Sunday, 21 October 2012

And more chatter

Yesterday I was a guest on Dr Phil Hammond's Saturday Surgery on BBC Radio Bristol. We talked fantasy dinner party guests (I plumped for Jane Austen, Caravaggio, and Paul Simon), I got to pick a couple of records, and chat about The Book of Summers, the upcoming Book Slam collection Too Much Too Young, and what I'm writing next. As well as a GP, Dr Phil is the medical correspondent for Private Eye and a stand-up comic; a very funny chap. I just about managed to keep my laughter at bay (corpsing - not so cool), and generally had a jolly old time; even if all I had to offer Jane Austen was pizza, and found myself haunted by a mysterious and persistent entity named Anne. Moderately chaotic, then... if you'd like, you can listen HERE (I come in around 36 mins, tho' the link will only work until 26th October).

Caravaggio's 'Doubting Thomas' (1602/3) - the first work I saw by the Italian painter. I love the startling realism, and the intimacy of the captured moment. From what I know of the artist, he sounds like the kind of fellow who'd have a tale or two to tell; good and crazy dinner guest material.

Friday, 12 October 2012


This October I've a couple of new interviews online. The first is with Glow Magazine, a follow-on from the 14/4 Literary Dinner I took part in back in March - thanks to Melanie Gow for organising what was a fabulous event (fine food, great company & bookish chat), and LaDawn Clare-Panton for the interview - you can read it HERE. The second is with journalism student Sarah Abrahams. Sarah is a fellow Devon girl, and I met her when she brought along a brilliantly holiday-battered hardback of The Book of Summers to sign when I was in WHSmith in Exeter - you can read that interview HERE. Between the two I talk about getting muddy ankles with Lizzy Bennet, losing my voice in Kigali, and my Arvon tutor Louise Dean's prescription for writer's block... 

Sunday, 7 October 2012


This week I was on the North Devon coast for the Appledore Book Festival. Appledore is a tiny fishing village situated just where the rivers Taw and Torridge meet. With its picturesque location (reminding me very much of Shaldon, one of my favourite South Devon spots, and setting for 'the call'), and such a well-established festival (now in its sixth year, originally founded as a mission to save an ailing - now thriving - library) the trip promised to be memorable. Truth is, the 24 hours I spent on 'bookish business' in Appledore were some of my favourite since The Book of Summers was published - and that's really saying something. There was delicious company in the form of Shelley Harris, author of Jubilee, and Carol Rifka Brunt, author of Tell The Wolves I'm Home, and our very lovely event chair Professor Helen Taylor of Exeter University. Incredibly generous hospitality from our hosts Brenda Daly and Pat Millner. And an enthusiastic and supportive crowd of festival go-ers at our New Voices panel. Altogether, a pretty perfect book festival experience.

When I returned to Bristol on Thursday night I gabbled to my husband. I told him about sitting in the dark drinking wine by moonlight to the tune of crashing waves. I told him about our cream tea lunch with a ginger beer chaser. I told him about the knock-your-socks-off views from upstairs in our guesthouse, and the excellent fry-ups downstairs. I told him how together we'd talked women & reading, ownership of stories, second novel approaches, writerly rebellion, elusive titles, meeting our literary heroes - and that was all before our panel even started. Here's to sweet times in Appledore, and new friends made.