Wednesday, 4 August 2010

Previously. . .


I have been very neglectful of the blog in the last few weeks. I have been in a kind of whirl since the beginning of July and I will now attempt to fill you in on what I've been up to.

Every weekend in July I made my way to my studio for the Cambridge Open Studios. My studio mate, John Clark, and I were exhibiting in a room next to our grotty workspace and we had to be there from 11 o'clock in the morning to 6 o'clock in the evening. It was a long day enlivened by long philosophical debates, visits from family and friends, as well as a reasonably steady stream of people clutching the Cambridge Open Studio catalogue. We both sold paintings too, which was nice - John doing particularly well. I sold four out of a possible sixteen, so I was reasonably pleased.

As far as sales went, though, we only really needed to be open the first two weekends, because though we still had a steady stream of visitors, they did not buy over those last two weekends. The number of artists coming round seemed to increase, and John and I realised we had made a mistake in not factoring in any time for us to go and see other work around Cambridge.

On the last two weekends I was also trying to get the cover of Mister Creecher done. Although this novel does not come out until October 2011, there was a panic about getting a cover image for the Bloomsbury catalogue. More of that another time.

The German edition of Uncle Montague's Tales of Terror also turned up in the post. Onkel Montagues Schauergeschichten has been out in Germany for a while but I hadn't seen an actual copy. It is published by Bloomsbury in Germany, translated by Beatrice Howeg.

On 19 July I went to the House of Commons for the launch of the Reading Agency's Summer Reading Challenge. We had to stand in blistering sunshine for half an hour waiting to be checked by security, but I'm glad I went. The Summer Reading Challenge is a great scheme here in the UK where children are set the challenge of reading six from a set list of books from their local library. It seems a particularly good cause to support when libraries are under threat everywhere. It was also good to hear Michale Rosen ticking government ministers off about the lack of a stated support for reading for pleasure.

I have been booking myself in for various events up and down the country. I am speaking to the Youth Libraries Group in Cardiff in September and October involves trips to Cheltenham, Dublin, Halifax, Liverpool and Amsterdam. More about all of those nearer the time.

Mainly, though, I have been writing. I had a a July delivery deadline on Mister Creecher and I was determined that I would not go over even if I delivered on the last day of July (which turned out to be the case). I think I had planned my timing on this more meticulously than with any other book I had written, building in a month where I would simply read and re-read it, honing it to perfection. I was even thinking of booking a phone/TV/internet-free cottage somewhere just for that purpose.

But of course it didn't work out like that. I'll talk about why in the next post. . .

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