Friday, May 29, 2009

Stop Press! The news is official (though many of you already know)

BANQUO’S SON, author Tania Roxborogh, represented by Writers House agent
Josh Getzler.

Top New York City literary agency Writers House, LLC has taken on New Zealand author Tania Roxborogh's Shakespeare follow-up epic trilogy BANQUO’S SON.

Getzler said, “I am thrilled to be representing Banquo’s Son and its sequels. I believe Roxborogh’s characters are complex; the emotions are real; the friendships, love affairs and heartbreaks transcend the 11th Century exactly as they should. It is absolutely clear to me that this is a book, and a series, with the potential to break through into the zeitgeist.”

He continued, “I knew I had a real winner in Banquo’s Son when I walked into our office to find one of our young interns, a girl just out of high school, sitting on a chair with tears streaming down her cheeks, rocking back and forth and saying, over and over, ‘Why didn’t he just DUCK?’”

This is the story of Fleance, (Banquo’s son from the play Macbeth), who escaped from the men who murdered his father near the Castle of Forres and ran away to England to live with a poor family. He’s no longer a child,and is out for revenge.Many of Shakespeare’s characters do reappear as Flea (as he is now called)returns to Scotland, but this is a fast-moving, action-packed thriller,only with chivalry.

About Writers House
Ken Follett, Stephenie Meyer, Nora Roberts, Neil Gaiman, Stephen Hawking,and Christopher Paolini are just some of the extraordinarily successful authors on the books at literary agency Writers House, where much-loved bestsellers, award-winning thrillers and record breaking sales have become a way of life. Getzler has been at Writers House since January, 2007, and represents authors ranging from literary novelists to thriller writers to serious nonfiction authors to middle-grade mystery and fantasy writers.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

we need Spock's mind meld here!

What we desire most, we writers, is to take you, the reader, to the viewing room of our imagination. We want you to see EXACTLY what we see - hopefully as WE see it. Sometimes, I lament that I'd have heaps of books written if only I could use Spock's mind thingy and plug a USB cable somewhere into my imagination and have it download into my computer - so much quicker.

Take, for example, the scene I SEE fully with Rachel arriving at a sea port: I can smell and hear and feel every detail as she sees it. It takes but moments for me to do this. But, to write it (as I've tried to do today) is excruciatingly laborious which means I stop and go play with the dogs (who are so cute. Despite what anyone says, Border Collies DO smile and DO laugh).

Then, there is the problem, with the blogsphere, of clicking and clicking onto writers all around the world who are so interesting and have such fabulous things to say about life and writing.

So, that's three paragraphs which are basically saying I'm procrastinating. Hey, here in Dunedin, it's been raining now for a week - Yep, every day; sometimes snow. If I hadn't had to take eldest to work and youngest to piano lesson, I'd have been in my PJs all day.

For the parents out there: tonight is the Y12 Ball at Larnach's castle. I shall drop child and the boy (love him to bits) at school at 7:15, buy a bottle of wine, make may way home through the weather and sit in front of fire with said bottle and glass and good book and stay up until 1am before hubby drives us to pick up tamariki. (for those not of En Zed tamariki is Maori for child/children)

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Final Proofs

I'm looking forward to the final proofs which will arrive today - once I've given it the thumbs up to Penguin, it will wing its way (electronically of course) to New York where, we hope, it will make a huge splash.

After a couple of days feeling frustrated by my inability to apply the bum glue, I revisited some writers whose words of wisdom have encouraged me. The first one is Robin Hyde
In a letter of advice to the then young poet Gloria Rawlinson:

I myself write blotched attempts at poetry from a starved and strange existence. I have not distilled my abstract, perhaps I never shall. I believe that what applies to poetry applies to every art. I must practise five-finger exercises hours a day until the fingers of my soul ache. Go, search for your pearl, searching may cause pain or weariness – either an emotion. Then there’s your pearl, mellow and gleaming… your subtle fingers will know then how it should be set.

I have to assure myself that Bloodlines is safe inside my head and, when the time allows, will fall onto the page that much more developed for its longer incubation period.


Tuesday, May 19, 2009

it's all in my head

so, I've written little for Bloodlines but I've dreamed and dreamed and imagined. OMG, how terrible for Rachel:a dungeon and not your Hollywood one but ewww, human waste (read poos and weeze), cold, very cold, little light. Then, her going 'what the....?' I see it all. I hear the conversations and can picture the senarios but, I do not have the time to record for I must mother, be wife, teach children. All good things. And, let me tell you, all of those enclosed in the previous sentence suck dry every part of me.

I am torn. I wish that it was not on my shoulders alone that I ferry my whanau through their day; I wish that it was not I who must ensure that said whanau is kept (financially) afloat. I did not get a Creative New Zealand Grant for Banquo's Son (you're kidding? Nup!) which means I, the sole organiser of our wonderful family unit needs to look elsewhere to keep us afloat.

Elmo speak: Me tired. Me cry. Me sleep.
Night night

Monday, May 18, 2009


It's been a while since I've posted because the fantastic news I want to share is not yet public knowledge (except my family and friends and the babes). Go here to have a closer look at the details of the published book. Meanwhile, Bloodlines is taking all my thoughts.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

An answer to Jo's problem about Fleance's name (in italics)

‘Ah, there ye go, lad. Come and meet Rebecca and her daughter Rosie. They’ve not long moved to this part of England,’ Miri said. ‘Rebecca’s husband, Dougal, is a cooper and is looking to make a living in this part of the world.’

He had sat down on a stool. ‘This is Flea,’ Miri added.

‘Flea,’ Rosie had said, bowing her head slightly, her voice low and husky. Fleance noticed her long dark hair was tied into a thick braid that hung nearly to the middle of her back. Stray curls were escaping around her face and her green eyes seemed to hold a secret mischief. Then she smiled and he could not drag his eyes away from her mouth – it was perfect: full, red lips; small, straight teeth. And her skin was as clear and flawless as a young babe’s. It was all he could do to refrain from reaching out his hand to touch her face to see if she were real.

‘Cat got yer tongue?’ Miri had laughed. ‘Where are yer manners?’

Fleance shook himself. ‘Sorry, Miri. Greetings… Rosie. And to you, Rebecca.’

Rebecca twittered. ‘How did you get yer lad to speak so well, then Miri?’

‘Ah, truth is, he’s not my lad,’ Miri sighed. ‘Spoke like that when we found him. A right proper boy. Magness says he’s got royal blood in im.’

‘Weel,’ said Rebecca, ‘Whatever it is, tis a nice wee bit of something. But yer name, lad. Seems a strange one to christian a babe.’

Fleance felt his face redden but Miri came to his rescue. 'It suits him well: he's quick and strong and can disappear into the woods like a flea on a dog's back.'

He looked at the girl for her reaction and was relieved to see her smiling warmly at him.

The women chattered on and Fleance tuned out. The publican brought over his drink but, the whole time he had sat there, he barely touched it. Instead, he kept stealing glances at the beautiful creature who sat across from him.
Chapter One, Banquo's Son

I've sent the first 16 chapters back to the publisher because they are to be bound and set out by the marketing department or something. The crazy thing is, even as I write this blog I spot YET ANOTHER lapse - I've amended it on this post but the pages winging their way to Auckland won't have then - I'll have to send a follow up email.

Anyway, I best get ready for school. It's taking me ages to read the proofs because I'm loaded up with NCEA marking. Looking forward to the day when I can make a living with my writing and play at teaching, not the other way around as it is at the moment.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

The devil is in the detail

Friday saw the arrival of the page proofs and it's looking almost like a real book. I love the font and the cool designs at the start of each chapter and break. But.

But, as I'm carefully making my way through, checking for typos and wee problems, I'm seeing some clunks in my writing.

That's not all. My dear friend Jo came for coffee (so we could plot and plan her daughter's surprise 17th - it was a fab night btw) and my Oxford grad buddy's keen eyes spied the open pages of the proofs. 'Why,' she begins, 'have you used the word sez?'

'To show the accent,' I reply.

'But the Scots don't say it like that. They say saes [and she mimics a Scottish accent perfectly]'

'Um,' I say quietly. I hunt out Diana Gabaldin's Cross Stitch. Nope. No sezes to be seen. I'm going to have to change this.

I get up to replenish out coffee cups and come back to find her engrossed in the story. She laughs. This is a good sign, I think. 'What?' I ask.

'The cross bow competition.' She goes back to reading while I butter a muffin. 'Why,' she begins again, 'don't Rebecca and Rosie make a comment about Flea's name? It's so unusal?'

In defence, I hasten to show her two other times comments are made but we both agree there should be some reaction to his name.

Jo loves Banquo's Son and she's soooo good when it comes to details. We discovered I'd made a few errors over ye you and yer I just hope the publisher doesn't despair with the red ink. I will have to be extra vigilant with these details. Probably Harry Public won't notice but I'm hoping everyone who loves Shakespeare will read this as well and I expect a higher level of literacy for these people.

Not wanting to make excuses, but the above is a result of writing the novel so quickly. Also, the beginning chapters are the place where I am learning about the characters and now that I know them so well, I see places I could tighten things up in the narrative.

I'm glad of two things for Blood Lines: I am more familiar with everything and everyone and I have time to craft it well.