Today I’ve been busy proof-reading my new novel. In all modesty, I have to tell you it’s a really good story, and because I haven’t looked at it since sending it through the publishing process, I almost have to remind myself that I wrote it! But, of course, I must remember that as usual several of the characters had a hand in the plot too (animals included).
Although I wrote it as a story aimed at younger readers, the more I think about it, the more I’m certain it will have much wider appeal – 9 years to 99 years! That’s also the impression I got from those of you who were reading along under it’s former working title ‘A Nick in Time’. Thanks once again for all your encouragement.
Also today, for a little change from the Rabbit, I’ve been casting a critical eye over friend and fellow author, Paul English’s latest novel-in-the-making, the next in his wonderful ‘Fire Angel Universe‘ series. This is a real treat, because it’s all fresh and new. We have an excellent reciprocal arrangement of reading and commenting on each other’s work, which naturally also involves coffee and cake!
‘Following The Green Rabbit’ is due to be released next month, and I’m sure Paul’s new novel ‘Fire Angel: Igniting the Spark’ will not be far behind.
Cynthia smiles at me. “It’s so nice to see our author doing well.” She sips her drink and leans over to stroke Asmar, her beautiful Abyssinian cat, who is lounging by her feet. “And even darling Asmar gets a mention.” Asmar pricks up his ears at the sound of his name. “Well, he was rather a hero, wasn’t he?” Cynthia continues. Asmar rolls over and looks up at me, the suspicion of a smug smile behind his long whiskers.
I stretch out my hand towards him, nodding in agreement.
Next I hear a familiar screech and Fingers bounds up to me from the side gate where Bob and Gary have just appeared. The little monkey launches himself at me, chattering excitedly. Bob hurries to retrieve him. “Sorry about that luv, but he’s dead excited about being in a book review.”
Connor refills he glass from the jug of Pimms which is sitting on the little wrought-iron table. He sits back down and leans towards me. “I understand you’re running a wee promotion on that first book of yours?”
“Marketing eh? Sound.” Gary gives me a ‘thumbs up’ sign. His face lights up as Gina appears at the French doors. “We got any beers upstairs, luv?”
Gina rolls her eyes and sits down next to him, ignoring his request.
“I’ll go,” says Bob, lowering Fingers into Gina’s lap.
“And bring some crisps,” Gary adds. Fingers chirrups in agreement.
“The Silver Locket, it’s a lovely romantic book with a touch of mystery and magic,” says Cynthia.
“Oh yes, it’s dead good,” chimes in Gina. “Just the kind of book to read sitting in the garden on a sunny afternoon. Like that nice Ms Scott said.” She sighs. “They even go to Paris! Wouldn’t that be wonderful, Gary?”
Gary pulls a face, he’s not one for ‘abroad’. “How do you two know what’s in the book anyway?” He glances at me, frowning. “She wrote it a while before ours.”
“Ah,” Cynthia reaches for her glass. “Gina and I, and Lucy too, were in a short story Ms Hall wrote, even before that.”
“That’s right,” Gina continues. “We had to wait ages for her to write our book.” She looks at me and smiles, fiddling with her engagement ring. “You could take us to Paris…”
Connor clears his throat. “Interesting idea, this downloading, Ms Hall. Not really sure I understand. I suppose it’s something from the future which we haven’t been written into yet.”
Was that another hint?
Mystery, romance, ghosts and dreams: perfect reading for a lazy sunny afternoon!
Get your ebook freebie of The Silver Locket, written under my pen name Holly Atkins by clicking on the links below.
I came across this interview yesterday about the #WritingMyCity project in which I participated as a facilitator and writer a few month’s ago.
I was particularly excited that our little group, who are part of the Women for Change programme, got a mention. Their stories obviously struck a chord even if they didn’t make it into this particular collection.
Here’s an extract from the interview:
Q. Tell us about the fantastic book project ‘Writing My City’
A. There are so many people with wonderful stories but rarely a vehicle to share them. To help people do this, Cape Town libraries offered creative-writing workshops earlier this year. Now we’re launching a collection of everyday Capetonians’ stories about living in the city.
Q. The project is an incredible collaboration with local libraries across the city. What is your experience of connecting with these very diverse community hubs?
A. I was so impressed with the librarians who took on this challenge. It was heart-warming that each participating library had passionate teachers, writers and poets who freely gave their time and expertise to facilitate the workshops and to help would-be writers pull their stories together.
Q. It must have been exciting getting such diverse perspectives on Cape Town. What kinds of submissions really moved you?
A. As part of the workshops, the Women for Change Group had a chance to share their stories. I cried when I heard of mothers talking about losing their children, abuse and dependencies. I also embraced how they helped each other through these experiences as one big family.
That last paragraph is so important to me. When the ladies eventually felt able to tell me their experiences I was incredibly humbled and moved.
The collection is going to be launched at an event at the Fugard Theatre in Cape Town in September. I’m looking forward to attending.
A copy of the anthology will be in more than 100 libraries across the city, so it will be available to a wide audience. Books don’t come cheap in this country. Copies of the book will be sold at the Open Book Festival in September. It will be awesome to see my words in print alongside the other 39 chosen Capetonians.
Read the full interview with Christelle Lubbe, of the City of Cape Town’s Library and Information Services, and Frankie Murrey, Co-ordinator of the Open Book Festival by Carla Lever onTimes Live
With all of the unauthorized harvesting of our posts that is going on at tygpress.com and seemingly not much that can be done to stop it, I created this badge that I will attach to all of my blog posts going forward.Please feel free to grab this image and post it on your blog. By doing so, this image should show up on your posts that have been stolen by tygpress.
Just a quick update on the outcome of the submissions to the#WritingMyCityproject.
To recap: Cape Town Libraries, in conjunction with theBook Lounge and the Fugard Theatre, launched the project earlier this year to encourage Capetonians to write stories and poetry about the city they live in.
The initiative was aimed at giving Capetonians, from a broad range of backgrounds, the opportunity to tell their stories to a wider world, and for more local community stories to be told and shared. By doing this there is an opportunity to celebrate and deepen the understanding of who and what makes Cape Town the city it is, and build better social cohesion.
You may remember that I volunteered to facilitate a series of workshops, leading agroup of peopleto help them produce their own unique submission. Things didn’t entirelygo to planbut in the end we did tell our stories and we did submit to the project.
My hope was that at least one of the ladies’ stories might be accepted. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case. Perhaps their stories were just a bit too gritty. But it was an interesting journey for us all, and I hope that one or two of them will continue to write and get that release and enjoyment from doing so.
The names of those who have been selected suggest that a range of different voices will be published, including the immigrant English woman who wrote a little piece from the point of view of a child from the township.
Well, if you’ve been following my #writingmycity project journey, you’ll know we’ve had a few challenges along the way. Now we’ve come to the end of this particular road and there’s really good news.
Stories have been written, author’s bios have been composed and now our entries to the project are ready to go.
How pleased and proud I am of this group of women. They’ve produced disturbing, gut-wrenching and thought-provoking stories. There’s been anger, there’s still sadness but there is definitely hope.
These stories may not be selected for the Cape Town Library Book, but they will certainly give the selection panel food for thought. I don’t know what image of the ‘Mother City’ the editors of the publication intend to portray, but members of the Suiderstrand Library writing group have borne vivid witness to the gritty, dirty underbelly of beautiful Cape Town.
The voices of these strong women deserve to be heard. My thanks to every one of them for sharing their stories with such bravery and honesty.