(AND Another Library Talk)
Well, it’s in the window of the Sutton Coldfield branch. What an honour to be rubbing elbows with Nick Hornby, Maeve Binchy and Colm Toibin’s Booker-shortlisted novel, Brooklyn, a novel I thoroughly enjoyed.
As in so many occasions in life, luck plays a major role: Brooklyn is one of those beautifully written miniatures which convey deep emotions with the lightest touch, but alas for Toibin, that year it happened that he was up against the vast and colourful canvas of Hilary Mantel’s magnificent Wolf Hall.
My most recent gift of luck was when I found out about the new publisher, Transita at just the right time in their short history. A few months later, and it would have been too late for The Dangerous Sports Euthanasia Society, so I’ll always be grateful to them for their quixotic venture into the cut-throat world of publishing.
I can usually recognise and welcome good fortune when it knocks on my door – the real challenge though, is managing to remain satisfied with what can quickly be regarded as merely the first instalment , in line with the adage, ‘Much wants More.’
My real test came with the runaway success of the novel with an even more quirky title than mine: A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian. I was reluctant to read it, as I often find that novels which have received a huge amount of hype turn out to be a disappointment. In fact, I did enjoy it, but I felt that it didn’t quite live up to all its rave reviews. Praises that were heaped on that book, matched many of those in reviews of my own novel, and I struggled to ignore the whispers of the green eyed monster – why should Marina Lewycka have received the full lorry load of luck?
When I realised that she was the object of an interview on Radio 4, I was quite prepared to dislike her, but she seemed to have had the same struggles towards publication as I did, and came across as such a nice woman, and was so genuinely enjoying her good fortune that all my resentments evaporated, and I was able to feel happy for her.
OK, so I haven’t been able to give up my day job, but there have been numerous pleasures in becoming a ‘published novelist’ that I am still enjoying. One of the best of these is being invited to visit reading and/or writing groups to talk about my books. Last Friday I was at Weoley Castle Library in a cosy meeting room with every chair taken and a beautiful, working ‘blind’ dog at the feet of its young owner. As usual, I probably talked too much and didn’t give enough time for questions, but everyone (except the golden retriever) seemed to be interested, and several bought copies of both my books, after one had announced that Paper Lanterns
would make a good Christmas present.
What a clever idea – it would make a great Christmas present and a warming good read in this icy weather!! Maybe I’ll produce a Christmas postcard from this photo - it looks suitably festive. If anyone wants to order a copy of Paper Lanterns (or The Dangerous Sports Euthanasia Society) from this site before 24th December, I’d be happy to enclose a card with it. Just let me know, via the ‘Contact Me’ page above.
BY THE WAY - CLARISSA’S INTERVIEW, featuring my tiny contribution, (see the post below for more info) WILL BE SHOWN AT 10.00 IN THE MORNING ON SUNDAY 5TH DECEMBER.
(The first programme of the series starts tomorrow and features June Brown (Dot from Eastenders)