Monday, 29 June 2015

Growing things

I'm in the middle of growing my second novel. I'm writing about allotments, and weeds, and sowing and reaping, which means that the time I spend at our allotment essentially counts as research. This makes me happy.

The fact that I'm writing about something I know (in this case allotments) doesn't make the novel autobiographical. I'm also writing about things I don't know - being a single parent, being an only child, living with someone who struggles to throw things away, and so on.

I'm often asked whether A Song for Issy Bradley is based on my own life. I certainly know a lot about Mormonism, but there are lots of things in the novel that I don't know - I don't know what it's like to be a Mormon convert, or how it feels to be a Mormon Bishop, or what it's like to love Liverpool FC etc.

I don't want to go all Donald Rumsfeld and start talking about known knowns, known unknowns and unknown unknowns, but I like to write about a combination known and unknown (to me) things. Here's some pictures of the known things I'm currently writing about.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Authors' Club First Novel Award

On Wednesday evening it was the Authors' Club First Novel Award reception at the National Liberal Club. I won - something that doesn't feel real, but there is photographic evidence, so I suppose it must be true. I hadn't prepared anything to say, so I just grinned like a doofus and said thank you. It was a lovely day. 
Earlier, in the afternoon, Emma Healey, Claire Fuller and I met up at Fortnums for some photographs in advance of the Desmond Elliott Prize announcement on 1st July. The photographer asked us to talk to each other while he took pictures; it was nice to get a chance to know Emma and Claire a little better. 

Next week I'm off to Devon for a whole 5 days of writing. I can't wait to spend some time alone with novel 2. Writing to a deadline makes the process feel different - aside from the added element of panic, I have a much stronger sense of writing as work, which is probably a good thing (and which is why my blogging is likely to become even more sporadic in the coming weeks and months). 

Monday, 15 June 2015

A year since publication

This week it has been a year since A Song for Issy Bradley was published. It's been an amazing twelve months, easily the most interesting and exciting time of my life (cue the Dirty Dancing soundtrack). 

To celebrate I'm doing an Issy Bradley themed giveaway. In addition to a signed hardback and audiobook I'm also giving away a copy of my short story collection Sweet Home and some items that have a connection to the novel: a DVD of Jane Austen's Persuasion, an "emergency" Mars Bar, a Steven Gerrard air freshener, a pair of goldfish earrings and a scarf covered in geese.

If you'd like to enter, you just need to 'like' my Facebook page and the Facebook post about this giveaway. Good luck!