Monday, 19 October 2015

Island by Nicky Singer

A new book is always a treat, but I was more than usually pleased to receive this one ...

  ... especially when I looked inside.

When I came across Nicky’s story about Island on the Notes from the Slushpile blog several months ago, I went into full Victor Meldrew mode.

 I don’t believe it!

Nicky Singer is a successful author with novels for adults and children published by mainstream publishers. She was commissioned to write a stage play for the National Theatre and came up with the idea for Island. The play was produced at the Cottesloe Theatre (now known as the Dorfman Theatre), was also taken on a tour of London schools, and received very good reviews.

After the play finished, Nicky decided to turn Island into a novel in the hope of spreading the story to a wider audience. But when she presented it to her publishers they said – No. Their reason for rejection? They thought the novel was ‘too quiet’ and ‘too literary’.

Fortunately, Nicky thought there might be some people ‘out there’ who like quiet, literary books. And she was right. She set up a Kickstarter campaign to raise enough money to publish Island, and I was just one of 100’s of people who were happy to be able to help. (One of the other helpers was the Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell, who offered to supply the illustrations for the book.) I think we all gave a great, big cheer when Nicky announced she had reached her target and Island was going to be published.       

Island will be officially launched on 6th November. Do look out for it!

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Home again

Back home from a wonderful holiday in Scotland.

We stayed in this holiday cottage in Forres, Moray (traditional outside, modern and comfortable inside – highly recommended) and went out from there to different places every day. Enjoyed lots of good, top down driving (top down on the car – not husband or me!), stopped to explore towns and villages along the way, and also managed many miles of walking up and down hills, through forests and along beaches.    

Good news – I finally got to see not one, but two red squirrels, although not in the nature reserves where I’d been looking for them.

Bad news – I was so surprised I didn’t reach for my camera until they had scampered out of sight.

Oh well, perhaps next time …

The only squirrel I managed to snap!
My plan to take a break from writing worked for the first five days, but on the sixth morning I woke up with one of those Eureka! moments. I found myself thinking about a story I’d started but then abandoned years ago. I suddenly realised what was wrong with it and how I could change it. I was itching to start writing straight away but I made do with a few scribbled notes and hoped they would still make sense when I got home.

I didn’t write anything else, but I did gather lots of inspiration for stories and articles everywhere we went. Just hope it’s all safely stored somewhere in my cluttered mind.

The first week back home was all a bit of a muddle. Lots to do, but I think I was still in holiday mode so everything felt a bit strange and took longer than it should. More or less settled into my ‘normal’ routine now – I think!

Hope to catch up with you all soon.