Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Tea on the Radio

Yesterday I was a guest on Paul Oldfield's Nite Klub on Cre8 radio. I had come expecting to talk about my new book, "Clear Gold" but the conversation turned to tea. Now without tea I couldn't function. First thing in the morning, whatever time I get up, it's down to the kitchen and put the kettle on. Sometimes it's three o'clock in the morning, sometimes nine. Then with mug in hand I can sit down at the computer and get down to work.

And how do I make this tea. To my shame I have to confess that I'm a tea bag masher with a spoon sort. Not for me a china teapot, the leaf tea, the strainer and jug of hot water. What I need is m tannin fix. Once I've got that then my day can begin.

Oh and yes we did talk about the book and I read an extract but to hear both you'll have to tune in to www. Cre8radio/listen.


Thursday, 15 May 2014

Dreams, Dreams, Dreams

Writing isn't all about sitting at the computer/laptop/tablet, or even old fashioned notebook. It's also about dreaming. Not the sort where you conjure up your latest best seller; imagine what it would feel like to be interviewed on Breakfast TV, or to glide along the red carpet at the premiere of the film of your book: the one that is about to gross millions and put you right up there with J.K. Rowling in the millionaire stakes.

The dreaming I'm talking about is another form of work. It's what happens when you don't know where a story is going, or you're stuck on a scene, or a character. That's when I get up, switch off and go and do something completely different, something that will let my mind float free.

Sometimes it's walking into town through the trees of Station Walks, or the Brampton Park. At other times I pull up a few weeds in the garden or do some mundane household chores.

Taking a shower is good too.

Yesterday, on my way to Birmingham, it was sitting in the train watching the countryside go by. I'm working on the second book about Mouse and Lanyon, the next in the series after "Clear Gold" and I was having trouble with a character who was threatening to take over the first part of the story.
As I sat and stared at the sun filled fields and crumbling industrial buildings, the answer came to me. Notebook and pen out, I began jotting down ideas.

I had thought I was taking a day off. In fact the journey proved very productive and as well as having a great time with an old friend, the following morning the chapters simply fell into place. At which point, I sat down at the computer and began...

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Stone Pub run by Zombies

Lunch with a  friend should be a pleasant occasion. A trip to the usual pub by the canal at Stone, good pub food, drink and long, long chats. This is my usual experience of The Star. Today however it was not to be as the usual staff appeared to have been replaced by Zombies.

First the wait to be served. We sit, and sit. The waiter, if that is who he is, walks past our table, once, twice, three times. His face is blank. Finally we are asked what we would like to drink. We order and we also give our order for food. We wait. Time passes. We chat. The room is virtually empty, no one comes, no one leaves. No meal arrives.

Forty minutes later I go to the bar. Is there a problem? Apparently not, such a wait is common. I point out it's never happened before and that we are regulars. My comment is met by a blank stare.

Some time later, food arrives. No apology, no explanation. It's good, we enjoy it. No one comes to ask if it is OK.  No one offers dessert, or coffee, or clears away our dishes.

The room empties. We are alone.

If this were SF at this point the poison in our systems would kick in, we would keel over and be dispatched either for alien experimentation, or to have our vital organs harvested, etc.

Nothing happens. The place rattles with emptiness. Our conversation flags.

Since no one is around it would be tempting at this point to leave without paying. It could have been done; instead we go to the bar. We smile politely, we pay.

The Zombies stand expressionless. One sips coffee. Or is it? The cup he raises to his lips would suggest it is, but by now all we want to do is get out of there asap.

Driving home, I begin to wonder. Is all this a way of shutting down the lunch time trade, or is something more sinister going on?

Whatever the explanation, we won't be going there again.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

Thinking in pictures

Apparently #Dyslexic people think in pictures. Talking to friend and fellow writer Mick Walters who suffers from dyslexia he sees his stories as an ongoing film which he then has to translate into words. This made me look at how my imagination functions. If I hear the word "dog" I don't immediately see a dog, as Mick would. In fact the more I think about it, the more I realize that I am a very word orientated person. Except for when I "see" a character, which is often the starting point of a book for me, I usual verbalize my thoughts. Which of course makes it easier to write them down.

The downside of this sort of brain is, that I have very poor spatial awareness. I never really know if I can, or can't fit into a parking space. Also I'm not very good at directions, unless they are written down. I can follow a map, if I hold it the right way up for me and trace our journey with my finger, but far, far easier for me if someone has given me verbal instructions.

I deal in words, Mick deals in pictures, but he too needs to tell a story. I've often wondered why so many people with dyslexia write, even though it's harder for them, than for the rest of us. Now I'm beginning to get an insight into the answer.