Monday, 28 March 2011

The Beauty Chorus On Tour


Welcome to week one of our WKDN blog tour. 'The Beauty Chorus' is published on Friday, and to celebrate, over the next few weeks I'll be visiting book blogs from Australia to Hawaii, Scotland to America. Today, we begin with lovely Mel over at 'High Heels and Book Deals' who cleverly gets writers to talk about their twin passions - books and shoes.

It's a couple of weeks until I'll be flying home, so in the meantime if you spot 'The Beauty Chorus' out and about on the bookshelves or in reviews, do email me a photo. The best picture will win a signed copy.

Kate x

Monday, 21 March 2011

Guilty Pleasures


One of the great things about being out here is how multicultural it is. I may be living in a desert, but the massive expat population means that everything from our groceries to the TV we watch plugs us in to the whole world. Which I like, a lot. Being married to an airline pilot has its downsides (this month he has been in Brazil, Tokyo - landing just after a #6 earthquake, New York ...), and I have been - well - here, working, changing the cat litter and doing the lunchboxes. A real plus is that the pilot always brings back magazines and newspapers from wherever he's been - so again, you get a global perspective on things.


This helps a lot. It's easy to feel cut off - the media is interesting here. Surreal at times. I'm yet to pick up the World Service, but the local station I listen to has one of the most extraordinary playlists I've ever heard. Everything from 80s pop to opera. Friday morning chores (our weekend is Friday/Saturday here), are done to Country & Western. Last Friday I heard today's clip 'Online' which made me laugh outloud. Then, when I saw William Shatner was in the video, it was a shoe in for today's post. Not a lot of people know this but C&W is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. What's not to love about the big hair, the heartbreak - and crucially the sense of humour. Are there any other musical genres that could have come up with:


- My Wife Ran Off With My Best Friend, and I Sure Do Miss Him
- She Thinks My Tractor's Sexy
or even
Your Negligee Has Turned To a Flannel Nightgown


If you discount good ol' Shania Twain, I've never bought a C&W CD in my life, but I love it when I hear it. Maybe it reminds me of driving across America. I remember watching a bunch of OAPs line dancing in the 'Rock Lobster' near the Circle K liquor store outside Ocean City. They band was playing 'Just a Gigolo' and these people were having a blast. Maybe that's why I like Country - it's fun, pure and simple. There's not many things you can say that about.


TODAY'S PROMPT: So, what's your guilty pleasure? I was thinking about this in relation to building characters the other day. Why not take a look at the main characters in your story, and give them a surprising, guilty pleasure. I remember reading that Edward used to do tapestry in the evenings - imagine him sitting by the fireside chatting to Mrs Simpson, sewing away. Not an obvious hobby for man who would have been King, but a memorable one. What can you come up with today?


PS For those of you with Kindle, I noticed 'The Beauty Chorus' is up on Amazon, and can be pre-ordered here: http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Beauty-Chorus/dp/B004S7BBO0/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1300703301&sr=8-3 Week and a half til publication day :) x

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Let's do it


Happy World Book Night everyone. It was wonderful hearing about the crowds in Trafalgar Square. What have people been doing to celebrate near you? Me, I am officially reading for pleasure tonight. I've just put in a bulk order of books to start researching my next novel, but for now I am reading all the novels I have been dying to read and saving until the writing was done.

Maybe you are the same - night time is the only time you get to read for pleasure? It's also study time here, with near midnight workshops for the MA. I join writers from as far afield as Korea, Africa, Germany and Greece to write each week. One friend mentioned she had interviewed Victoria Wood recently, which reminded me of today's clip. I don't know how humour travels, but I hope you enjoy this. The Hostess Trolley does it for me everytime.

We had an interesting discussion recently about love scenes in novels. The MA group overwhelmingly did not like full blown love scenes in novels, which was interesting. Where do you stand on this?

I have a theory writing love scenes well is rather like trying to draw hands - the most difficult thing to pull off in terms of art. I've read plenty, everything from Henry Miller and Anais Nin to Erica Jong and Jackie Collins. Some work, some don't. One book I read recently (which shall remain nameless, it could be one of a hundred or so ...), had such badly written love scenes, I read them aloud to the pilot and certain excrutiating catch phrases still produce giggles. They marred an otherwise excellent book.

Maybe it comes down to personal taste. For me, the absolute master is James Salter. His prose is always flawless, and he is the single most seductive writer I know. This was a review in the Paris Review about one of his most erotic books:

Encountering James Salter’s A Sport and a Pastime for the first time is like finally springing for that Cabernet your friends have been praising for years and knowing from the first sip the bottle will disappear much too quickly. The novel unfolds in a series of seductions familiar in their outline—lovers, friends, even France itself—but in such exquisite prose that reading each page is to suffer the pleasure of an affair that must end in the morning. Witness the treatment even of a momentary character: “She has been a famous actress, I recognize her. The debris of a great star. Narrow lips. The face of a dedicated drinker. She constantly piles up her hair with her hands and then lets it fall. She laughs, but there is no sound. It’s all in silence—she is made out of yesterdays.” Wow. —Peter Conroy


Wow indeed. Salter's writing is narcotic, memorable. I can still remember every sensory detail about the summer I read that book. Maybe it's as simple as that. It takes a truly great writer to write beautifully about love and sex. What do you think?

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Ask Evie

How are you all? As you probably know by now from WKDN, 'The Beauty Chorus' is being published on 1st April 2011. It's a really exciting time, and I'd love to involve you all.

I've launched a new site today, 'Ask Evie'. From Make Do and Mend to mending broken hearts, the site is going to be full of wartime tips, music, videos and info about the book. It would be great if you'd like to join in the fun by following or subscribing:

http://thebeautychorus.blogspot.com/

I'm hoping 'Ask Evie' will enhance 'The Beauty Chorus', adding background info and continuing the story. The characters from the book will be giving advice about everything from silk stockings to Spitfires, so if you have a question for them, leave a comment and 'Ask Evie'!

During April, I'd love to organise a virtual book tour. Many of you from as far afield as the US, Canada and Australia have been kind enough to write guest posts for WKDN about your work and books, and I'd be delighted to return the favour. If you'd like me to write a post about writing, debut novels or the new book on your site, do get in touch and we can fix up a date.
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