Thursday, November 11, 2010

The mysterious case of the disappearing website...

Well, it's publication day - the perfect day for my website to disappear! I am looking into it, and hopefully I will crack the case soon and all my chapter excerpts and inane ramblings will be back online with the minimum of delay.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

New books, writing in a rush - plus your chance to be a khaki-clad Action (Wo)Man

Ugh, don’t you just hate it when the clocks go back?

Here in Barcelona, we’ve been trying to hold off the moment when we switch on the central heating (itself a luxury – many apartments have no heating at all) but last night we succumbed. Though when I went out to buy emergency tissues for a developing cold, I found it was warmer outside than in.

Anyway, as many of you will be aware, November doesn’t just bring darker evenings, but also National Write a Novel in a Month Month or whatever it’s called now. The name confounds me, but I do like to join in. Usually I fail – it’s somewhere around about the middle of week two (i.e. today) that apathy sets in and I begin making my excuses. Even though as a full-time writer, I have fewer excuses than most…

This time, I’ve chosen to work on the second in my Soul Beach trilogy, which might be easier to write in a rush than a stand-alone book. And the Nanowrimo target of 50,000 words isn’t all that far from the 65,000 final tally of the first book in the series, whereas my adult books are closer to 110,000. So it does feel like I could write a whole novel in this time – albeit a novel in hideous shape!

So I am fitting in my 1667 words a day around my two hour daily Spanish class, my bike ride there and back, a trip to the gym (am trying to stay fit after my monstrous Fitness Boot Camp, which I will blog about another time but is the muscular equivalent of Nanowrimo, except with no motivational chocolate biscuits, and a lot of shouting from men in khaki). Plus, my page proofs – the final chance to correct errors before a book goes to print – are due to arrive from the UK this week for The Secret Shopper Affair, and also my editor from Orion Children’s is sending me some editorial notes for the first Soul Beach book.

Somewhere in the middle of that, I will be fitting in a little light Christmas shopping, and a trip to the UK. Oh, and possibly a masterclass in making chocolate desserts.

That last one really is a very tough research job, but someone has to do it.

And – how could I leave it till now – The Secret Shopper Unwrapped is out in paperback this week! It’s a really Christmassy novel, with a fabulously festive cover, and it takes up the stories of Emily, Grazia and Sandie – plus a new, very stroppy secret shopper who will shake everything up. If you'd like a taster, the first chapter is on my website…

Or you can win a lovely fresh copy over at Mel’s wonderful High Heels and Book Deals blog, where there’s also an interview with me, plus a picture of my favourite blue suede shoes. The Daily Mail announced this week that Clarks shoes are now the height of fashion, something I realised years ago. I never saw myself as a trend spotter but there we are!

Oh, and in other news - if you're after an unusual Christmas present, you can bid to name a character in one of my novels after yourself, a friend or family member - and in aid of a great cause, Autistica, which is the largest UK charity researching the causes of the condition. I will admit I am very nervous about being on the list with some seriously famous and 'proper' authors - including David Mitchell and Maggie Gee - and there's a distinct possiblity I might have to bid for my own character, just to make sure I am not the only writer with no bids at all. The winning name will pop up in my Boot Camp novel - so if you fancy yourself as a honed PT instructor or a reformed couch potato, this could be the one for you. Go on. It could be fun!

The auction begins on November 11.

I'll be back at the end of Nanovember with a final word count. Meanwhile, if you’re Nano-ing too, I am caffeinefuelledwriter – do buddy me!

PS: spare a thought for my neglected Ford Ka on Thursday as it goes in for its make-or-break MOT. It’s been more loyal to me than I have to it, but I am hoping it will make it through the rain …