Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Power Lines

How are you all? WKDN is a bit of a monthly event at the moment, but I'd love to hear how you are all getting on with your writing and projects. For me, this month I have finished the last of the work for the MA, so now it's just waiting for the final grade. 'The Perfume Garden' has also been proofed, and is out of my hands. It's a story I've lived with for ten years, so to think of it out in the world is both a joy and a loss. I really can't wait to hear what you all think of it when it is published in June. The most incredible news this week is that it is to be published in Spanish by Ediciones B. I'm overjoyed. That the story is going 'home' to Spain is humbling and amazing. We went back to Valencia at the end of last year - I wanted to double-check a couple of tiny details about part of the city, and it was a chance to show our daughter where she was born. It was one home to us among many, but such an incredible time for me - the birth of our first child, the birth of the books. It's a place that will always be in my heart.

I guested recently over at Daisy Hickman's Studio, writing about memoir. Hopefully it's a post that will be useful to you whatever you are working on. My memoir (which was written for The People's Author tv contest), is still a work in progress. However, a lot of the techniques you can use for mining your past, uncovering the power lines that drive you, can be drawn on to fire your other writing. Writers are great recyclers - we all have our own 'ghosts' and touchstones from our past. I was in Dubai at the weekend for the Emirates Literary Festival, and saw Nicholas Sparks interviewed. It was more like being at a rock concert - the crowd went completely crazy for him. The most interesting thing I learnt was that all his early books were inspired by stories from his own family. His phenomenal success ($1m advance for 'The Notebook', millions of copies sold, translated into over 45 languages), is all built on stories that had resonance and power for him personally. Something for us all to think about when we are casting around for stories.

TODAY'S PROMPT: On the flight back from Dubai, I thought over the many things I'd learnt from the Festival. I had queued for two hours to get Jaqueline Wilson to sign books for my children, and I pondered (briefly), turning to children's literature. The devotion of those hundreds of kids was clear, and moving. I wondered what sets people like Wilson and Sparks apart - why are they so successful when other author's queues stood pitifully empty at the signings. What do you think? Have you ever met authors you admire? Perhaps it's not just that they write great commercial fiction. What I saw in both of them was power, and passion, and dedication, and joy in their work. Maybe this is the difference - they are 'radiators', I think, and they probably would have been whether they were plumbers or writers. They radiate a good energy when you see them, they obviously care about their fans, and they care about their work. Today, why not think about how you can inject some of that power into your work - draw on your heart, your home, your own unique story.
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