Writer, Not Always at Work

First, to answer queries from kind but fretful readers  –  yes, I’m writing. My latest project is a series, of which I’ve already written Book 1 and am at work on Book 2, but as I am, to date, without a publisher, I’ll say no more for the time being. As soon as I find…

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Up Your Farthingale

Friday lunchtime, it was piddling rain and I was sick of the sound of my own breathing so I went to the cinema. There were just three of us in the screening room, possibly the last three people on earth who hadn’t yet seen The Favourite. Or maybe the other two were smitten return viewers,…

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Inspiration

This is the view from my desk, aka the kitchen table. In the foreground, the rocky shore between Bullock and Coliemore harbours, then the ever-changing waters of Dublin Bay and, on the horizon, Howth Head. Although not today. Today Howth is shrouded in rain and cloud. ‘How inspiring for your writing!’ people say. I’m afraid…

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Career Advice

I have completed my massive rewrite – the authorial equivalent of knocking down several walls and installing new load-bearing (I pray) beams, and the typescript is now with my agent. The bank manager and I hope this means that the career drought will soon be over. I’ve been getting plenty of well-intentioned advice during this…

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One Man’s Mission

I’ve had apostrophes on my mind. It started with the sight of my new grandson curled up in his onesie like a perfect little apostrophe. Soon after that I read about the word’s etymology  –  funny how you can use a word all your life and never wonder where it came from. Apostrophe has Greek…

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Reading for Bigger Biceps

Reading-wise, I have three books on the go at the moment and the one with which I’m making the slowest progress is Yuri Slezkine’s The House of Government. Not because it isn’t a gripping read, but because it’s too damned heavy to read in bed or on the train –  980 pages (excluding appendices) too heavy. I…

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On Blessings

The English language is a rich and wonderful thing. Those of us who have it as our mother tongue hardly know how lucky we are. The Italians, for instance, have to use the same word for a niece, a nephew or a grandchild. I mean, really? There’s just one area of English where it seems…

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Working Speed

In athletic terms a novelist needs to be a marathon runner. I have known novelists who could produce a first draft in less than two months but they’ve tended to be men enjoying 5 star domestic support. No school or supermarket run for them. No plumber to hang around for. I’m definitely a distance runner …

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Bits and Pieces

One or two of you noticed that my website was down over Christmas and thought I had perhaps grown tired of life. Thank you for your concern, but nothing so dramatic. My domain name (search me) apparently lapsed on Christmas Eve without a murmur of warning and I was on the road, unable to do…

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The Roar of the Greasepaint

This is possibly, almost certainly, my last blog post before Christmas. I’m about to set off on one of my Granny Progresses, though I’m a lot cheaper to keep than Queen Bess was. No retainers and horses that need feeding, no truculent demands for entertainment. I may not arrive with my own bed and carpenters…

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