "Well and Truly Launched"
We had an amazing turnout for the launch at the Lit and Phil for my Young Adult novel 'Ren and the Blue Hands'. There were school pupils from Alnwick, my oldest friend came up from Bath, readers, writers and friends from Scotland and Durham and all over Tyneside. Four students from my Writing For Children group read extracts of their work, to much acclaim and admiration from the audience.
Sheila Wakefield of Red Squirrel Press and Postbox Press brought 50 books to the night and sold 47 of them. So she was delighted.
I say thatís the benefit of being an older writer - you have more friends to come and support you!
I also read the next day at a First Thursday lunchtime event at Newcastle University and had a very attentive audience who asked interesting questions about my writing process and how I imagined my 16th Century world. I sold more books again, which was pleasing.
And now Iím getting feedback:
A teenager read it in a weekend and asked when the sequel was coming out. Another writer friend said how much she loved the images created of the world, and another said it was a real Ďpage turnerí.
Now I have to get it out there, publicise it and garner more reviews - not easy in this oversaturated world of books.
What Iím really delighted about is that Sheila has committed to publishing all three novels in the trilogy - the next one is due out in 2018, and the last in 2020. It seems so far off, yet I know it isnít. It gives me a wonderful confidence boost and a spur to keep writing.
What I need is to find and connect with the right demographic - most realistically, girls of 12 + so Iím doing research and making lists of magazines and website that I can send review copies to, which is a full time job in itself. Promoting yourself is never easy if you are naturally inclined to be modest about your achievements and hate blowing your own trumpet. Hence the big gaps in my diary entries!
Any suggestions for where to send review copies welcome.
My poem about my youngest son leaving home is being published in the anthology Writing Motherhood, edited by Carolyn Jess-Cooke and published by Seren. Itís coming out in March with a whole host of poems by great women writers: Carol Ann Duffy, Sharon Olds, Emma Donoghue among others.
Ironically my youngest son is back home. Like many graduates, he canít afford to live independently until he has a regular income (I was shocked to learn he has a loan debt of £41,000) so heís back Ďtemporarilyí and is doing bits and pieces of work, plus DJing, some for pay, others for the experience. He has a degree in Sound Design and Music Production, and one of the things heís working on at the moment is putting the sound effects into a short horror film.
He keeps coming home with a selection of fresh fruit and veg, then he collects up hammers and knives and chopping boards and disappears into a quiet space and hacks away.
He showed me the first section heíd done, a scene of a man, tied up, whose head and face are attack by a knife-wielding psychopath. Itís not pleasant when seen silently, but with added slashed melon it makes my skin crawl. Heís also put sound effects and electronic music behind the trailer, and the music adds a real sense of menace, and builds to a climax. I think Sound is one of the least recognised arts/skill by an audience in film making. It does away with the need for dialogue in many cases.
I love sound and sometimes yearn to go back to making Ďsound art/poetryí but all my recording equipment is out of date, my computer programme of ProTools is ancient and I feel a bit out of touch with it all. So itís fascinating to hear what my son is doing, and gratifying that he asks my opinion about it.
My grandson has a very new brother and has said he wished the baby was back in his mummyís tummy. It reminds me of the Fleur Adcock poem:
When Laura was born, Ceri watched.
They all gathered around Mumís bed -
Dad and the midwife and Mumís sister
and Ceri. ĎMove over a bit,í Dad said -
he was trying to focus the camcorder
on Mumís legs and the babyís head.
After she had a little sister,
and Mum had gone back to being thin,
and was twice as busy, Ceri played
the video again and again.
She watched Laura come out, and then,
in reverse, she made her go back in.
I wonder if Carolyn Jess-Cooke has that one in the anthology?