Monday, 23 September 2013

Pining for the fjords ...

How are you all? Back in the desert, and I am, to borrow the Monty Python parrot phrase 'pining for the fjords' - thanks for reminding me of that one, John;)

The book launch at converted cinema Eldorado in Oslo was spectacular - every bookstore should have a red carpet and an acapella male voice choir. It was wonderful to be there at the beginning of a vibrant press, Apropos. The team at Aller Media were lovely, my fellow author Hilary Boyd of 'Thursdays In the Park' fame was delightful, and the city ... well you'll see in a moment.

One of the questions Kjell Jorgen Holbye, writer and editor extraordinaire, asked during the interview at Eldorado was: 'what do you think of Norway'? Before this visit, I would have said beautiful fjords, forests, fish, Ibsen, Munch and Ylvis' 'The Fox':

No dancing foxes spotted last week, but now the first thing I'd add is enthusiastic and creative publishers and booksellers. It was so inspiring to be in a place where the largest bookstore in Scandinavia has just opened, and stores like Notabene are buzzing. As a writer, that enthusiasm is like an adrenalin shot to your creativity and work. When I heard that one of the team at Apropos had missed her stop reading the draft of Parfymehagen, it made my trip.

There's also beautiful architecture, including a stunning new opera house (where a lunch of risotto and Sancerre with our lovely host for the day, Gudrun, was only trumped by hot chocolate overlooking the fjord at Frognerseteren, and a spectacular sunset dinner at the Ekeberg restaurant with the whole team). With the amount of food and prosecco we consumed, it's just as well that Oslo is a fantastic city to walk around (I explored for miles each morning after breakfast), and full of great coffee shops, sculpture, art, and shopping. I'd heard about the Super Duper Moods of Norway, and also found a signed first edition George Macdonald Fraser for the delighted pilot in a second hand bookstore near the university for 10K (about £1). I wish I'd taken a photograph in there - the first thing you saw as you walked through the door was a basket of ceramic owls with the note (in English), 'The Owls Are NOT For Sale'. As you explored the teetering stacks you gradually realised that there were owls everywhere.

I went home owl-less but laden with Moomins and Pippi Longstocking for the little ones, salmon and cheese, and a real hope to go back. Hilary and I were seriously plotting how one might get a little clapperboard cabin overlooking the fjord as a writing retreat:) It was a joy, and a pleasure to be there for the launch of Parfymehagen, so thank you to Berit, Gudrun and family, Anette, Linda and all at Apropos for welcoming us so warmly - Takk!  

Now, it's back to 5.30am starts, Carmageddon, high 40s, sandstorms and some serious editing. If you haven't had a chance to download 'The Last Rose of Summer', it's now on Smashwords for free, and at Barnes & Noble, Kobo and many other sites online. Thanks to all of you who have read the story, and emailed or reviewed. And if you need any more encouragement to take a city break in Oslo, here are some photos from the trip - enjoy x

I promise Parfymehagen was blocking 50 Shades 
like this when I found it at the airport ...

Gudrun Roed of Apropos and Hilary Boyd

Stunning sculpture at Viegelandspark


Launch at Eldorado

The other Kate by Mark Quinn (*of course*,
I used to be able to do this too ...)

We'll be back ...


  1. Hullo, Kate -- glad you remembered the dead-parrot sketch. :)

    (Funny: when I first thought of the "pining for the fjords" line, I thought it was from something Thurber wrote. A Google search can immediately, bluntly tell you that you don't know as much as you thought you did, haha.)

    For the grand European tour about which The Missus and I have been fantasizing for over a decade now, Norway (et Scandinavia al.) would definitely be among my top destinations. (She favors southern climes, unsurprisingly.) So I really loved your photos.

    And of course I am delighted with your success. Can't wait to discover what you tackle next. (I don't think you've even vaguely rumbled about what it might be, have you?)

    Impeccable musical selection, as always. Although now I'm wondering what the hedgehog says.

  2. Thank you, John - Oslo was glorious, (and for the Missus warm and sunny still in Sept!) Highly recommend adding it to your Grand Tour :)

    No, I haven't rumbled about the new work yet as it has been a couple of years in the research and writing. I am currently tackling it, although wrestling with a last edit is more truthful. To give you an idea, it's the story of the real Casablanca ...

    And I'm sure the hedgehog would say: ask the Fox ;)


Hot, hot, hot. We're listening ...

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