Tuesday, 30 November 2010
This is such a beautiful book. There are scenes that are quietly heartbreaking and achingly romantic and emotions are expressed so wonderfully well. My copy has about twenty turned down pages, to mark passages I really loved. Matched is definitely one of my favourite books of the year and I need to re-read it to really appreciate it.
A word of warning though, if you are looking for a book to fill the void left by the end of The Hunger Games, this may not be for you, despite the dystopian tag. Matched is more reminiscent of the coming of age/romance you might expect from Sarah Dessen. It is quiet, and it is beautiful, and it is well worth reading.
Here’s a taste,
Matched by Ally Condie comes out tomorrow. I’m already counting down for Book 2.
ARC received at ALA
Thursday, 25 November 2010
Thanksgiving is another American thing I shall take back to England with me, along with PB&J sandwiches and pancakes, bacon and syrup.
Here are a few of the things I am thankful for –
my wonderful family
my gorgeous, happy, healthy baby
fabulous friends both old and new
my amazing critique group
the chance to live in America and travel to some wonderful places
my husband’s amazing roast dinner and the fact he is right now baking a cake 🙂
the time to write
Everyone who reads and comments on this blog. I absolutely love it when a comment pops up in my inbox, so thank you for taking the time to connect with me here. I’m very grateful.
Happy Thanksgiving or Happy Thursday if you don’t celebrate Thanksgiving.
Monday, 22 November 2010
The inspiration arrived in a dream—a beautiful boy with a French name and an English accent sitting on the steps of the Panthéon—and it was impossible to resist. Or, more accurately, THE BOY was impossible to resist. My inspiration always starts with the boy!
And then you hit Jane Austen, and the list never ends: Mr. Darcy, Henry Tilney, Wentworth, Col. Brandon . . .
(3) Pride & Prejudice (2005) — I know, I know. I like the Colin Firth one, too!
(5) Stranger Than Fiction
A swoony independent film, followed by dinner at my favorite French restaurant, followed by coffee in a late-night bookstore.
Sunday, 21 November 2010
Thursday, 18 November 2010
So we braved the horror that is traffic on Massachusetts Avenue and headed out, to a truly wonderful event. Salman Rushdie is an engaging speaker, he seemed utterly at home in front of the hundreds of people packed into the Synagogue and was entertaining and interesting. As my friend whispered, he’d make an excellent dinner party guest.
He told us how Luka and the Fire of Life was written for his younger son, who had asked for a book, because he had written Haroun and the Sea of Stories for his older son. The passages he read from the book were delightful, it seems a wonderful imaginative and magical book.
Below are some highlights of his talk and the Q&A session (from my memory and a couple of notes so not completely word for word accurate)
Mr Rushdie on Books
Man is the only story telling animal. Do porpoises have a purpose, do elephants elefanasize? Man alone burns for books.
Without the world of the imagination the real world would not exist.
Mr Rushdie on the effect of the fatwa
Haroun and the Sea of Stories was the first book I wrote after the fatwa. And it is my funniest book. So I must conclude that the fatwa was very good for my sense of humour. Also I suddenly became very interested in happy endings.
Mr Rushdie on his writing process
I go from left to right, and from the top of the page to the bottom
and more seriously
I set a daily word count and I write until it is done. Working in advertising for many years taught me not to wait for inspiration.
Mr Rushdie on writing for children
As someone very famous said (he couldn’t remember who, maybe Philip Pullman) you do not write down to children, you write up to them. A child will not finish a boring book rather they will take Dorothy Parker’s advice and hurl it across the room.
After the reading and the Q&A, we queued up to get our books signed. I just said thank you but my friend (who is brave) asked a question.
So my son now has a first edition signed copy of Luka and the Fire of Life. Which he won’t be receiving quite yet due to his tendency to kiss and/or rip pages in books. Plus it has no pictures, I’m sure he’d hurl it across the room.
Note: Salman Rushdie was interviewed by Katy Kay, on the Diane Rehm show today. You can hear it here if you’d like to hear more about the book.
Wednesday, 17 November 2010
How did I miss this????
I would blame NaNoWriMo but it came out in September.
I adore Nancy Mitford. The Pursuit of Love and Love in a Cold Climate are two of my very favourite books. I’ve re-read them countless times and I just love them to pieces.
So I’m mystified that I missed this re-issuing, and thank you Ann for mentioning it. I’ve never read Wigs on the Green so I can’t recommend it yet. It may be another The Pursuit of Love or it may be a Don’t Tell Alfred (Nancy not at her best).
I do recommend that you buy the The Pursuit of Love though. It follows the fortunes of the wonderful Radlett family who are “always either on a peak of happiness or drowning in black waters of despair they loved or they loathed, they lived in a world of superlatives” The Radletts are based loosely, or maybe not so loosely on Nancy’s family.
Here’s it’s nice new cover
Here’s my edition. I think this looks very like Linda!
And here’s the old Penguin cover that I rather like.
Any favourites and any other Nancy fans out there?
Sunday, 14 November 2010
This week was road block week. I hit one, hard. Suddenly, I had no idea where to go next with my story.
decided to read blogs.
Which, it turns out, was a very serendipitous idea, because on YA Highway I found a post that could have been written just for me, What Are Your Constellations by Lelia Austin.
I love how she compares stories to constellations
A constellation is a bunch of stars that happen to appear beside each other at a certain distance, a certain angle. And it would mean nothing if it weren’t for the lines. The invisible lines we draw between them to make them make sense, to make them into a picture, a story. It’s all about their relationships: both what we see in front of us, and what we make from seeing it.
One strong relationship can be beautiful, but most stories exist like webs, with lines woven through one thing and another and another, with stars playing their explosive part in all sorts of constellations at once.
That was the part that struck home with me. I’d been so busy writing the main relationship in the book, that I’d let the secondary characters fall away. 20,000+ words in, writing every day, I was sick of my main characters. So I started fleshing out my secondary characters and I’m back on track and half way through – yay!
How is everyone else doing?
And did you read any wonderful quotes, inspiring blogs this week?
Friday, 12 November 2010
Incarceron is a prison like no other. It’s alive and it’s malevolent. Legend holds that in all it’s hundreds of years only one person has ever escaped – Sapphique. But Finn hopes to be next. Known among his friends as the starseer he has no memory of his early life, except in strange and unsettling dreams that come to him like fits.
Claudia, is the daughter of the Warden of Incarceron. Her life holds every luxury, but she is as trapped as Finn, and as desperate for escape. For in the outside world the Protocol demands everyone behaves as if it were a bygone era, although contraband technology is rife.
When Claudia and Finn both find crystal keys, that allow them to communicate with each other, escape for both suddenly seems much for than a wistful dream.
I absolutely loved the premise of Incaceron. It’s speculative fiction meets the Tudors, and it’s very well done. Catherine Fisher has created a fascinating and totally believable world and she does a great job of bringing it to life. I adored all the details and lavish descriptions of both of the bleak inside of Incarceron, with its blinking red eyes and endless cells, and the beautiful outside world with its plots and intrigues.
The twin narrative also worked very well. Both Fin and Claudia are engaging characters who it is easy to care for and they are supported by a fantastic cast of characters. My favourites being Keiro, Finn’s bad boy oath brother, Jarad, Claudia’s tutor, and Claudia’s father, whose forbidding exterior may mask a softer inside.
I can not wait for Book Two – Sapphique to see what happens next.
Monday, 8 November 2010
Today used to be a day I loved, ( an extra hour in bed!) but the baby didn’t think that was such a good plan. He woke with a howl at 5.30, which was really 6.30, but for some reason the digits on the alarm clock held more sway over my mind. I spent today in a daze that even a Pumpkin Spice Latte couldn’t break. Hopefully my 1666 words weren’t to dreadful.
Anyway I have two questions.
1) Is it just me or does everyone eat more when it’s cold and dark outside?
I swear I’m eating twice as much.
2) Do you read the genre you write?
I mean I’m sure we all read in our genre, but when you’re actually writing, do you read in it? This month I’m trying to stay away from YA, on the advice of some famous writer (I can’t remember who). It’s seems quite a sensible idea. I mean when you are churning out first draft drivel (or maybe that’s just me), curling up with a Melina Marchetta or Elizabeth Scott is just a recipe for ripping your manuscript to shreds!
Instead I’ve been reading Sherlock Holmes, inspired by the new series, which has utterly charmed me.
If you haven’t seen it yet, you must (especially if you’re a Dr Who fan). The fabulous twist, brilliant cast, and excellent writing make this must watch TV. Of course, I expected no less of Steven Moffet – creator of Press Gang (best children’s TV show ever) and writer of Blink (best Dr Who episode ever)
Friday, 5 November 2010
The winner of a copy of Anna and the French Kiss (to be delivered to your door on the release date) is Nichole of Irresistible Reads.
Look out for another very awesome contest coming in December.
Monday, 1 November 2010
I’ve written a couple of times about my deep love for Anna and the French Kiss and how happy I was to get an ARC of it at ALA. Now those lovely people at Dutton have sent me another ARC, so of course I’m going to share
because I LOVE this book so much (I kind of want to hug it and pet it) I’m going to give away another copy, when it hits the shelves on the 2nd December.
Which means TWO chances to win today.
If you missed earlier raves and the Publishers Weekly Starred Review, here are five reasons to read Anna and the French Kiss.
1) Anna – she is just the best kind of heroine. Lovable, relatable, kind and funny, and then occasionally, she does something you always wanted to do and didn’t quite dare. Plus she blogs!
2) Etienne St. Clare – well if the name doesn’t just floor you. Eitenne is also sweet, charming, nice, has great hair and a brilliant store of interesting stories (he doesn’t just stand and smolder!). Plus he has a British accent, proving Brit guys are best 🙂
3) Paris – I felt like I’d revisited Paris after reading this. When you finish you will want to run out and learn French, whip up some macaroons and buy a poster of the Eiffel Tower to stick over your window so you can pretend you live there too.
4) Friendship – Anna and the French Kiss does such a great job on friendships, new friendships, old friendships, changing friendships, and friendships you wish were something more.
5) Kissing! – see the title. There are kisses in this book, the best kind, the kind that make you tingle.
So the contest
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