Yes, it’s been a while since I wrote a blog post but as my eldest daughter oh-so-sweetly put it, “At least you’re not boring anyone else.”
Here’s what I’ve been up to so far this year in terms of writing. We won’t go into my other lives.
- Just finished editing a short story, The Hills and the Fortune, which was accepted for the Extremus Anthology of New Writing (from students on the Diploma/MA course at Birmingham City University). The launch event is at the end of June. Although this story has already been edited before, it was really good to get a fresh reading of it.
- I’ve also been doing final edits on my first EFL graded reader, Oscar’s Journey, which is due out in October (Heinle/Cengage). The original title was Barrington’s Call but my editor felt it was a bit of a mouthful, especially for the EFL markets they’re targetting. So I had a little weep – I’d grown rather attached to the name Barrington – and then got over it.
Have you finished that book yet?
My major project of this year is my biography, Beatrice: the Cadbury heiress who gave away her fortune, coming out in the autumn in print and Kindle. I’m taking the hugely exciting step of setting up my own imprint – Foxwell Press – to publish this particular book. (Why Foxwell? Anyone who knows my early musical influences will guess immediately. Why my own press? Ah, that’s a much more complex answer!)
At the end of March I spent five fabulous days in Amsterdam doing the final research on Beatrice at the IISH, pictured, or the IISG if you prefer the Dutch abbreviation. It may look as though I’ve chosen the most boring snap I took of Amsterdam but honestly this is where I spent my daytime hours – from when it opened at nine until chucking-out time at five. (Unfortunately, they wouldn’t let me sleep in the archives, but in every other respect the staff were wonderfully helpful and accommodating.)
My trip also included a visit to the Amsterdam Quaker centre, overlooking the Vondelpark, where I’d prearranged an interview with two people who knew Beatrice very well during her later life, one of whom was actually a pupil at the school she and her Dutch husband Kees Boeke set up. Special doesn’t come close to describing that experience. To paraphrase a line from one of my favourite films, if you’re a biographer you’ll know and if you’re not you couldn’t possibly understand.
And in other news…
Oh, and I graduated from my NAW Diploma course at Birmingham City University in February. I almost forgot to mention that. Life was so busy before and afterwards that it passed by in a bit of a whirl.
Anyway that’s enough about me. I want to hear all your news.
Where are you at with your writing at the moment? Tell me about your current work(s)-in-progress. Any successes to report? Goals, hopes and wishes for this year? I’m dying to know.