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Tuesday, 17 November 2020

 

I’m a fickle reader. My favourites change with every book I read and I read one a day. I have a set of old friends I reread, loving both the writing style and the characters. Patricia McKillip, Rosemary Sutcliff, L. M. Boston, J.K. Rowling, Diana Wynne Jones, Cynthia Voight, C.J. Cherrhy are a few of these. I need old favourites, comfortable reads with character friends to send me to sleep or my dreams are full of the terrible things happening in this nightmare time we are currently living through.

However, once I got round the constant use of fuck as an exclamation, I've been delighting in reading and rereading Ben Aaronovitch's Peter Grant series starting with the 'Rivers of London'. Satirical and wickedly funny in the way Terry Pratchett's Sam Vines books are, here we have a young, green, newly qualified London police officer run into a ghost and discover the world of magic, the magic police, the Folly, and his boss, Chief Inspector Thomas Nightingale.  Much of the fun comes from Peter's interaction with Thomas Nightingale who is an upper middle class gentleman. Peter is a mixed race council estate brat with a strong sense of justice and a working class dislike of the privileged - like Inspector Nightingale. 

As a reader I have been entertained and amused by the characters and the clever Harry Potter like blending of magic and reality. As a writer I boggle at the imagination, which I know I lack, of writer Arronovitch. Discovering he's been a scriptwriter for Dr Who doesn't surprise me and I wish I had half his imagination and way with dialogue. I bought the graphic novel (Comic Book) versions for my grandson and he's now reading the novels with gusto.

Do start with novel number one - Rivers of London - or you'll miss half the fun. And fun they are, and clever and satirical and thoroughly entertaining.  






Sunday, 16 August 2020

August Sadness

Oh no! Our lovely safe bubble of no more corvid 19 virus is over. We'd been so looking forward to making our virus safe bubble extend to Australia, where many of us Kiwis go for a brief winter warm-up holiday. The Australians come to us for snow and skiing and it's been a profitable exchange. Then Melbourne was hit with a sudden outbreak of the virus, caused by slack quarantine control from just a few officials and now they are in Lockdown again and there's no bubble for us. We are trying to work one with the Pacific islands but have to be so careful as they do not have large enough hospitals or enough medical people to cope if there was an outbreak of the virus, and Pacific islanders are vulnerable to bad effects if they catch Covid 19.

However it means that I have no volunteer work so more time to write and make those book trailers. I am not  a tech  person so it's slow and cross because I've yet to find a website which works the way I think it should!

I write because writing is the only way I can say what I want to say. Try telling someone you know that they are viewing their life through rose tinted glasses. Try telling someone you have proof their prospective husband/wife is a money grubbing monster. You can’t, you are not believed and will be hated. But if I write about people facing such problems, and show how they succeed or fail at dealing with those problems, then readers are one step from their own reality and might just see enough to help themselves. Being honest with ourselves is very difficult, if not impossible. Reading about characters who are having to make choices might help readers make choices. As I finish this novel and get ready to send it out to the Beta readers and editors I have to decide which character's story I'll tell next. It is hard to begin a novel because by the time I have read, researched, walked miles muttering to myself as I try to set the characters and plot, I end up with perfection in my head which never gets down onto paper. I can plan and make character studies, plot lines and time lines, but the brilliant dialogue and scenes in my head escape my ability with words and I feel I’m failing my characters. I just have to rely on the 3Ds – dedication, determination and discipline - to get the novel finished and my own and my colleagues’ editing skills to make the book work. Will it be Adam's Story or my Quaker girl's? Perhaps I'll do some more Japanese stories. I miss Japan and it's good to visit it again in creating historical stories.