Kidneys, Thieves and Donne.

21 January 2012

Hello! I hope you all enjoyed the plethora of scheduled posts that I arranged for this month so that I could sneak off and attend to some Serious Writing. They’ve run out now though so I’m back again, in body as well as spirit.

Before I continue, I’d just like to say a very profound and also gleeful THANK YOU SO MUCH to everyone who bought a copy of Before the Storm in its launch demi-week. It’s been selling brilliantly and the feedback I have had so far has been extremely encouraging! As you can imagine, bringing out a book is more than a bit nerve wracking but you’ve all been so kind, which has made the experience so much less hideous than it might otherwise have been. All it needs now are some reviews on Amazon and Goodreads… *hint hint*

Oh wait, reviews have appeared! Bless your hearts!

You can all add me on Goodreads by the way. If you WANT to, that is. Don’t feel like you HAVE to or anything. Did I sound a bit peremptory there? I do hope not.

Anyway! I have been busy writing, writing, WRITING this month (and also getting my hair cut, parenting, reading, KNITTING a Kindle case and possibly arranging getting at least one if not two kittens) about Henrietta and also my poor girls from 1888 and it’s been pretty good. I’ve bitterly resented the bits where I have had to attend to my actual day job but as I work from home it hasn’t been as bad as it could have been – especially as my smallest boy started pre-school at the start of the year which means I now get THREE BLESSED HOURS to myself every weekday morning. I’ve been ripping out chapters, adding extra bits and killing off characters before they’ve had a chance to let out so much as a strangulated squeak. Poor things.

Two things have happened anyway:

1. The seventeenth century novel is now just about Henrietta Stuart, who is, as an aside, my most delightful heroine to date. She’s just so darn sparky. I’m giving in to my love of metaphysical poetry with this one and have had people quoting Donne, which never fails to make my heart sing. I love Donne, don’t you? He wrote my favourite poem, you know.

2. I find that I am not very good at writing murder mysteries so have made the decision that the 1888 book is not going to be a whodunnit. Is it possible to write about Jack the Ripper without a bit of sleuthing? Well, we will see. I have already written the last two paragraphs where all or nothing is revealed and now have to kind of rush headlong towards that point. Isn’t that what Agatha Christie used to do? The book has the working title ‘Whitechapel‘, but somewhere along the line it decided that it wanted to be called ‘The Secret Keeper‘. I’m in the dark about what this actually MEANS but the book, as always, knows best, I’m sure.

RESEARCH is the thing that I love the best though. RESEARCH. I like to be hands on and actually GO to places (remember the incident with Pulteney Bridge when I was writing Before the Storm? Actually making an effort to visit the places that you are writing about avoids all manner of embarrassments) which means that I have to make some trips to London and Paris this year. Oh hardship. One of the trips is to see Hampton Court, which has been facilitated somewhat by an invitation to the press launch of their new exhibition about degenerate seventeenth century courtiers. I’ll also be at the press day for the reopening of Kensington Palace, which will be rather marvellous.

I also appear to have bought a ticket late last night to the 2012 Jack the Ripper Conference, which is being held in York. I know, I know. WHY is it not being held in Whitechapel? I grumbled a bit about this on Twitter and Facebook and seem to have aroused the ire of various York sorts, who didn’t realise that I wasn’t so much grumbling about WHERE it was being held but where it WASN’T.

Anyway, yes, on the anniversary of the Double Event, I will be at a formal dinner in York and surrounded by my fellow Ripperologists. It’s like the start of a particularly lively episode of Morse isn’t it? Except in York not Oxford, of course.

I also have to spend a bit of time in Whitechapel. This will probably involve booking a hotel near the Market and then staying up all night swigging gin, wandering around alleyways and taking photographs. It’s lucky that I have NERVES OF STEEL, isn’t it? I used to do that sort of thing rather a lot when I lived in London, slinking around alleyways and inhaling the sickly sweet scent of decay, bubblegummy joss sticks and spices…

Mmm, poignant decay.

Right, I should be off now to write some more while listening to Kidney Thieves ‘Before I’m Dead‘ on repeat because that, apparently, is how I roll. Or write. Or something.

I love insane lip synching fan videos on YouTube.

Oh wait, did I tell you all that I am going to see Emilie Autumn again this March? I did? Oh well. That constitutes research as well, right? I’m already planning my outfit…

Before the Storm, my homage to Edith Wharton’s The Buccaneers is available for Kindle and its associated apps from Amazon UK and Amazon US for less than the price of a pint of GIN or an aspirational magazine or a REALLY nice tub of ice cream.

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