Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Shelf-ish

A family library is a breeding place of character.
Graham Greene

*some books. Not my books. Generic books from the web.



Yes, it’s Post Publication time. The depression isn’t kicking in too much as I have been very busy. I went yesterday to do an interview for Bookzone.tv which hasn’t actually appeared as an internet channel yet but launches in July online and also via a Sky Channel. That was fun: proper make-up person doing my face (there’s a limit to what can be achieved, but she tried valiantly) and a ban on wearing green due to the ‘green screen’ behind us that they use to superimpose a giant copy of my book. I have quite green eyes and was very nervous that my eyes would seem demonic but it was OK.

They also sprung one of those nightmare questions on me, ‘what’s your favourite book?’ My mind goes blank whenever someone asks that and I ended up saying Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild which is a book I do love, but it seems very lightweight somehow to name a children’s book. I suspect other people will look much smarter by naming Tolstoy or similar.

Now I’m trying to return to normality. I’m doing character questionnaires for all my main people in Book 6 – new approach for me, but I thought it’d be fun to get their ‘backstories’ more sketched out from the start. I also have accounts to do and home insurance to organise.

Even more fun, we’ve had wall-to-wall bookshelves put into our living room so I am trying to organise them. My friend the fessingauthor has been talking about shelves lately and so did this chap in the Guardian. I am adopting a colour-coding approach, which looks fab…but then can’t decide whether to fiction and non-fiction separately. And is it naff to have some of my own books on the shelf?

Interesting aside regarding male/female books: most of the boyf’s books (biographies and non-fiction) have sturdy black spines with big white capital letters (or, sometimes, silver embossed letters). Most of mine are pastel.

I also have a hard-drive recorder full of programmes to watch, including Ian Hislop's Scouting for Boys: it deals with the boy scouts' handbook, a very similar book to the manual I quoted from and used as the basis for Brown Owl's Guide to Life. I came to the conclusion, reading the old Guide manuals (subtitled, 'how women can help build up the Empire'), that there was a definite element of subtle feminism to the early days of the movement (alongside the colonialism and the strange hygiene obsessions).

Now, a plea from Liz Fenwick who has been doing a great job profiling the Novel Racers: if you are one, and you haven’t submitted a profile, then do go onto her site and find out how. It’s fascinating reading about everyone involved.

Oh, incidentally, Rowan – I’ve seen your request to join and we’d love to have you but I don’t know how to contact you. if you send me a message via my website, I will email you just to explain the details?

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7 Comments:

Blogger Jane Henry said...

Hullo Kate, just dropping by to say I won't be coming to the coffee morning this week or next as we're off to Paris on Friday for a wedding, followed by a week in Germany with mil's rellies. I may have all my synapses scrambled on my return by the effort of speaking two languages.

Hope your Post Pub Depression doesn't kick in at all. It shouldn't, because I'm reading The Self Preservation Society and it's brilliant!! I love it and am allowing myself bite sized chunks to spread it out, otherwise I'll gobble it all up in one sitting and be disappointed that it's over too soon. And it's so nice to meet a character who's even more of a scaredy cat then me...

(My current scared cat obsession is that I have to get on a plane in July, and then we will have a pool at the villa we're staying in so I have to worry about the children drowning. And if they don't drown there, my eldest is now ready to swim long distances in the sea, so I can worry about that too...)

Poor Jo, I hope she never has children otherwise she'll be a nervous wreck....

Hope you're shelves are spanking!

love Jx

1:57 pm  
Blogger JJ said...

Hi Kate

I love the idea of colour coding your bookshelves. I'd love to do that, but unfortunately, living with a slightly autistic man means I am forced into having them alphabetised.

Any chance of a photo of your full, colour coded bookshelves?

JJx

2:24 pm  
Blogger liz fenwick said...

I'd be terrified of doing a tv interview and I am positive you looked wonderful:-)

Colour coded shelves.....might work as JJ says lets see yours.

Do you have a set questionnaire for your characters or are you amking it as you go along?

Finally that for the profile plug. I have one for tomorrow and then I'm out and I'll be sad :-( I've really enjoyed them!

4:23 pm  
Blogger Nichola said...

I'm on chapter 17 of TSPS! I had to go out last night and took the book with me to read while I walked up to my friend's house!

Re: the bookshelves. I've started boxing up all the books I own that I've read to clear the way for more. The only organisation I had with them was grouping authors together within a larger genre section. If I start thinking about colour coding and alphabetising, my OCD will really kick in.

And don't get me started on whether or not to group all hardbacks and paperbacks separately!

4:52 pm  
Blogger Helen said...

I LOVE Ballet Shoes too. A book I tried as a child that wasn't my usual beloved Enid Blyton - but one I enjoyed time and time again (still do).

Great choice.

5:24 pm  
Blogger Kate said...

Awww, you're all lovely. Jane and Nichola, thanks so much for the nice comments. I haven't really had any feedback yet so this is perfect timing...

Jane, have a lovely bilingual break - we'll miss you over coffee. And try not to be too scaredycattish.

jj, will post once I've done the shelves, definitely! Liz, yes, I have worked out a questionnaire, based on the Writing the Romantic Comedy book, will post some on Friday! And thanks for the reassurance about telly though believe me, I looked very odd! Nichola - I tried to talk the boyf into genre coding but actually it was never quite going to work.

And Helen, cool about Ballet Shoes. I also loved the one about skating - was it called Skating Shoes or something? And the one about a child actress was lovely, too.

8:48 pm  
Blogger Jane Henry said...

PS Also meant to say, I loved Ballet Shoes too. I think it is not only perfectly acceptable to admit to liking children's books, but shows you are a fully rounded human being. (I would say that, children's books is where I'm at). No one would come to reading/writing at all if they weren't influenced by something they read as a child.

The skating one was White Boots, and I loved that too. Can't remember the child actress one (I soooo wanted to be Pauline in BS, as my ambition was to be an actress back then). I also loved a story I can't remember the title of, which was a timeslip one, where seven children went back to different historical periods and had to solve a problem in each one. It has heavily influenced by own timeslip (as yet unpublished...sob) story called The Druid's Curse....

10:01 am  

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