Thursday, 29 March 2012

A glimpse into the glamorous life of an author...

...i.e, me.

On Tuesday I had a launch party for The Broken Road (I know, I know, only two months late) at my local Waterstone's. It was a fantastic evening - I saw so many of my friends there that I started to feel like I was at my own wake (in a good way) - but the best thing about it was: the CAKE.

As an incentive, I had promised everyone in the publicity that there would be CAKE. (Yes, in capitals. It's just not the same when it's in lower case. Believe me. I am now stuck in an eternal caps lock that is specific to the word CAKE. I am going to have to avoid the topic entirely in my next novel or face major problems with my copy-editor.) And that the aforesaid CAKE would have a sugarcraft lynch-mob on it.

The CAKE was not a lie.

And... for those of a squeamish disposition, look away now. (Or rather - sorry, you should have looked away a few seconds ago. Oops.)

Yes. A sugarcraft medieval lynch-mob. Don't you wish you'd been there? Made, I hasten to add, not by me but by a great artist of CAKES called Jackie Grover.

And here, if that photo wasn't enough, is a close-up - just in case you didn't catch their expressions...

I could add more pictures. There are a few of me cutting it, and probably a few blurred ones of me reading, or brandishing a glass of wine and grinning like an idiot. (Or maybe, on second thoughts, after all that wine it wasn't the world that was blurred...)

Anyway. I had a fantastic evening. I read and talked about myself and signed copies of my book and generally had a lovely time.

But really, I just wanted to show you the CAKE...

Sunday, 25 March 2012

On a lighter note...

The last couple of times I blogged, it was a bit angsty. The problem hasn't gone away, but I'm determined not to worry about it until it raises its ugly head again, so for the moment all is relatively serene in the Collins household. (Unless someone asks me how the writing is going, in which case they are almost literally knocked backwards by a gale of ranting. But people are rapidly learning not to ask...)

And yesterday I spoke to my lovely hopefully-soon-to-be-agent (don't worry if you're getting confused about how many agents/editors I have - it doesn't really make any difference to this story) and she really made me laugh. Partly because of what she was telling me about my book - I was making notes, and one of them says, and I am not making this up, 'try to write good prose' - and partly because she said, 'You know that Mitchell and Webb sketch, where one of them is an editor and keeps saying, "How about doing like this? Well, not like this, obviously, but maybe a bit like this - well, not really like this, but..."?' 

But mainly because she said that when her assistant put Edward Leigh onto her Kindle to read it, she accidentally loaded the Word document with tracked changes.

Now. I didn't know this. But apparently when that happens the Kindle isn't equipped to deal with it. So it loads everything, original and final versions combined - so all the deleted bits, all the new bits, all the comments - without any kind of formatting or signposting... I.e., in this case, all the cut 10,000 words and the new 15,000 words. Not to mention the occasional moment where I'd lost my temper and put in a note-to-self like (and I quote) 'Yes, but where the hell is the PLOT?!'. 

Apparently, the assistant, when asked her opinion, said, 'I'm enjoying it, but the narrator does seem to do a lot of things... well, twice.'

It reminded me of the time I listened to Mozart's Requiem for the first time*. It was on vinyl, and I put the turntable on the wrong speed. I told my parents I thought it was brilliant but... maybe a bit high-pitched. 

* I am not going to tell you how old I was. Suffice it to say that I was at secondary school - old enough, you might think, to realise that the music was over in roughly 3/4 of the time one might have anticipated.

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Thank you.

Thanks to everyone who commented on my previous post - I really appreciate your responses. And let me say that I am a) not surprised by the overwhelming consensus from you all, and b) utterly in agreement.

As I said - I have no idea how much power I have in this situation, and as soon as negotiations start it may be indiscreet to blog about them... but for what it's worth - I will do my absolute best to stick to my guns.

I really only wanted to garner your responses, so I've taken the post down now. Given the situation, I thought it was more politic not to leave it there for ever, especially since it's now served its purpose. I hope that doesn't seem cowardly.

And again - thank you all.