Today I am guesting on the Crime Readers’ Association Blog. I talk about how readers sometimes read books through their own personal lens and how one reader objected to my portrayal of Josef Stalin in book 2 of the Poppy Denby Investigates series – when Stalin doesn’t even appear in the book! I do, however, present a cross-section of characters who are both pro and anti-Bolshevism in a period when people were still trying to work out what the new movement might mean. The Kill Fee is set against the Russian Revolution and the plight of the exiled Romanovs in London.Poppy meets an eclectic mix of them including a White Russian princess actress, the killer of Rasputin, and some secret agents from both sides of the conflict. Our intrepid sleuth has to find her way through it all to track down the thief of a priceless Faberge Egg and to stop a murderer from striking again. To read the whole article visit the CRA Blog here.
Today is the 40th anniversary of the Soweto Uprising – 16 June 1976. That infamous point in history, when black school children demonstrated for the right to be taught in English, forms an integral part of my literary thriller The Peace Garden, about a young English girl who befriends a South African political exile. If you would like a ‘novel’ take on how that day 40 years ago impacted one family for three generations, this is the story for you. Click here to get the book The Peace Garden
If you have come to this site after reading Ros Barber’s article in the Guardian about self-publishing, then please know that only half of what I said on her blog was quoted in the article. Yes I did say that, because it’s true, and I was defending her against some self-publishers who were telling her that she should leave her traditional publisher and go it alone as that was the only way to earn money as a writer. As someone who has been both self-published and traditionally published I thought I could give some perspective. However, what wasn’t quoted in the Guardian was the second half of my comment. And here it is:
“I don’t want to give the impression though that I think self-publishing is never as good as traditional publishing – in terms of quality of product. That is not always the case. There are some fantastic self-published books out there that may never get noticed by trad publishers. There are also some awful ones (for many of the reasons you’ve given above). However, I know and highly respect a number of self-publishers who do a great job with both the writing and marketing aspects of the business. My gripe is with the dream industry that has built up around self-publishing. I am very happy with my traditional publishing deals but that does not mean I will never self-publish something again in the future. But if I do it will be with no expectation of ‘making it big’.”
I hope that settles in your mind that I am not against self-publishing just the hype that surrounds it. That is all I have to say on the matter and I hope to draw a line under this now. So if you have brought a pitchfork, please put it down now. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m not going to bother linking to anything. Ignorance is bliss in this case.
My Young David Books are now out in South Korean, published by Life Press. If any of you have friends or family who speak Korean (and might have some children they would like to buy these for) please let them know! I’m so chuffed 🙂 (Would love to say that in Korean, but don’t know how.) And congratulations too to illustrator Amy Warmington (and her husband Andy) who have just given birth to a little boy. We grow Young David fans organically around here 😉
I’m blown away by the latest review of The Jazz Files on Day 5 of Poppy’s blog tour. This reviewer has seen things in the book – things I’ve layered deep into the text – that (so far) no other reviewer has seen. I’m delighted! You can read the review here.
The Yellow Wallpaper which she refers to is a short story by the feminist writer Charlotte Perkins Gilman who wrote the story in light of her own post natal depression in which a woman imagines someone crawling behind the wallpaper in her convalescent room. It is a powerful story of insanity that could have been prevented if women and their ‘problems’ were treated differently. You can read it for free on the Project Gutenberg website.
Today is Armistice Day. At 11am we will stop to remember the millions who have lost their lives in wars and conflicts. Like many I am appalled at how this annual memorial – and the symbol of the poppy – seems to have been taken over as a military recruitment drive. And yet, I still will wear a red poppy. To remember what happened in those blood-soaked trenches and the blood that has been shed since. I also remember my parents who were married 51 years ago today. My mother died in 2013. Today is one of the days I particularly remember her. I started this cross stitch a couple of days after her death. This is for her and my dad as well as for everyone mourning someone’s loss.