Monthly Archives March 2014

Field of Flowers

The Golden Globes, BAFTAS and Oscars are finished. The book prizes are yet to come in 2014. So I thought that was it for this awards season. So I got a real kick to receive a nomination for a new award ‘A Field of Flowers’ from the lovely Rachel Carrera. Thanks Rachel! She likes blogging awards because they ‘pass the love around’ and help us all to find new bloggers. So check out her blog here. Rachel is a writer, and like me she’s been thinking of and writing stories for as long as she can remember. Then last year came a turning-point, for three nights in a row she dreamed the same dream which she is turning into her novel The Prison. As Rachel [in Florida] and I [in the UK] are both writers, I thought I’d take this opportunity to pass on this award to my fellow authors in the global blogging world. Please check out their blogs:- My London writing buddie Alison Chandler has just posted a new excerpt of her novel Tidings which tells Marty’s story, the rise of his rock band from Wales and what happens when success hits. She’s now working on her next novel The
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

I agree with… Joanne Harris

Joanne Harris “When I think about why I write, I don’t think it’s very easy to quantify. I’ve always read, and I’ve always written. As a child, it seemed the most natural thing to do. But I grew up in Barnsley in Yorkshire, where I didn’t think people could actually have something like a career in writing.” Excerpt from an interview with Joanne Harris [published March 2nd, 2014] ‘The Sunday Times Magazine’  Absolutely, this sounds like my beginnings as a writer. I too grew up in Yorkshire, not Barnsley but the East Yorkshire coast where the winter wind is so strong it can knock you over. I too read and wrote voraciously as a child, everyone said I would become a teacher [as Joanne Harris did]. But I decided that to become a writer I must become a journalist first. I clearly remember an interview with the A’level careers officer. I told her what I wanted to do and she frowned, “Well you can stop dreaming about that, only the top 2% get to do a job like that. You need to be more realistic.” Suffice to say I ignored her. I went to university in London [the first from
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Book review: Insurgent

I didn’t read this straight after Divergent, the first of the trilogy by Veronica Roth, and so felt at a bit of a loss at the beginning of Insurgent. I could have done with a brief recap, a couple of paragraphs would have sufficed. So this made me irritated for the first few pages. Book two is very action-led and the pace fairly trips along. I’m still trying to get a handle on Tris’s character, she is a complex mixture of two factions: her upbringing in Abnegation [considerate, selfless] and her adopted faction Dauntless [brave, daring, reckless]. It’s a dangerous mixture which gets her into trouble, and that drives the story along. She is confrontational, brave, but often makes questionable decisions. She distrusts Four’s father and believes he is misleading them: “…sometimes, if you want the truth, you have to demand it.” Demand, not ask: this tells me more about Tris than about Four’s father Marcus. We do see more of Tris’s inner world in book two compared with book one, perhaps because she is maturing into her Divergent personality. “I drift off to sleep, carried by the sound of distant conversations. These days it’s easier for me to fall
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Categories: Book Love.

Film/Book: ‘All the Birds, Singing’ by Evie Wyld

There is to be a film of All the Birds, Singing, the captivating novel by Evie Wyld [below]. The tale of mysterious Jack unfolds between Australia and England. The film rights have been bought by Capa Pictures and Asylum Giant. Carola Ash [below], producer and CEO at Capa Pictures, is a former head of production for Warner Brothers International Television while CEO at Asylum Giant, Mark Lo, worked on films such as The Railway Man, starring Colin Firth and Nicole Kidman.  To read my review of All the Birds, Singing, click here. To listen to Evie Wyld talk about why working in her bookshop, Review, in London, is a good grounding for a hopeful author, click here. Read The Guardian’s review of Evie’s book here Visit Evie’s website here.   ‘All the Birds, Singing’ by Evie Wyld [UK: Vintage] Buy now Read about these other books, made into films:- ‘Last Orders’ by Graham Swift ‘These Foolish Things’ by Deborah Moggach And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: Film/book: ALL THE BIRDS, SINGING by Evie Wyld #books & #film via @SandraDanby http://wp.me/p5gEM4-Qg
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Categories: Book Love.

New books coming soon

Abbie Ross  Doubleday has signed two humorous novels by debut author Abbie Ross. Hippy Dinners, to be published in May this year, is set in Wales in the 1970s. The second novel is un-named. Alan Warner Their Lips Talk of Mischief is the eighth novel by Man Booker Prize-longlisted author Alan Warner. To be published by Faber in August, the book is set in the 1980s and follows two penniless writers who share a flat. MP Wright Debut crime novelist MP Wright has signed a contract for two novels with Black and White Publishing. Heartman follows the story of JT Ellington who has recently arrived from the West Indies in 1960s Bristol. The first of a series of books featuring Ellington, Heartman will be published in July this year. TV rights have been optioned by World Productions. Kirsty Ferry The Memory of Snow, an adult fantasy novel by self-published author Kirsty Ferry, has been bought by Choc Lit in a two-book deal. The Memory of Snow will be re-launched by Choc Lit this spring. Ferry’s second novel, a time-slip story, will be published in the autumn. Ferry is the second self-published author recently signed by Choc Lit, Melanie Hudson was signed in
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Categories: Book Love.

‘Ignoring Gravity’: what’s going on

It is two weeks since I got the news that Ignoring Gravity was going to be part of the new publishing imprint Britain’s Next Bestseller. The launch is on March 28, 2014 so the countdown has started! I now have provisional front covers, which I am very excited about – I wrote a fairly tight brief and my graphic designer has done a great job. Out of the eight dummies he produced, I immediately discarded two.  I stuck the remaining six on the wall, so I see them every time I walk upstairs, and have already discarded another three. It is vital to get this right, as everything else seems to flow from the look of the cover. In order to write the brief,  I visited my local bookshop and looked at cover design: the new titles on displayed on tables by the door, and older titles in the bookcases. I didn’t worry about the title at this point, I was looking for covers that caught my eye – title, use of colour, image, typography. Then I went home, stood in front of my bookshelves and pulled out book after book. The subsequent pile yielded some covers I really liked,
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Categories: Book Love and On Writing.

Famous writers, writing: Steinbeck

The question I get asked most often, when meeting someone for the first time, is ‘where do you get your ideas from?’ I know my answer is disappointing. I don’t know where my ideas come from, I just get them, they fly into my head. I do stuff to help: I stimulate my imagination by reading, writing, I go to the theatre, to museums, I go for walks, I watch documentaries, I listen and observe. And I think. I agree with John Steinbeck [below]. “Ideas are like rabbits. You get a couple and learn how to handle them, and pretty soon you have a dozen.”   ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ by John Steinbeck [UK: Penguin] See these other famous people, reading & writing:- John Updike George Orwell Iris Murdoch And if you’d like to tweet a link to THIS post, here’s my suggested tweet: Famous writers, writing… #author John Steinbeck http://wp.me/p5gEM4-AU via @SandraDanby SaveSave
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Categories: On Writing.

One year old, what a journey!

A year has passed since I published my first post here. Looking back, I didn’t know much about blogging. I saw it as a way of getting my writing out into the public sphere, getting people to read it. What I didn’t expect was the huge community of bloggers who love books, reading and writing, just as much as I do. So THANK YOU to everyone who has read my blog over the last 12 months – thanks for finding me, and liking me, and adding your comments. It’s been a real learning process, some things worked, others didn’t, it took me quite a while to figure out how to work WordPress. Some things are still a mystery to me! To read my very first post, a short story called ‘Magic and Mischief’, click here ‘Magic and Mischief’ was a finalist in the London New Writing competition in 2002. In 2003 it was published in Diaspora City: the London New Writing anthology [pub. Arcadia Books] along with short stories by Maggie Gee, Iain Sinclair and Toby Litt. Buy it from Amazon here
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Categories: Book Love, My Short Stories and On Writing.

Book review: The Bear

Claire Cameron knows the forest where The Bear is set, and it shows. I could not put this book down, from page one I was hooked. It is important to say that although the point-of-view of The Bear is a five-year old girl, Anna, the voice is not like Emma Donoghue’s Jack in Room. The two books are completely different in tone, the children are very different. The tension in The Bear comes from the dual vision of the story – Anna’s perspective, seeing but not understanding; and the reader’s imagination filling in the reality of the scene as Anna describes it, worrying about the consequences. Anna is almost six, her brother Stick is almost three. Anna is pre-occupied with trying to behave as her mother and father have schooled her; despite the horror of the situation, she worries about doing what her mother tells her to do, being polite, remembering that Stick is too young to understand. The threat is always there: when the two children are trapped in Coleman, the family’s metal anti-bear food store, and Anna is wishing her mother would let her have a Barbie, I was worrying about what was outside Coleman. It is a
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Categories: Book Love.