Starting on 24th June, it’s Independent Bookshop week. As everyone knows my love affair with bookshops has lasted my whole life. I grew up visiting the now legendary Exchange Bookshop in Dalkey, full of pokey corners and floor to ceiling bookshelves of wonder. I cried when I found out it was closing because my first book was due out shortly afterwards and I’d never see it on those shelves. Books, and bookshops, have been so important to me.
On Saturday I’ll be teaming up with Carmel Harrington (writer extraordinaire, @HappyMrsH) to bookshop crawl up the east coast to Dublin. We’re meeting up in Wicklow at Bridge Street Books around 11am, heading for Dubray in Bray and Magpie Books in Enniskerry. Then on to the spiritual sucressor of The Exhange in Dalkey, the lovely Gutter Bookshop. After that we head for Dubray Dun Laoghaire, Blackrock, Raven Books (any others we can think of?) and on into the city centre for Chapters, Books Upstairs and Dubray on Grafton Street where we will be meeting Hazel Gaynor and Catherine Ryan Howard. They will have done their own book crawl from the west in. We’ll all collapse over coffee.
We don’t know if we’ll make all the shops and we don’t know what times we’ll be arriving at them. But we will be updating online as we go. If anyone is arround, say hi! The hashtags are #bookshopcrawl & #IBW2017
And because one event in a day isn’t enough I’ll also be taking part in Hodges Figgis Great Harry Potter Read – reading Chapter 16 of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s at 4.30pm. Second last chapter, where all the action is.
And THEN I’m off to a Barbecue at the Zoo.
Can I fit all this into one day? There’s only one way to find out. Stay tuned.
It’s that time of year again. World Book Day is almost upon us. It’s more like World Book Month though if you’re an author doing school visits. Not that I would change that for a moment.
There is nothing so exhilarating(and/or terrifying) than a room full of teenagers gathered to hear you talk about writing. Like a grown up. Like you know something about it. Like a real author.
You know what I mean.
But while not my natural habitat, I find school visits to be a whirlwind of excitement. I love talking to readers and hopefully future readers. And of course writers or hopefully future writers. There are a lot out there. We always need more.
So while it is nerve racking (seriously, I’ll shake like a leaf beforehand and collapse in a heap afterwards) there is also nothing so worthwhile for an author than getting out there and directly connecting with your readership.
And the questions… oh my, the questions…
This week I’ll be going to Drogheda Grammar School on Wednesday 1st March and on World Book Day itself, Thursday 2nd March, I’ll be in Dubray Bookshop in Bray talking to local students. The following week I’m going to Coláiste Chillian in Clondalkin and High School in Rathgar. All this and work too.
*gazes longingly at bed and promises self I’ll sleep in April*
So first off – news! I will be signing at Dublin Comic Con as a guest of Dublin 2019. I don’t know all the details yet but I will share as soon as I can. There will be free books. Yes, free! But not that many so come early.
I’ve been on a bit of a break. And well… this always happens. I’m not complaining but it’s rather interesting that it always happens and it’s always around the same time into any sort of break.
I have just finished the final proofs for A Darkness at the End (out 12th September, preorder now, YAY!). I have handed over the first draft of the latest WIP to my first reader (aka my charming husband – yes I might be buttering him up but it’s true). I have a stack of books to read that is probably taller than I am. It’s been building up for ages. I’m almost finished one. A whole almost one.
So why WHY is this always the moment when my brain goes “Ooooh, do you know what would be cool?” and “Remember that old WIP we abandoned ages ago? I wonder where that notebook went?” and of course, the ever famous and helpful “PLOTBUNNIES!!!”
Yes, that. Three days into any self declared break.
No way brain. I am at least finishing the book I am already reading.
Like everyone else I woke up this morning to the news that David Bowie passed away. The shock makes it feel not quite real. I was pretty certain that if anyone was immortal, or had some sort of extended fae life, it was him.
Everyone has their favourites, their face of David Bowie.
I grew up with Bowie as a soundtrack. With older sisters, his music was very much part of our household. Hunky Dory, still my favorite album, is the same age as me. Life on Mars resonates across years, more meaningful each time I listen.
Bowie made magical music, about life, death and everything in between. Love songs, and tragedies, comical, meaningful… words that make you think, that continue to inspire. The imagery he could create in just a few words, the emotions he could convey, the breadth of his work and the art he made in sound and vision… these are the things that continue. He showed us that the weird, the different, the magical is all part of life and that we can embrace it, within ourselves and without.
Somewhere still Major Tom, the Starman, Ziggy Stardust or the Goblin King is waiting.
In case anyone ever doubted it, the ball scene in The Treachery of Beautiful Things is based on this scene from the wonderful Labyrinth and the song As The World Falls Down.
We had a wonderful evening on Wednesday. Thank you to everyone who came along or send good wishes. And thank you especially to Bob and the staff of The Gutter Bookshop for putting on such an amazing night.
Meanwhile, over on Goodreads, The O’Brien Press are giving away three copies of A Hollow in the Hills. You can enter here.
It’s that time of year again when I get ready to go to the Romantic Novelists Association Conference. It’s on this coming weekend, in London and I really can’t wait.
I will be giving a talk on Saturday at 1.45pm –
Finding the Fantastic in your Fiction
Using folklore fairytale and supernatural elements in your fiction, from fantasy to contemporary – exploring different ways of using myths and folktales to flesh out your writing and inject some magic.
All being well it will be more than handwaving and me rambling on but you never know. Although the talk is written I am continually editing it which led me to print it out today, mainly in the hopes that I will stop changing it again. As if!
And I’ve also been obsessing over my travel, as I always do. I’ve an early flight, so an earlier coach to the airport. And hopefully (hopefully!) the Tube strike will be finished when I get there. If not I have two bus routes and a DLR route worked out too.
But once there, the fun actually does really begin. Good friends, great conversations, sparkly shoes, fancy frocks and wine. And writerly talk, all day and all evening. It’s a really special time.
I can’t wait.
Writing is a largely solitary job. The conference is a time to meet other writers, celebrate what we do, share our thoughts and experiences and above all, learn so much from each other.
I should have wifi so I’ll try to post little updates and pictures via Instagram, which crosssposts to my Facebook and Twitter. The hashtag for the conference itself is #RNAConf15. Finally if you’re at the conference, come and say hello!
So here I am running late again. Still recovering from our trip to London for the Worldcon event (Loncon3) and then back to Dublin for Eurocon (Shamrokon).
A brilliant time was had by all.
In Loncon we particularly liked the Fan Village, with its village green for playing, vegging and socialising. We did a lot of socialising. There were two tardis (tarises? tardisi?) which may have caused a rupture in the space time continuum but we were in the right sort of company to deal with that. The games tent was another big hit, especially with the small people who had to be removed with a crowbar (almost literally). I was on a few panels which was enormous fun. My fave was probably the one on “What does Ireland have to offer?” but mainly for the random course Liz Bourke, Susan Connolly, K. A. Laity and myself took it on. And Susan’s storytelling.
Then we came back to Dublin for Shamrokon which was also a brilliant brilliant convention. A little more sociable perhaps as it was a lot smaller. Still massive for an Irish convention. We had a preview launch for my new book A Crack in Everything (out on Monday 1st), and I got to hang out with Laura Anne Gilman, C. E. Murphy, Susan Connolly, Kate Sheehy, Mikaela Lind and many more. And puppets. It’s a long story.
But I don’t think I advise taking a puppet on a late night bus. Or giving one to Laura Anne in a crowded area. 😉
I miss everyone. Although I’m seriously exhausted and over stimulated. But it was so much fun.
So I promised some people photos from our Easter trip to Co. Clare, Bunratty Folk Park, the Burren, the Cliffs of Moher etc etc.
Boy are you going to regret that request. Sit back, this may take some time… (hope it works!)
Any questions leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer. Yes, I’ve probably misspelled half the names. It was a beautiful place and such a special holiday. Lots of story inspiration and plotbunnies too!
I know, I haven’t been out of it much of late. That’s what happens when you have two books due and are writing two more. So editing cave.
Unfortunately, I made the fatal mistake of going to the library with my kids today. One we don’t usually go to. Why a fatal mistake you ask? Because, I answer, pulling at my hair like a maniac, I found books… 3 books!.. that I have been dying to read.
Ash by James Herbert (I adored the previous David Ash books and didn’t know about this one until quite recently so am super psyched)
Ghost Hawk by Susan Cooper. (I mean come ON. SUSAN COOPER!)
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness (because I’ve been meaning to read this one for a while and it ticks all the right boxes for me)
Soooooo I am making a deal with myself. For every chapter I get through on the edits (for which I have a deadline and I’ve kind of worked this out so bear with me*) I can read. I have three weeks. I have three books. The more chapters I get through and the shinier it becomes I can read more of the books. The lovely shiny books.
And this isn’t even taking into account that I got The Gutter Bookshop in Dalkey to order Liz de Jager’s Banished for me and it’s due in next week. Squee.
Cue hysterical laughter. And editing. And hopefully reading!
Oh and in a little bit of other news, my steamy paranormal romance The Mirror of Her Power is due out in April. It is so not YA, but it is fab and lovely. Edits for that are done. Yay! Thanks to my awesome editor Dayna!
*I haven’t really worked any of this out at all. But anyway…