Essential Media Tour Kit for Novelists

Whisky and flamingos

It’s rare that I use this blog to give advice to other writers but on this occasion I’m certain you will forgive my presumption. Are you about to go on a reading tour? Are you on the festival circuit? Do you simply like to be flamboyant from time to time? Yes? Then I counsel you to fix yourself up with a Novelist’s Media Tour Kit (like mine) (okay, maybe not exactly like mine because I’m pretty sure mine is unique).

I’d love to say the inspiration came from me but, as with most of my best work, it wasn’t my idea. When The Backstreets of Purgatory reached its funding target (two years ago already!) my friends assembled the essentials for a media trip (should such an event arise) so I would not flounder in debut novelist’s hell. Next week, I head to Unbound headquarters to sign the special editions of my novel before they are sent out to my supporters and all I can say is thank goodness, thank goodness, I’m well prepared for my venture.

Let’s take a look.

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Of course, neither the tiara nor the flamingo pen Continue reading “Essential Media Tour Kit for Novelists”

Nicola McFadyen answers my Sprout questionnaire

She calls herself a small, angry Glaswegian but she isn’t afraid to admit she is terrified of processed cheese

There are some people that you know you are going to like even if you’ve only ever met them over Twitter. Some people crazy enough to volunteer for this Sprout questionnaire before they’ve actually seen the questions. Some people with the same weird sense of the world as yourself. Or rather, myself. Meet Nicola McFadyen Continue reading “Nicola McFadyen answers my Sprout questionnaire”

A different way of looking at things

Maybe it’s a sign of the times. Maybe it’s because I’m writing. Maybe it’s just the books I’ve been reading lately. Whatever, something has affected me. Something has changed the way I look at things.

Not people. I don’t mean people. I’ve always noticed them for all their weird and wonderful foibles. I mean my surroundings. The environment. Nature.

Okay, I’m gonna come right out and confess. I am an apprentice bird-spotter. Yes, I asked for (and received) binoculars for my last birthday. I blame Amy Liptrot. Until I read The Outrun, I was under the impression that bird-spotting was reserved for the deeply uncool Continue reading “A different way of looking at things”

That difficult second novel

When I think about the output of some novelists, I’m a bit ashamed of how long it is taking for novel number 2 to take off. It has stalled before it has even pushed back (I know these airport terms; one of my friends is an air traffic controller). Has anyone else had this problem? In truth, I half-expected it. If I were a musician, it would be no surprise at all. The curse of the second album is a hard curse to dodge.

To pre-empt any potential difficulty, I had two strategies Continue reading “That difficult second novel”

Why do we read fiction?

Fiction is a strange beast when you think about it. Made-up people in made-up worlds doing made-up things, and yet they have the power to make us laugh, cry, think, flinch, or just go to bed early to catch the next few chapters of their adventures. My own compulsion to read has puzzled me for a long time. I know I don’t feel right if I haven’t got a good book on the go. It doesn’t have to be fiction. I’m not exclusive (although, I admit, most of the time I am).

Why do we read fiction? Escapism, entertainment, sanctuary? If you are anything like me, you might feel there is something necessary about it, but perhaps like me also, you feel it instinctively though you’d be hard pushed to explain exactly what it is. Research on the psychology of reading fiction suggests that Continue reading “Why do we read fiction?”