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Tuesday, April 15, 2014

What do you write about anyway?


Fellow writer Joan Fallon asked me to write about ... how I write. I checked out her blog and found a really interesting interview with a writer I thought I knew, J.G.Harlond. I say 'thought I knew' because the interview revealed aspects of Jane and her work that are new to me. So these are some of the blog posts that will have to wait, while I keep my promise to Joan Fallon; I'm not (yet) blogging about

- my new adopted dog, Sherlock, a 'lost' hunting dog who spent 8 months in a shelter. My plumber (a passionate 'chasseur' himself) agreed with me that odds-on Sherlock is crap at hunting and was dumped in August as a clean-out before the new hunting season. In honour of Lou, we adopted a dog no-one else would want (according to the shelter workers).
Sherlock

- or my beekeeping course. Some readers of 'How Blue is my Valley' have been asking me what's new here in Dieulefit, since I wrote the autobiography about our first year living in France. Answer; we did manage to buy the orchard complete with an occupied bee-hive. I've now had three all-day hands-on lessons in beekeeping so I can look after them. I wish someone had told me that the moment you put on a beekeeping suit your nose runs, your hair falls in your eyes, and if you focus on the bees all round you to find one inside your mesh visor, you have to hope that she is calmer than you are. (And of course it is 'she' because all the workers are female). I got away with it that time but went right out and bought the full astronaut suit.

Antique Provencal beekeeping veils

For those readers who want to know more about my life in Dieulefit, the May issue of the magazine Living France printed an amazing 5 page feature, using my photos. It is always a little scary to read about yourself and learn something new (like 'what not to say in interview'!) but the journalist, Stephanie Sheldrake, was very kind to me and I didn't once think of Rita Skeeter...

This is the start...



Among the questions not asked in Living France are the three Joan wanted me to answer, so here goes.

What am I working on?
I've paused in writing the third 'Troubadours' novel (after 20,000 words, which is about a fifth of one of my medieval novels) because I was asked by Jean-Daniel Belfond of Archipel Press to translate 'The Last Love of Edith Piaf' by Christie Laume, from French to English. If something exciting comes my way, I say 'Yes!' and this is the true story of the relationship between a star at the height of her fame and a talented, beautiful man twenty years her junior, told by his sister. Forget the stereotypes about toyboys. I will certainly be saying more about this book on my blog!

The Last Love of Edith Piaf
How does my work differ from others of its genre?
I won't bore you with mentioning each of my works! If I just take my medieval novels, they are drawn from research in the original French and Occitan, as well as English, so I think the European historical background is unusual and, I hope, accurate, although I also hope it's the story that hooks readers.

How does your writing process work?
I'm a morning writer and a 3am thinker. I write for two or three hours at a stretch, using a laptop, and often outdoors. I always stop at a point where I know what comes next and - touch wood - never get writer's block. I do 'play' my novel in my head at 3am when I can't sleep and I watch what the characters are doing, hear what they're saying, sometimes from future scenes, sometimes revisiting ones already written that have something wrong or missing. I sometimes think that writing is a form of licensed schizophrenia. 'I hear voices'.

Translating, which I enjoy very much, is very different from writing and I can pick up the thread and translate for half an hour at any time of day.

Three blogs you'd recommend?

Check out 

the entertaining blog of a writer with an interesting background

Paul Trembling


I began making up stories before I could write, and that became a habit that I never got out of.  Over the years I’ve gained weight, lost hair, been a seaman, a stores man, a petrol pump attendant, a janitor, a missionary, and an Admin. Assistant.  Now I’m a CSI, a husband, a father, and a dog owner  - but I am still, and always have been, a story teller!

a funny blog by a writer of zany comic fantasy

M.T. McGuire


humorous fantasy author. The books are quite funny too. MTM is 44 years old but still checks inside unfamiliar wardrobes for a gateway to Narnia. None yet. Boring huh?


and then someone who represents all those writers who blog about what they love, for readers who share that love; bloggers who write so well, whether they see themselves as writers or not. Sometimes we 'writers' are in danger of writing only about writing... instead of writing about bees, dogs, French singers or... Yorkshire, with beautiful photographs taken by blogger

Paula Connelly in Nothing but Footprints



The aim of my blog is to share all the things I enjoy as I walk round the British countryside, including scenery, photography, history and nature. This includes reviews of gear bought by myself and my husband, and places we visit, along with different articles on all kinds of walking related topics. As the old saying goes, I'll take nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints.


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