Monday, 8 September 2008

A Season of Leaves, week one

Hello and welcome to my first-ever blog. How exciting is this? Well, it is for me, so please bear with me. As the description on the title page of my blog explains, I am a budding author and my first novel, A Season of Leaves, has hit the shelves. How hard, is difficult to assess, and I think, as a first-time, little-known writer, it's going to be a slow burner. Let's be realistic here.
When I finally pull myself away from checking it out on Amazon, I will get on with writing novel #2. I am 31,000 words in, and counting, and have taken this week off work (ie my day job, which I shouldn't give up yet) to try to increase the amount of words to satisfy my agent, my deadline - and indeed myself.
I pull myself out of bed, make a cup of tea, and force myself to sit at the computer before day to day worryings get in the way of creative flow. Sometimes, the words and phrases - and plotlines and characters having conversations all on their own - are there, like a tenuous, barely remembered dream, just within my grasp. If I think about anything, like putting the washing on or feeding my cat, they've gone. But I write, therefore I am. So I have to do it. And it can be lonely. Joanna Trollope has said that writers often feel they are outsiders, and I agree. I sit back and absorb and remember. And scribble unintelligable notes in notebooks that invariably get left on Tube station platforms. And then, there is that moment when it all slips away. I think that's called writer's block and normally hits me around 5pm, when I save everything, put it on my 'memory stick' and go downstairs for a glass of wine. I wish I could give up my day job for this.

7 comments:

duckling said...

What a lovely first post! Agree with the comment about being an 'outsider'. Sad but true. Anyway hope the nasty writer's block stays away from you this week! x

Katka said...

Dear Catherine,
First of all I would like to thank you for a wonderful novel, which A Season of Leaves certainly is. I really hope that you will continue writing and I am looking forward reading your stories.
However, I have one comment about your book and it concerns the Czech language. I know that it is a difficult language and as a Czech-born I really appreciate your attempt to indtroduce it to the English-speaking audience. But still, there few mistakes concerning that - as eg. Lara is not a Czech name, Lucenka is supposed to be Lucinka or you cannot say "rusky policie" but "ruska policie" and so on. Maye you have chosen other version of these czech words to make them easier for the English-speaking readers, but if not, I would like just to highliht this probem as it may be useful for your next novel cocernign my country.
Good luck wiht further writing!

Katerina

galant said...

I have just read A Season of Leaves and absolutely loved it. For a first novel, I think it is a remarkable achievement. You are now up there with my favourite contemporary writers, Linda Gillard, Katharine McMahon and Jacqueline Winspear, with Sarah Challis, Veronica Stallwood and many others close behind!
I don't want to sound like a nit picker ("Oh, yes you do!") but there is just one small error. There wasn't a road bridge across the Tamar before 1961 - Rose crosses the Tamar on the bus from which "she could see the Plymouth spread out before her." She would've been able to had she travelled by train (Brunel's great viaduct/bridge was there.) But this is just a small error and one easily made.
I am now looking forward, very much, to your second novel. How lovely to be in on the ground floor, so to speak, with a new imprint from Random House.
As well as this being a truly engrossing story, I loved the presentation of the book and the cover is so beautiful. Many books are marred by ill-conceived covers; this one has been greatly enhanced by it. Congratulations to the design team!
All good wishes,
Margaret Powling

marjolein said...

Dear Catherine
I am a member of a bookgroup in Amersham and I would like to talk with you about a possibility of inviting you to one of our meetings when we discuss your book
a Season of Leaves.
Best wishes,
Marjolein

chip67 said...

Dear Katka
Thank you for your words about A Season of Leaves; I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Yes, the Czech language is very difficult and I'm sorry that some errors have crept in. I guess only a Czech speaker would notice but that's really not the point - is it! As a magazine sub editor (in my day job) I can't tell you what a pedantic sticker I usually am.

chip67 said...

Dear Margaret,
What can I say? I really thought I'd done my homework on the Tamar Bridge, but was obviously let down by what I thought was an old pre-war photograph of the bridge on the Internet. I only hope it doesn't spoil the enjoyment of the book, especially for the good people of Plymouth. I guess I can plead artistic licence.
Thanks for your comments on the cover. I absolutely love it too. The paperback, due out on June 2009, will have a different, but equally stunning cover.

chip67 said...

Dear Marjolein,
I am very much looking forward to joining you at the book group in February.
Until then, happy reading