Sunday, March 27, 2011

The sequel to Macbeth - you wouldn't read about it

I have been touring this past month. It's NZ Book Month. Go Book Sellers NZ for their initiative but can I just take someone quietly into the back room and slap them about for bringing demanding readers up to me who want to know: WHAT HAPPENS NEXT and WHEN CAN I GET A COPY OF BIRTHRIGHT and when's the film out?

I slap my head metaphorically but also in private literally.
What happens next? The book is now due out April 2012 and my lips are sealed.
See above. How long is a piece of string?
The story of Fleance, Rosie, Duncan and Rachel is a powerful story. Set in 11th Century Scotland, we meet and come to love four young people who have their hopes, histories, dreams and plans knocked sideways by forces outside their control.

As an author I have to say that I always care about my characters but this story... Well, these guys it's been something else.

I've already killed off a number of characters who I love. And I've cried. More will die because that is the way of life.

But I am a lover of happy endings and I promise you dear reader that at the end of this trilogy you will be happy. Sad, but happy. And satisfied that the right outcome was realised.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

I have a confession

I slept in. I did not get out of bed until 10am. I spent the day in my pyjamas almost cracking the cryptic crossword and reading the paper then watching a dvd. This is a huge thing because I am a work-holic! About 2pm, I began to feel really unwell and spent the rest of the day wrapped in blankets lying on the couch referee-ing my daughters and appreciating that the family WAS okay to operate without my hands-on interference.

Two or three or four times a day (daily this past month), I open the file called Birthright first draft . I scroll through what I've done and tinker here and there. But I have no mojo to go into the second half of the second act. I seriously envy writers who, um, write and have no other distractions save the washing or dusting or gardening. The ones who don't have other jobs. The ones who don't have teenagers or small children or needy family members which may or may not include a mash-up of the former groups. The ones who are grounded in healthy habits and solid self-esteem.

Someone made an off-hand comment to me today and it hurt and the person immediately understood that the comment was wrong time wrong place and tried to make amends but, me being tired and mourning real and imagined tragedies, cried for about an hour.

I was heartened by seeing the youtube clip of this song which is one of my current favourites and is No 1 in NZ and then going on to read 'the story' of how they all came to be.

Just now, I have stood in my kitchen listening to one of my children cry about her frustrations that she can not be what she has been and what everyone expects of her and what she wants for herself. She is tired. She misses her boy. She has been working hard. She still does not have 100% health. But she gives gives gives [love love love] to others who have not had the good she's had. It could have been me standing in her shoes.

All I could offer was: it is hard.

Yup. And sometimes it feels like it is harder being a writer than it is being a parent, teacher, waitress, farm labourer, fleeso, cleaner, child, aunt, Head of Department, participator in creating a new school or reviewing the nation's English curriculum.

Being a writer means that the interwoven strands of your thinking, your life, your emotions are pulled out and laid bare on a gravel road for all others to trample over.

Both my children are gifted artists. One has gone down the music road though she is graphically artistic; the other has gone down the art road though she has a sensitive ear for music. Both care about the way the world treats the inhabitants of the world.

Both had still experienced the harshness of living in a fallen world despite our best efforts to protect them. They are great girls and hubby and I love them to bits. That's why I cry when they cry.

I could keep going about where our minds should be with the stuff happening in the other parts of the world....

The one things which comes back to me again and again and helps ground me is this:

I lift eyes to the hills.
Where does my help come from home?
It comes from the maker of heaven and earth....

Go look up the rest but it sums up for me The Windhover of GM Hopkins. Get out there and do what I need to do...

11th C Scotland is currently a more desirable place than the 21st C

Sunday, March 13, 2011

the reason why I have stalled

I am trying to kill off a character I adore. This character has to die for the sake of the story but I'm fudging around the chapter and it's holding me up. Tonight, the deed shall be done and I will deal with the aftermath.


Sunday, March 6, 2011

The lastest print review of Bloodlines

Second in trilogy excites

Bloodlines by T.K. Roxborogh, Penguin, $40

The Americans can’t figure our whether to put Roxborogh’s trilogy in the adult or young adult section, but it you ask me it should be in both. Anyone gutsy enough to take on a story by Shakespeare deserves credit.

In her second of a three-part series continuing the story of Fleance, son of Macbeth character Banquo, this Kiwi writer has produced a seamless continuation of an enthralling tale.

In Banquo’s Son we followed Fleance’s road to becoming King of Scotland and in Bloodlines he rules a divided nation, battling rebels from within and enemies from outside.

There’s everything here – history, drama, love, war, mystery and intrigue.
This is a damned good story which will leave you drumming your fingers in anticipation of the final in the trilogy.
– Ingrid Tiriana

Saturday, March 5, 2011

I think is time I was writing again

Damn it! I'm having so much fun being my other self. We have taken in two beautiful wonderful girls from chch (one from France) and I'm trying to do the accounts. Write the book! write the book! is the mantra I'm being whacked with. But, I've got the flu. I just want to stay in bed and keep warm.


Thursday, March 3, 2011

Update from a travelling writer

I will start at the end of my journey. Which is arriving home and dumping my bags and going to the loo.

I see that STILL the bathroom has not been cleaned. Every mother reading this is going to be nodding her head. I asked. I asked again. I lost my rag and was told that I need to stop nagging. When I left on Wednesday morning I reminded the eldest that it had now been eight days since I first asked her to do what is the only ‘key chore’. And, I added, I hope that when I get back I find a clean bathroom.
I didn’t.

I hate mess. I love order and clean surfaces. I despair at the build up of dog hair on the bottom of the couches and chunks of fur clinging to the carpet and the tuffs which gather in the corners. As I write, the kitchen is a mess of dirty pans and dishes.

I don't think I would cope if I were transported back to the 11th C Scotland especially as I doubt I would be part of the nobility.

When I stumbled in at 9pm, he and they were watching telly. I had asked for dinner to be saved. Dinner saved was a single burger bun drying by degrees in the oven and some cooked bacon and egg. No one rushed up to make me a hamburger.

It took me 40 mins to drive from Dunedin airport to home. I had to wait ten minutes for my bag. The flight from Christchurch was pretty good although we had to wait for a time on the tarmac and it was a tad hot and the descent into Dunedin airport ‘interesting’.
The tiny plane (wahhh) from Blenheim to Christchurch held its own and it was a smooth ride (remember, I hate flying). It was a chore to walk for ages to get into the terminal but how lovely to be greeted by the amazing Belynda Smith. She is now officially, after my mother, my hero. Such a short time and so sad and, sigh, I can’t do the thoughts on my birth place just now. Anyway, we were yakking seven million miles a minute when my name was called – it was a polite call but it really meant: get your ass to the plane; we are waiting.

The Blenheim/Christchurch flight was in a tiny plane but thankfully the weather was wonderful. As we descended into Christchurch, everyone on the plane stopped talking as people peered out their windows...

An hour and a half before I left Blenheim, which I am now officially in love with, I’d delivered my addressed and spent half an hour signing books and talking to folks.
The morning I spent at Marlborough Girls High and it was wonderful: talking to the girls and meeting the teachers and meeting up with colleagues from times’ past.

Shout out to Colleen Shipley, librarian at MGH who gave me a much needed hug when I got of the plane from Wellington. (The trip up had been horrendous with three small planes, terrible winds and passengers who needed their barf bags).

Needless to say, I am glad to be home and glad that I can take to my bed but I am no longer secure in thinking the earth beneath me is stable. This realisation has caused a lot of anxiety amongst people in the South Island.

Tomorrow is reality. I have to take eldest to her lecture and turn up to school. That is how things are; I am your mother and we are kind to snails [Fleur Adcock: For a Five Year Old]

But the bottom line is from all these people: hurry up and finish the next book! We want to know what happens.