I was foolish enough to think that when I'd got my new novel off to my agent for her opinion, life would get a bit simpler. In fact, of course, it's got more complicated, as there's a huge swathe of stuff that I put aside to get the novel done, from doing my tax return to booking a holiday, by way of returning my London Library books and even reading a book or six purely for fun. The tax return, in particular, is not only tedious to do, it also gives me a weird sensation that last year is passing again before my eyes. Never mind New Year's Eve, this is the moment when I really look back and think about where I've been and where I'm going, and what - if anything - it all means. Meanwhile, I'm afraid this is just a quick catch-up post.
Stop Press: Listen Again here, until the morning of Wednesday 11th August
Most exciting is the fact that my story 'Calling', read by Philip Voss, will be broadcast on Radio 4 next Wednesday 4th August, at 3.30pm, as part of the Lost in the Lanes series. It'll also be available as a 'Listen Again' on the BBC iPlayer for seven days after that, and as soon as I've got a link for that I'll post it here. I'm really looking forward to hearing it... I think.
On Saturday 2nd October Writer's Workshop, who organised the York Festival of Writing, are running a one-day event on Getting Published. It's in central London, and it covers everything from deciding if your manuscript is ready to go to how interpret feedback, by way of how to approach agents and what publishers are looking for. Every writer will also get a fifteen-minute one-to-one with a book doctor, advising them about at their submission package. I'll be book doctoring on the day, and if it's anything like York, it'll be huge fun, and utterly exhausting.
The Getting Published event is planned to coincide with the publication of The Writer's and Artist's Yearbook Guide to Getting Published. It's published on 27th September, and it's billed as the essential guide for writers. It's written by Harry Bingham who, as well as founding and running Writer's Workshop, writes fiction and non-fiction and knows what he's talking about. It's also endorsed by Mark LeFanu, Secretary of the Society of Authors, and in the spirit of full disclosure I should say that I've contributed a piece on writing courses.
I mentioned a while back that I've got together with three other writers of historical fiction as Through a Different Lens, and we're very much looking forward to our first two dates. We'll be appearing at the Hampstead & Highgate Literary Festival on Monday 20th September, at 11am, and on Sunday 17th October at the Ilkley Festival at 2pm. If you get to either of these, do please come and say hello: we'll all be signing and chatting in the usual festival way afterwards.
In between those two festivals, on Saturday 9th October I'll be tutoring one of the established Writer's Workshop one-day courses, Getting Started. It's designed for anyone who wants to write a novel but doesn't know where to start, or anyone who has started, but has found themselves running into the sand. It's very intense but very fruitful. I love teaching this course, and since it's on the South Bank, if you've any energy left over, you can wander up to the Thames. There you can have a well-deserved and restorative drink at the National Theatre or the Festival Hall, looking out at the best view in London.