Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Summer writing

Summer is a rubbish time for writing. Or is it just me?

Too many distractions. If the sun is out, the beach is only a hop, skip and jump away and then I’m no good at staying chained to my desk, or even to a pen and paper for that matter. Which is why I’ve been so lax about posting notes here. Sorry about that.

As the sun grows hotter, I become more cunning at displacement activity. I stare blankly out of my study window seeking inspiration and suddenly spot a begonia or rose that absolutely must be dead-headed right there and then, on pain of death. But once I’m out there, that’s it. I’m done for. It’s only a short step to the woods. To the badger set. To the tennis court. To the ice-cream seller on the beach. (My special favourite: honeycomb dripping with Devon clotted cream. Mmmm.)

But today I have answered an email magazine interview, hunted out the pages on Stalin’s Five Year Plan from my mile-high pile of notes, and written a first personality sketch of one of my new characters. (When you start putting details of a character down on the page, instead of just chatting to them in your head, they suddenly acquire a stubborn life and will of their own which can be quite disconcerting.) This burst of activity is because I’m bunking off tomorrow.

Tomorrow provides me with the perfect guilt-free displacement activity. I can skive off for the whole day without a single twinge of conscience because I’m going up to London by train to meet with my lovely LittleBrown editor, Joanne. But there are Good Things and Bad Things concerning this:

Good Things:-
a) Three travel-hours each way of uninterrupted reading for pleasure.
b) A yummy lunch.
c) Wine.
d) Joanne’s delightful company.
e) Meeting others from LittleBrown for the first time who deal with PR, media etc (I envisage them all scarily Armani suited and with sharp haircuts).
f) Hearing lovely plans for The Russian Concubine launch in the UK – on 1st November - in case you haven’t heard.
g) Talking cover-design, blurb etc for my next book.
h) More wine.

Bad Things:-
a) Have you seen the cost of rail tickets to London???
b) Suffocating on the Underground in blistering summer heat. Nooooooo!
c) No ‘real work’ done.
d) Traipsing up and down St Martin’s Lane hunting for the model-car shop in the hope of getting my mitts on the Schuco my husband craves.

So just to make the day feel more like ‘real work’, I’m planning on a visit to the British Library to get in a couple of hours research. At least it’ll be cool in there. I’ll post the results!


Kate said...


I finished The Russian Concubine yesterday, and I loved it so much! Please tell me you're writing a sequel!

Kate Furnivall said...

I'm delighted to hear people are getting so involved with the book. Yes, of course there will be a sequel. I couldn't leave Lydia like that!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kate,

Thank you so much for sharing this amazing story with us. I am also delighted to hear that you are writing a sequel. Being of Chinese origin and married to an Australian I do wish Lydia and Chang will have the same happy ending !