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The Unifying Spirit
Posted by Simon on 14th, May 2013 at 08:42:43
Writing means many things to me, but last week, for the first time, I had a sense of what a remarkably unifying force it can be.
On reflection, I should have expected it. When you come to think about it, we're all taught how to read and write from such an age that it means it's ingrained. But I think now I appreciate just how deep that feeling runs.
I had the pleasure of teaching creative writing for an afternoon at Plympton Library, after doing a book talk there (this is me in full flow.)
(How kind of the audience to look interested - at least that's how it seems in this view from the back!)
Anyway, as I was saying, about the unifying force. To start the teaching session we did a few quick introductions, and it was remarkable the range of people who'd toddled along.
There was a barrister, a university science professor, a teacher and an actor, amongst others. All come to learn about the art of writing a novel.
Which was, if I'm honest, a rather intimidating start to a course - all these clever and talented people, and me, something of a hitchhiker on the big writing road, trying to sound as though I know what I'm doing.
Anyway, all went well; the group was sparky, smart and good enough to say the course was worthwhile, and I had a fine time. I enjoy these sessions as much as the people who come along, and sometimes, I suspect, more.
And it left that wonderful thought, about another of the great powers of writing and reading - how they bring us together.
Whether it's wanting to actually write the books, or just read them - look around you on the train, the plane, the beach on your hols - so many different people with their different books, but all brought together by the simple joy of words.
I've said it before and I shall say it again - writing is such an amazing journey, of both discovery and self-discovery.
There are a few more events planned to support the publication of Shadows of Justice, including one at South Brent on Thursday.
Details are on the News and Events page, if you're interested in coming along -http://www.thetvdetective.com/news.html
So far so good...
Posted by Simon on 6th, May 2013 at 14:50:49
It's five days since publication of Shadows of Justice, and I'm a relieved author.
So far, all is going well. Phew!
I've given the first talks about the book. They've got good audiences and been well received, happily, in particular when I give a reading from the book.
This is the most nerve wracking part of all. Will the audience feel the scene? Will they be carried along with it? Will they believe in the characters, the setting, the action?
I'm delighted to report that so far, they have. There has been quiet, closed eyes, imaginations at work, and plenty of signs of appreciation. Double phew!
This is me with some of the folk who got to hear one of the first Shadows of Justice talks, the lovely ladies of the Sidmouth Probus Club. (photo by Alex Walton, courtesy of the Sidmouth Herald).
I've also had some very warming comments on email from people who have read Shadows (that was fast going - less than four days - which I take as a compliment in itself.)
It's such a wobbly period for a writer - the time between publication and getting the first feedback. You know people are reading the book, but it's like a vacuum time. You're just left in limbo, waiting to see how they'll take to it - or not.
The first review has also appeared on Amazon. I read it with hesitation, hopes and fears aplenty, but was delighted to find that it's been kind, too.
A quick aside here - whatever writers may tell you about not caring about reviews is tosh. We all say that, whilst still waiting nervously for them, and then taking them entirely to heart, however much we may insist otherwise.
(You know what writers are like.)
So, I'm a contented author, and looking forward to some more events to come. There are details on the News and Events page, if you fancy toddling along to one you'd be most welcome. http://www.thetvdetective.com/news.html
Yours, for now, with all due relief that the culmination of several years of work is feeling appreciated.
In the spotlight
Posted by Simon on 30th, April 2013 at 08:42:06
It's almost publication time (as I may have mentioned once or twice before)... and here's a strange analogy for the feeling.
It's like being caught in a very bright spotlight.
I don't mean that in a bad way. I suppse it's like an actor's nerves, when he or she is about to step onto the stage. It's what they do, what they've worked towards for all this time, but it's such a big moment and it's charged with electricity.
It's not just about me, either, these feelings. I can sense the pressure of the expectation of others upon me.
Most importantly, there are my dear and long suffering readers, I've been so touched by how many people have been kind enough to get in touch to tell me they're looking forward to reading Shadows of Justice.
Thank you all, very much.
But here's the curious thing. I'm also feeling the pressure from my imaginary friends, my beloved characters.
It's as if they're with me, clustering around me, sharing the anticipation of the moment when they can be freed into the world again.
There's the delightful Claire, wondering what the idiot Dan will be up to next and how she can cope with him. Adam is waiting as impatiently as ever for his next case, with all his usual dedication to solving it. El is hovering in that dark and dirty way of his, seeking a seedy but lucrative snap.
And as for Dan himself - it's the usual fretting about his emotions, trying to do his day job and report on the story, whilst secretly settling himself into the case and doing his best to solve it.
People keep asking me about the plot of Shadows of Justice and I'm so keen to blurt it all out, but I've managed to stop myself. All will become clear in just a few hours now.
In the meantime I shall try to distract myself from the excitement. With a run around the river in this wonderful sunshine (at last), thinking about some teaching I've got coming up, sketching out the plot for a new tvdetective novel, anything that helps to pass the time.
There are some events going on to mark publication. If you're interested in coming along, you'd be very welcome. You can find the details on the news and events page - http://www.thetvdetective.com/news.html
For now, I shall go back to counting the seconds as they pass. Yours, breathlessly...
The Final Countdown
Posted by Simon on 23rd, April 2013 at 10:19:30
I couldn't resist the 80's pop-tastic lyrical allusion, that being my decade, but I'm thinking about the books thing.
In fact, it's what I've mostly been thinking about these last few weeks, as the day of publication of Shadows of Justice nears.
Have I mentioned the book is out on May 1st? I think I may have slipped it in occasionally... just once or twice...
Forgive the excitement, please. What I wanted to talk about was the preparations I've been making, and one in particular...
... choosing a reading from the new book.
This is proving tricky!
I've got a few events to do to mark publication, and it's only natural that the audience will be keen beyond belief to hear a sample of my scribblings. (Maybe.)
But which to choose? It's an obvious thought to go for the beginning, but I'm not sure that's right. I want to give a sense of the book, its plot and characters, and the style of my writing, but not to give too much away.
Plus it can't be too long, or the audience will go into standby mode and may never recover.
I think I've sorted a page or two, and interestingly they're not the very start, but a little way into the book. I hope they'll be just enough to give a flavour, and hopefully leave people wanting to read more.
I've also had a little photo shoot done, for an article in a magazine. Enclosed is one of the snaps, for your interest / amusement.
It's supposed to be mean and moody, as befits a crime writer, but make your own judgement. (A big thanks to James Millar, the photographer, who was great in making the best of the limited raw materials available.)
I've planned the talks I'll be giving and rehearsed them, which means they'll doubtless come out nothing like I intended, but such is the way of live performance.
If you're interested, there are details of the events on the News and Events page - http://www.thetvdetective.com/news.html
So, all is almost ready, or as ready as it'll ever be.
Only a week to go until the book comes out now. Not that I'm (still) counting...
A phoney calm
Posted by Simon on 16th, April 2013 at 09:11:17
It's now two weeks and one day (not that I'm still counting) until publication of Shadows of Justice, and all is calm... at least, on the surface.
This is a strange time in the life of an author. The work is done - all two years and more of it - so all that's left to do is wait.
The final edits have been signed off, the cover and blurb, the marketing copy, it's all complete. Now it's just a question of awaiting publication day.
It's a curious feeling. Every day, I have a thought about the printing presses running with page after page of my scribblings. A marketing department contacting bookstores, libraries, readers groups and so much more.
And I just count away the days to May 1st.
There's not much else I can do. After the launch day, it's into signings and book talks and all the rest of the promotional efforts. But until then, to borrow a very fine phrase...
"He waits. That's what he does. And I tell you what: tick followed tock followed tick followed tock followed tick..."
It's like so much of life - waiting for a holiday, or a concert, or a much anticipated day out, or an interview, or whatever. The darned time will flow slow until it comes.
And so it flows... in a glacial manner... and I wait. That's what I do. With growing nerves and excitement.
But! I do find distractions. (Otherwise you just go mad.)
One of which is my careers work, and I'm still aglow with pride at my mentee, Sanya, getting into City University, London, to study journalism.
This is us at a mentoring event at Exeter University, with Sanya giving a talk on how our partnership went - how proud do I look?! And that feeling has only grown.
And this is a shot of the two of us afterwards - I include it because you get so many photos of me, and at least half of this snap is attractive.
Thanks to all who sent their best wishes and congratulations to Sanya as she went through the ordeal of the interviewing process for City - it was much appreciated.
So then, after distracting myself for a while with this little musing, it's back to waiting. Two weeks and one day...
Tick tock, tick tock...