Monthly Archives October 2013

‘Ignoring Gravity’… sisterly love

DIANA’S SISTER, KATE INGRAM “Oh Rose, look at this.” Lily held a photograph of their mother and Aunt Kate. The sisters stood side by side at a barbecue. Rose recognised the style of dress her mother was wearing from the contents of the wardrobe now: a round-neck, knee-length pale-coloured shift. Rose would have laid bets that it was lilac. Kate’s long wavy dark hair was plaited with beads and she wore a paisley crinkly skirt with tiny bells sewn along the hem. Rose could almost hear them ringing.” [excerpt from ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby] Coming soon… ‘IGNORING GRAVITY’ #1 – the first instalment of Rose Haldane’s captivating story.
Read More

Categories: My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

I agree with… Natasha Carthew

Natasha Carthew “When I started writing my first novel Winter Damage I found myself drawn to the outside countryside around me out of necessity. It was a way to clear my head and immerse myself fully with the world that my characters inhabited. “As a poet I have always written out of doors, the notebook and pencil stuffed into a pocket as I walked the cliffs and beaches of my home village as a child, something I was always used to carrying. To be engrossed in the countryside was to know inspiration was close, to be prepared and ready to write was to be lost in the moment. “When I sat down to write ‘Winter Damage’, from the time ideas started to form in my head to the final editing process the book was written entirely outside with the forever fields of South-East Cornwall as a backdrop and the stunning moors behind. It wasn’t long before the characters from the book sat down with me and trusted me enough to share their incredible story.” [excerpt from an interview with We Love This Book]  I love this idea of writing outdoors, but sadly get so involved at my computer screen that I
Read More

Categories: On Writing.

‘Ignoring Gravity’… diaries, secrets…

“Rose held the book for a moment before opening it at the first page. The handwriting was easy to read: tiny, italicised script, every letter carefully formed, every serif perfectly angled in relation to the full shape of the letter. A very neat version of the script familiar from every birthday card her mother had ever given her. Each diary entry was headed by a date, underlined precisely with a ruler, written in blue ink.” [excerpt from ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby] Coming soon… ‘IGNORING GRAVITY’ #1 – the first instalment of Rose Haldane’s captivating story.
Read More

Categories: My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

Short story heaven 28/10/13

An unpublished story by Stieg Larsson Brain Power, a previously unpublished short story by Stieg Larsson, is to appear in A Darker Shade, a new anthology of Swedish crime stories published in the UK by Head of Zeus. The editor of A Darker Shade is John-Henri Holmberg who was a personal friend of Larsson. The anthology will include stories from Eva Gabrielson, Henning Mankell, Per Wahloo and Maj Sjowall. The anthology will be the first collection of Swedish crime short stories translated into English. At the Malga I didn’t know what a ‘malga’ was until I read this story by Catherine McNamara. Afterwards I Googled it to find out a bit more. A ‘malga’ is an alpine hut, as described clearly by McNamara in At the Malga, a charming story of juxtapositions. Past/present, snow/sun, winter/summer, husband/stranger. An encounter between two strangers, left behind at an Alpine hotel by their fitter companions; one is tired, the other injured. They walk towards a malga, a walk that may lead to more than cheese. There is a wonderful sensuousness about their companionship. They pass a lake. “Veronique had never paused here this long, except to loosen her neck scarf or apply sunblock. But
Read More

Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

‘Ignoring Gravity’… Mum, Mummy, Mother

ROSE’S MOTHER, DIANA HALDANE “Diana’s clothes hung in the wardrobe organised by colour. Rose took the turquoise Liberty-print floral blouse off its hanger, sniffed deeply. It smelled faintly of moth balls. She was surprised at the sudden swell of tears in her eyes. Lily gave her a sympathetic pat on the back. Rose admired her mother’s strong conviction about what colours suited her and wished she had that discipline: nothing red, brown or orange was given rail space. Three old-fashioned hat boxes balanced on top of a heavy brown suitcase; how typical of their mother to use hat boxes.” [excerpt from ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby] Coming soon… ‘IGNORING GRAVITY’ #1 – the first instalment of Rose Haldane’s captivating story.
Read More

Categories: My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

Famous writers, writing… Jonathan Franzen

Jonathan Franzen “The work of yakkers and tweeters and braggers, and of people with the money to pay somebody to churn out hundreds of five-star reviews for them, will flourish in that world. But what happens to the people who became writers because yakking and tweeting and bragging felt to them like intolerably shallow forms of social engagement? What happens to the people who want to communicate in depth, individual to individual, in the quiet and permanence of the printed word, and who were shaped by their love of writers who wrote when publication still assured some kind of quality control and literary reputations were more than a matter of self-promotional decibel levels?” Jonathan Franzen famously writes in a quiet room without telephone, wearing headphones to blank outside noise and distractions. Renowned for being anti-Twitter he criticized Amazon, in an interview with The Guardian, for spearheading the culture of immediacy at the expense of traditional authors. Read the full article here. Read my review of Purity and the opening paragraph of Freedom.   ‘Purity’ by Jonathan Franzen [UK: 4th Estate] Buy now See these other famous people, reading & writing:- Vincent Price Marilyn Monroe Virginia Woolf And if you’d like to tweet a link
Read More

Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

‘Ignoring Gravity’… Rose, the identity detective

“She fell forward slightly as the door opened leaving her finger suspended in mid-air. She smiled at the woman who stood on the doorstep who looked about Rose’s own age except for her eyes, which by right belonged to the face of a very tired 70-year old at the end of a long day. ‘Hello. I’m Rose. Rose Haldane. My mother lived here, in the Sixties. I wondered if I could have a look around?’ ” [excerpt from ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby] Coming soon… ‘IGNORING GRAVITY’ #1 – the first instalment of Rose Haldane’s captivating story.
Read More

Categories: My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

New books coming soon

Katie Flynn Saga author Flynn, who has published 35 novels including The Runaway and First Love, Last Love, has signed a deal for four new novels. Cornerstone will publish two books a year, one in summer and one at Christmas, for the next two years. The first book will appear in hardback in August 2014, and in paperback in November 2014. Cal Moriarty Moriarty, a writer from the Faber Academy, has signed a two-book deal with Faber including thriller The Killing of Bobbi Lomax. The novel, to be launched in summer 2014, follows a series of bombings in a sleepy US town and the investigation that follows. The suspect is a rare books dealer who could be a genius, or a devil. Kate Hamer A former Curtis Brown Creative student, Kate Hamer, has signed a publishing deal with Faber for two novels. In The Girl in the Red Coat, eight-year-old Carmel is abducted by an elderly man at a festival. Her mother Beth searches desperately for her. Simon Pasternak Death Zones by Simon Pasternak, to be published by Harvill Secker in summer 2015, explores the mentality of young Nazis in World War II. Set in Belarus and Hamburg in 1943,
Read More

Categories: Book Love.

‘Ignoring Gravity’… sisters, sisters…

ROSE’S SISTER, LILY LODGE “Lily put the jars of marmalade and Marmite back in the fridge, then swallowed her daily folic acid and zinc tablets with the last mouthful of lemon and ginger tea, rinsed the mug and set it to drain. It was her favourite mug, bone china with the Japanese kanji for ‘peace’ picked out in chains of daisies, lupins, bluebells and buttercups. Not as traditional Japanese as peonies or chrysanthemums, but she loved it all the same. William gave it to her soon after they met. The only way she knew what the kanji meant was because it was explained on the price ticket which William had forgotten to remove.” [excerpt from ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby] Coming soon… ‘IGNORING GRAVITY’ #1 – the first instalment of Rose Haldane’s captivating story.
Read More

Categories: My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

I agree with… Ruby Wax

Ruby Wax “I always ask the booksellers to look at me and recommend a book; 9 out of 10, they get it right; it’s usually a book about someone dysfunctional. To me bookstores are like brothels of imagination, each book is luring me over going, “Read me, read me.” [Ruby Wax, talking as part of the Booksellers’ Association ‘Books Are My Bag’ campaign in support of UK high street bookshops] I totally get what she means. Books are not inanimate objects! Check out the Books Are My Bag campaign here. If you agree with Ruby Wax, perhaps you will agree with:- Barbara Taylor-Bradford – for me it all starts with a memorable character Rose Tremain – in a sense, writers live their lives twice over Jane Smiley – setting a daily wordcount encourages the words to flow   ‘A Mindfulness Guide for the Frazzled’ by Ruby Wax [UK: Penguin Life] Buy now And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: Ask a bookseller for a recommendation: I agree with… @Rubywax http://wp.me/p5gEM4-wA via @SandraDanby #books
Read More

Categories: Book Love.

‘Ignoring Gravity’… Rose, the journalist

“Rose walked through the revolving doors into reception, breathing deeply of the overly-cleansed highly-perfumed air of the two-storey glass lobby. It was preferable to the smell outside: jammie shortbreads were coming off the conveyors at Butler’s Biscuits today. It was Friday.” [excerpt from ‘Ignoring Gravity’ by Sandra Danby] Coming soon… ‘IGNORING GRAVITY’ #1 – the first instalment of Rose Haldane’s captivating story.
Read More

Categories: My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

Great opening paragraph 45… ‘The Secret Agent’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“Mr Verloc, going out in the morning, left his shop nominally in charge of his brother-in-law. It could be done, because there was very little business at any time, and practically none at all before the evening. Mr Verloc cared but little about his ostensible business. And moreover, his wife was in charge of his brother-in-law.” The Secret Agent, Joseph Conrad  Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Jack Maggs’ by Peter Carey ‘Original Sin’ by PD James ‘The Heart is a Lonely Hunter’ by Carson McCullers And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: A 1st para which makes me want to read more: THE SECRET AGENT by Joseph Conrad #books http://wp.me/p5gEM4-eE via @SandraDanby
Read More

Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

‘Ignoring Gravity’… who is Rose?

ROSE HALDANE “There were hundreds of varieties of rose and some days Rose certainly didn’t feel like she merited the association, though she preferred the name to Rosemary. “I’m a flower, not a herb,” had been her standard retort as a child. Sam called her every derivative, every bastardisation, including Roz, Rosa and once even Rosalind, Shakespeare’s heroine. This insulted Rose the most, she preferred Beatrice’s wit. ‘Rosalind’, she’d written in a sixth form essay, ‘was rather wet.’ Her teacher had scrawled across the bottom in green ink: Subjective. Prove it. Facts not assumption.” Coming soon… ‘IGNORING GRAVITY’ #1 – the first instalment of Rose Haldane’s captivating story.
Read More

Categories: My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

↑↓ Going Up Going Down 14

↑ Authors defend green countryside The Lake District [below] inspired William Wordsworth, Wessex inspired Thomas Hardy. Now some of the most iconic parts of English countryside which have inspired writers and poets for centuries are under threat by new home construction, according to the Campaign to Protect Rural England. An unprecedented list of British writers, including CPRE  president Sir Andrew Motion, Philip Pullman, John Le Carre, David Lodge, Bill Bryson and Jeanette Winterson, have protested against excess development. The letter to Government called for change: “As artists and writers who have been inspired by the matchless beauty of England, we urge the Government to support the three basic principles set out in CPRE’s charter to save our countryside. First, build on suitable brownfield land first, rather than unnecessarily sacrificing the countryside. Second, real localism: give people a proper say in shaping the places they love. Finally, we must build more houses – not executive houses on green fields, as is too often the case now, but well-designed affordable homes in the right places.” ↑Rankin on stage Dark Road, Ian Rankin’s first stage play, earned four curtain calls at its premiere at Edinburgh’s Royal Lyceum Theatre on September 25, 2013. Written
Read More

Categories: Book Love.

‘Ignoring Gravity’: coming soon

Sandra Danby’s first novel is the story of four women, two generations… 1960s Two sisters… Diana, logical, controlling, desperate to be a wife and mother. Kate, an actress and rebel. As different as two sisters can possibly be… 2000s Two sisters… Diana’s daughters Rose and Lily. Rose is a journalist, stuck on a treadmill writing about gluten intolerance and fearing she’s too old to get her big break. Lily, butterfly-minded, happily married, desperate for a baby. As different as two sisters can possibly be… Two diaries… The discovery of a diary reveals a secret hidden for a generation: Rose was adopted. Who were her parents and why didn’t they want her? She uses her journalistic skills to get to the truth. But what is the value of truth when a secret happened so long ago and the people involved are dead? Can the sisters put aside their differences to discover the answers? In the course of a year, Rose will become a detective though she will never solve a crime, attend a murder scene or chase a burglar. She will be a detective of identities. But first, she must discover who she is. ‘Ignoring Gravity’ is the story of Rose
Read More

Categories: My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity'.

Great opening paragraph 44… ‘The Hunger Games’ #amwriting #FirstPara

“When I wake up, the other side of the bed is cold. My fingers stretch out, seeking Prim’s warmth but finding only the rough canvas cover of the mattress. She must have had bad dreams and climbed in with our mother. Of course she did. This is the day of the reaping.” ‘The Hunger Games’ by Suzanne Collins Amazon Try one of these 1st paras & discover a new author:- ‘Brighton Rock’ by Graham Greene ‘The Last Tycoon’ by F Scott Fitzgerald ‘Tipping the Velvet’ by Sarah Waters And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: A 1st para which makes me want to read more: THE HUNGER GAMES by Suzanne Collins #books http://wp.me/p5gEM4-eT via @SandraDanby
Read More

Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Reading for research… ‘Run’

When you are writing a book – not even writing, but at that early stage of tossing around ideas in your mind – sometimes you read something which sets your creative juices flowing. Run by Ann Patchett did that to me. My first novel Ignoring Gravity was written and I was well into the planning stage of its sequel Connectedness. Some characters were continued from the first book, but I spent a happy time considering new characters, spending time with them, coaxing them along, seeing them become real. It was at this point that I read Run, the story of Bernard & Bernardette Doyle an American couple who, after the birth of their son Sullivan, are unable to have any more children. They adopt Teddy, and then his older brother Tip too. It is a story about family, biological and non-biological combined. The phrase that leapt off the page at me was this:- “‘They could have gone to someone else,’ she’d always said to him. That was the part of it she never could get over; that these sons who were so unquestionably hers could just as easily have gone to another home, a different fate. But what they never said was
Read More

Categories: My Novel: 'Connectedness', My Novel: 'Ignoring Gravity' and On Researching.

#Writingprompt Writers’ BLOCKbusters… cinnamon

Try this writing prompt from Writers’ BLOCKbusters to get you started writing today. Go to the spice rack in your kitchen and find a jar of cinnamon. Smell it, taste it. Consider the sensations, remember your first reaction. Now write a paragraph about how it makes you feel. Use these ideas to write 50 words of a new story where the air smells of cinnamon. © ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’ by Sandra Danby Want more inspiration? Try these other writing prompts:- Looking Over the Parapet Anonymous People Berries  What are ‘Writers’ BLOCKbusters’? I want to help you put words on the page. Those words won’t necessarily be the first line of your novel, or indeed anything to do with your novel, but they will be words to fill that intimidating blank space. And it couldn’t be quicker. Writers’ BLOCKbusters is a collection of three ebooks of writing prompts. Why are they different? Precisely because they are short, easy to use, and flexible. Designed for writers of fiction, any genre, novels, short stories, flash fiction, they are suitable for all genre of fiction precisely because each exercise is based on a subject unrelated to whatever you are struggling with. I am not looking over
Read More

Categories: On Writing and Writers' BLOCKbusters.

Book Review: Doppler

This book by Erlend Loe defies description, but I’ll have a go. It’s about Doppler, a Norwegian guy who after the death of his father has an accident on his bike and subsequently turns his back on civilization to live in the forest. His sole companion is Bongo, an elk calf which he feels responsible for having shot Bongo’s mother for food. The conversations with Bongo made me smile. It’s a tale about family, grief, alienation and a gradual warming towards civilization again, or so you think. No matter how much Doppler wants to be alone, he seems to attract people around him. It’s a charming tale with a cutting edge. Doppler is happy in the forest but is a keen observer of the society he has rejected. Forced to communicate again with his pregnant wife and two children, he struggles to cope with modern society and his responsibilities, Teletubbies and Bob the Builder included. His teenage daughter Nora, named after an Ibsen character of course, insists on talking to him in elfish. His son Gregus forgets the television and instead helps him carve a totem pole, intended as a memorial to Doppler’s father but which comes to represent the
Read More

Categories: Book Love.

Applying the rules of art to writing: it’s a process

“Art is the product of process: Whether conceptual, experimental, emotional, or formal, the process you develop yields the image you produce. The materials you choose, the methods of production, and the sources of the images should all reflect the interests that command your attention. The process does not stop with each work completed. It is ongoing. The cumulative result of that process is a body of work.” Excerpt from ‘101 Things to Learn in Art School’ by Kit White Whatever the style of writing, whatever the genre, it has to be an ongoing process. The parallels with art are true. Writing a novel is a process of evolution, characters develop, plots take an unexpected turn, the first page changes numerous times. If you write what you set out to write, you’ve missed a trick [to paraphrase a famous author who said this much more eloquently than I ever could]. ‘101 Things to Learn in Art School’ by Kit White [MIT Press] And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: It’s a process: applying the rules of #art to #writing http://wp.me/p5gEM4-x8 via @SandraDanby
Read More

Categories: On Writing.