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The Perfect Job

Writing is simply the perfect job - as I couldn't help but think (and be very thankful for) this week.

I've been away in Fishguard, Wales, teaching Crime Writing as part of the wonderful Writers' Holiday. 

Why was it such a great experience? To start with, when you arrive at the hotel to a room with a view like this, then you can't help but relax, smile and count your blessings. 

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Then there was the teaching, one of the great loves of my life, however late I may have discovered it. And my brilliant group, who were full of talent and energy and didn't mind my daft ways of teaching at all (thanks for that everyone, it was a privilege working with you.)

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Aren't they impressively studious?! And not to mention accomodating. We were blessed with glorious weather, which made it rather hot, so I asked them a strange question after our first morning together...

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Author Ambushes

It seems to be part of this writing life that surprises can be sprung upon you from absolutely nowhere.

This week, it was my pleasure to talk to some of the ladies of the Exeter Women's Institute about my new book, and they were even kind enough to buy some copies -

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It was a delightful evening, partly because it was my first talk about The Dark Horizon, and my first reading from it, but mostly because the ladies were so lovely and kind, as ever, and even laughed at my jokes.

(That's always a relief, and a bonus.)

But the point of this blog was the surprise they had for me. I'd finished my talk, and signed a few books, was feeling relaxed and contented, and then they announced...

... it was time to judge the flower garden.

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A New Relationship

We've been together for a couple of years now, on and off, through good times and bad, but always working towards a shared future... and finally it's actually happened.

Yes, that's my melodramatic way of saying my new book is out.

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Point one of this blog - happy author. Very happy. In fact, I could repeat that again and again etc., but the real thing I wanted to write about here is that now it's time to firmly establish our relationship.

As with all flashes of first love, we want to be together. I'm carrying a copy of the book around with me just about everywhere, looking fondly towards it, reaching out to touch it, and just generally delighting in its company.

But probably more importantly - and certainly more professionally - I'm getting ready to talk publicly about our love affair. I'm thinking about what attracted me to the idea for the story and the people in it, and how to explain that to an audience.

And also, what sense of the book to give to people, a sample of its character.

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The Author's Eye

I went on a school visit last week, to talk about media careers, but it struck me just how much material I was seeing which could be useful for a writer.

Firstly, a thank you to all the staff and students at Bideford College for looking after me so well and such a great session -

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I've often said an observing eye is one of an author's greatest assets, and I was seeing plenty to note.

Firstly, Bideford College is an excellent school, and you could sense that from the first moment. I was met at the train station, promptly and warmly, given a tour, and introduced to the Principal.

And there was a lesson in characterisation - a teacher and leader who was utterly committed to learning and excellence (and how it showed), and it flowed from her into the staff and students.

Even the lady in the canteen took great pride in making me a special sandwich, complete with complimentary cake (she must have dealt with writers before!)

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