Archive for July, 2007

To Him Who Waits …

July 31, 2007

I received a letter in the post today, quite a rare event nowadays.

It was from somebody to whom I had sent a copy of The Legend Of Aranrhod three and a half months ago. Before I sent it he had warned me that it might take him a while to read it. After three months the task could so easily have become one of those nagging little jobs that you keep telling yourself you’ll tackle but knowing deep down there’ll always be other things you prefer to do. So how marvellous that Steve took Aranrhod on a short holiday as holiday reading. Luckily, he enjoyed it. ‘Well written, well plotted, with good characters and a strong ending.’

Such comprehensive praise would have satisfied me, but he also sent a cheque for £6.99 and said he was placing the book in the library of the Diocese of Manchester.

Quite a letter. Thanks Steve.

The Irish Launch …

July 30, 2007

For the past week I was in Ireland, a guest of Archbishop Michael Patrick O’Connor Cox and his first cousin Janet. 

Lindsay now has a copy of Aranrhod. She attends school in Dublin.

Maria has a copy. She paid 10 euros for it, so Ireland became the second country outside the UK where a copy has actually been purchased – the other being the USA. It is now incontrovertibly true that The Legend Of Aranrhod is an International Seller. All we need now is a four lettered word inserted between ‘International’ and ‘Seller’. Maria works in a travel agent in Birr in county Offaly, Ireland. She reads voraciously and was devastated to learn that the only bookshop in Birr is closing. When we asked the bookshop owner why she was closing, she blamed Harry Potter, which she’d been banking on as a big seller. We all know what’s happened in reality.

Maud has a copy. A most gracious lady, she lives in Tullamore and knows the owner of a bookshop in Tullamore. Maud said she would tell this friend about Aranrhod. I met Maud in Kinnitty Castle where I was having a cream tea, served by a Polish waiter of course, with Bishop Michael and Janet.

Bishop Michael has his own copy, most of which he read while I was there – indeed he read many pages out loud to me, which was a privilege. At Bishop Michael’s request, I have left 5 further copies with him which he intends to send to some of his many friends.

The Irish are amazing people who live in a beautiful country. I had a wonderful week and I will always carry with me some treasured memories.

Visit to The Kings School, Ottery St Mary …

July 18, 2007

Monday 16th July 2007. It was a great visit. I was made to feel very welcome and I want to thank the Headteacher and the Head of English, and all the library staff for inviting me and organising my visit.

Since it was my first visit to a secondary school, it was a learning experience for me and I couldn’t have wished for a friendlier school in which to climb the learning curve.

Their Year 7 is about 180 students, in 6 classes, so I saw them all in two sessions of an hour each. I thought I would never fill a whole hour but in the first session I ran out of time. I timed the second session better.

It is commonly accepted that it is becoming harder and harder to get children reading books. Let’s hope a few at least will choose to read The Legend Of Aranrhod …

Success …

July 14, 2007

The booksigning this morning at Bewdley Books was a resounding success. Thanks Helen and Glenn for coping with the crowds in such a cool and professional manner!

We sold about 42 books and I signed one more because someone brought in a book that they’d previously bought.

More than one person referred to the Chronicle article.

 Thanks to everyone who came – I hope you enjoy the book!

As soon as I get a pic of the window display, I’ll post it here, all right?

Book Signing …

July 14, 2007

If you’re in Bewdley, Worcestershire, today (Saturday 14th July) between 10am and 1pm, please drop into Bewdley Books in Load Street – it’s opposite the church on the UPside. I shall be selling and signing books.

Nice mention in the Kidderminster Chronicle, I understand. 

 It’s all happening – keep up the good work, Aranrhodians! There are still possibly about 60 million people in this country who haven’t read Aranrhod yet, and they’re going to be so desperate when they’ve finished the last HP, they’ll need something to take their mind off the tragic deaths, etc.

I Think I’m Getting The Hang Of This …

July 10, 2007

I’ve finally, I think, figured out how to run this blog.

 What I’m going to do is this:

I’ll write a new post, which will appear at the top of the front page, but instead of leaving it there for ever until it gets so low down it is automatically archived, or until the month ends, whichever is shorter (or longer – you’ll have gathered blogs are a mystery to me), after a while I will transfer it to an appropriate page on the sidebar.

For example, the post below this, about the riddle – well, there’s the perfect page waiting for it, called ‘Solve the Riddle and Win a Prize’.

That’s what I’m going to do.

But what am I going to do with this post where I explain what I’m going to do? It’s a bit like the chicken and egg only back to front. Maybe I’ll just leave it to float around this page, bobbing up and down. Watch this space, I should.

Now Seriously …

July 10, 2007

What Gave You The Idea ?  –  Part II

I’ve really thought about this seriously, because it began to worry me that I actually couldn’t remember a moment when this story came to me. And I’ve realised that the question ‘What gave you the idea?’ begs another question: which idea?

For a novel is a coming together of all kinds of ideas – for location, characters, style, pace, timing, as well as subplots and diversions. And all these affect the Idea which I know people mean, which is the idea for the story. What I’m saying is that the story is all those other things as well as the plot.

The truth is therefore not that the story’s idea came into my head whole and perfectly formed, but rather that a story gradually formed itself around some of those aspects.

The first idea I had was definitely a girl heroine, because Harry had been a boy. The world was pining for a girl protagonist. And Welsh was the new black, especially with the Doctor Who anagram Torchwood being such a hit with a Welsh heroine. So my heroine would be Welsh.

Next, she had to have a name. Early in the list of names was Aranrhod. The Welsh goddess of the moon. I certainly had no intention of calling her that, but my curiosity was piqued and I went off on a tangent of research, as one does on the Web, and I was amazed to find the Mabigonion, a whole cycle of legends which involved this Aranrhod and my amazement grew when I found she was linked with Merlin and Arthur legends! Here was a whole world I hadn’t known about.

I went back to the list of names and soon found the right one – Carys, derived from ‘love’ in Welsh. But that moon goddess lingered in my mind and all that stuff about her links with Merlin. Names were always important in magic.

Then I realised why Aranrhod was lingering. I love words and the sound they make. Aranrhod reminded me of Aaron’s Rod in the Bible. The story now had some exciting ingredients – a goddess, Merlin, and a biblical artefact of immense power. And a young Welsh girl … yes, what if she lived in Merlin’s old neck of the woods, in North Pembrokeshire? On a farm … Merlin’s Farm?

 And so a story grows and elements like names and places begin to suggest other elements, and you sees links or you make deliberate connections because you can do anything – you are the storyteller, after all.

What I did tonight (on the blog)

July 5, 2007

I started the feedback page. I decided that since nobody is posting any feedback (you’re all too shy, I know), I will start posting the feedback that Dave, my publisher, and I get sent direct to us. They will have to be anon till I get permission to put their names but you wouldn’t know them anyway.

Never Say Tomorrow

July 2, 2007

That sounds like a Bond movie title, but it should be my motto. Yesterday I said I’d talk more about marketing Aranrhod ‘tomorrow’ but things came up and now it’s too late so I’ll have to postpone it. My apologies. Never say tomorrow … isn’t that actually a Bond title? They either have ‘Die’ or ‘Never’ or ‘Tomorrow’ in the title don’t they? Or ‘Gold’ or ‘finger’ of course.

Did it!

July 1, 2007

The Launch

Click on it for a full size picture.