Friday, 29 May 2009

Maggie's launch

Is anyone planning to meet up before Maggie's launch next week, and if so, when and where? I'd really like to make it if I can (still not sure), and it would be great to meet up with some MNWs beforehand.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009

Bad News...

Last week on Juxtabook’s blog, I wrote an article which talked about getting the email that all writers fantasise about – the offer to publish your work. This week, I find myself writing, on my own blog, about the email that all writers dread, the one that begins with all the things your publisher really liked about your book but whose second paragraph begins with the ominous word ‘However…’. The email that tells you you’ve failed to pull off the difficult second book...

As I've just put up a long post about this and where I'm going from here, I won't duplicate it here but do pop over via the link and have a look if you're interested. It's all, as my mother would observe, part of life's rich pattern. [Actually what my mother said was 'But I really liked it!' Thanks, Mum!]

Meanwhile, I'm hoping to get to Maggie's launch on Thursday next week so hope to see some of you there?



My first guest blog article

I wrote an article about how book design affects readability and it appears today, here:

This is one of my favourite blogs ... the one I read every morning, AFTER I read this one!

Friday, 22 May 2009

From The UK To The States

It's just a little over a week before I come to London to celebrate the Orange Award for New Writers nomination. Last June when I came for the release of Rachel DuPree, I never thought I'd be making a return visit. What a surprise.

I've had another surprise. The Rights Department sold the book to Viking in the States. Viking plans to release it in hardback the summer or fall of 2010, and then another division of Penguin will publish it later in paperback.

I'm thrilled. I'm especially pleased Rachel DuPree follows on the heels of other MNW authors -- Len and Brian -- who have deals in the States. I have no doubt that more of us will crack the market.

We've all come a long way. Here's to each of us.

The Book Business and its Woes

A lengthy, but worthwhile article here by the VP of Farrar, Straus, & Giroux on the current state of book publishing:

Toward the end, see her comments on advances and agents. Should we forward to McCrumble?

ps: How do you make a link 'live'?
pps: I'm sending this link to Will.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Blog URLs

Faye L. BoothThe links list in the right hand sidebar of this community blog is great for keeping tabs on everyone's main websites, but I thought it might be an idea to have a place for everyone to post the addresses of their blogs. For many of us of course our blog is our website (I fall into that category myself these days, although I didn't used to), but there are quite a few MNWers in that link list to the right who only have their domain listed, so it might be nice for us to collect our blog URLs together in one place. That way we can expand our blog reading lists!

If you know of a MNWer past or present who doesn't really monitor this community (and therefore probably won't see this post), you can post their blog address yourself if they don't mind, or poke them into posting it themselves.

So yes - comment to this entry with the URL of your blog - not your domain unless it forwards to your blog, or you have a dedicated blog page there. If you're looking for MNWers to add to your reading list, watch this space and hope they comment with their addresses! I'll add my own as the first comment to get things started.

Interview at BFK Books

Many of you will be familiar with the BFK Books (formerly Book Fiend's Kingdom) site run by Vicky Warren. It has interviews with many writers, including some MNW alumni -- and as of yesterday, me as well.

Pop along here to check it out.

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

The MNW experience shared...

Hi folks! Just to let you all know that I was asked, recently, to do a piece about the experience of being published by MNW for the Juxtabook blog. If anybody's interested, it's now up here. It would be great if any of you felt like leaving a few words in the comments trail as I'm sure to have left things out and each of us will have a different perspective, obviously. Also, do let me know if you think I've said anything controversial - I've tried not to but one person's innocuous comment is another person's red rag!
Hope everybody's writing is thriving?

Monday, 11 May 2009

Congratulations Ann!

Ann is clearly too modest to mention this but it is on the main Pan Mac site:

We are delighted to announce that The Personal History of Rachel DuPree by Ann Weisgarber has won the prestigious Texas Institute of Letters Award for Debut Fiction. Previous recipients include Cormac McCarthy and Larry McMurtry.

Fantastic news Ann - well done and well deserved! Roll on June 3rd...

Friday, 8 May 2009

Irish Book Awards

Well, the IBA dinner was on Wednesday night and Gallows Lane didn't win, but we had a great night anyway. Thanks to all who supported the book by voting.

One of the nicest parts of the evening was meeting the other nominees, Arlene Hunt, Tana French and Alex Barclay who won the award. All three are very charming, very talented ladies. The Irish crime fiction scene is not dissimilar to the MNW family - a group of writers connected by their love of books and glad to be given the chance to write and to be published. It's an honour to be part of both.

Thursday, 7 May 2009

The MFA in Creative Writing Comes to the UK

I just came across an ad in The Writer’s Chronicle that stopped me in my tracks. Kingston University in London is now offering the UK’s first Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing.

MFA in Creative Writing programs are the rage in the States and many aspiring writers see the MFA degree as necessary to achieve the dream of publication. The degree doesn’t come cheap with some universities charging over $20,000 a year for a two-year program. Most programs encourage their students to focus on writing short stories (novels take too much time) or poetry. Some also feature non-fiction writing.

MFA programs can offer student writers the chance to work with instructors who are not only talented writers but are gifted teachers. Students have a chance to network with other writers, and agents often do visit campuses to meet students. Some students are offered contracts based on their writing. However, at the end of the day, most MFA students graduate without a literary agent and/or a contract with a publishing house. Many end up in debt and with limited job prospects.

So what do you think? Does the UK need the MFA in Creative Writing program?

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Robert McCrum recants!

Read it here...

On this occasion, however, his revisionism is reserved for the Orange Prize (which of course we all like too since they've recognised Ann's genius). The Benediction of McCrum for which the Macmillan New Writers so yearn must wait for another day.

Piece by Terri in 'The Independent'

Seasoned MNW hands will recognise Sophie's work in lining up this article by Terri. As a stepfather myself a lot of this resonates - a really interesting piece.

Friday, 1 May 2009

May's Publication

This month Macmillan New Writing launches another career with Terri Wiltshire's Carry Me Home.

An exquisite debut novel about love, loyalty and redemption in the Deep South

Lander, Alabama, 1904. When young Emma Scott claims she has been raped by a ‘black hobo’, a chain of events is triggered that will affect generations to come.

In modern-day Lander, Canaan Phillips has fled her abusive husband and returned to Lander and her fierce Southern Baptist grandmother, who brought her up after her mother’s suicide. Canaan’s one friend during her childhood was her grandmother’s simple brother, Luke. Now frail and elderly, Luke is still living in the corncrib shack that has been his home for thirty years.

In early-twentieth-century Lander, Emma Scott has taken an instant and violent dislike to her new child – a white-skinned boy named Luke. Abused and neglected, Luke eventually befriends Squeaky, a black boy whose family farms nearby. When tragedy strikes, Luke takes to the railroad, and as he enters manhood on the rails, we begin to discover the truth behind the events that led to his birth.

In the twentieth century, Canaan, too, is slowly coming to terms with her painful past. And, with the help of her adored Uncle Luke, she is learning to love again.

This is a heart-rending and luminous story about loyalty, hardship, love and friendship. It is also a reminder that goodness can prevail even through the cruellest hardships.

* * *

Hi, Terri. Tell us a little about your novel, Carry Me Home.
It’s a story about coming to terms with who we are and where we come from. It’s also about the affect that a single incident can have on several generations of one family. There are two time lines in the book, alternating with each chapter.

How did you and Macmillan New Writing "meet"?
Carry Me Home first started taking shape in my mid-twenties. For ten years I told everyone I was going to write a novel. Finally, in my late 30’s, I decided I’d done all the “research” I could do and started writing. It took me eighteen months to write, then another twelve years to get it published! Soon after I finished the book, I sold the film option, which tied up the book for seven years. When the option was up I sent it out again but after 30+ refusals I put it away and gave up. A little over a year ago, my partner read an article about Macmillan New Writing and suggested I send it out one more time, so I did. I think I’ll keep him.

What is your typical writing day?
Unloading the dishwasher, putting a load of laundry on, re-grouting the shower…. Oh no wait… did I say that out loud?

Actually when I’m in the flow (getting there is the difficult part!), I’m like a demon possessed and I forget to eat or drink (unless my partner brings me cups of tea) and I couldn’t care less if the bin was overflowing or the front garden needed weeding.

I’m an early riser and my creative energy is at its peak in the morning, so I usually get straight up and straight at it. I’ve never used an alarm clock. I tend to wake up automatically, fully alert and revoltingly cheerful about 6am. My university roommates hated me!

I usually hit a wall about 2pm and the creative side of my brain takes a hike. When I’ve had deadlines to meet, I’ve tried to work in the evening, but I usually end up deleting most of it and starting again the next morning.

Can we please have the traditional Four Random Facts?
- I did three seasons of the TV series “Dallas”. I usually played a waitress (I’m very talented when it comes to pouring coffee and chewing gum at the same time)

- I run a corporate role-play company in South Wales. I have 25 actors who work for me in training and assessment centres all over the country.

- I paid my way through University by singing back-up vocals and commercial jingles for a local recording studio.

- My partner is a Richard Gere look-a-like and we have many friends in the “industry”. Our dinner parties include Pierce Brosnan, Samuel L. Jackson, Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie and Cameron Diaz

Do you have a writing mantra?
Do it right, do it wrong, but DO it!

Do you compose by pen or by keyboard, or what...and why?
Keyboard. I taught myself to ten-finger type when I was in college to save paying someone to type up all my research papers. I’m a very fast typist and when I try to write with a pen 1) my hand can’t keep up with my brain and 2) I can’t read my writing.

There’s also something very freeing about deleting big chunks of text or moving it around the page to find a better rhythm.

Will you share the greatest influences on your writing?
- John Steinbeck for his gritty earthiness and willingness to show ugliness without censorship and still, somehow, creating a sense of dignity.

- Eudora Welty for her sense of humour and eccentric characters.

- Laura Ingalls Wilder for her simple context of time, place and history.

- Stephen King for his ability to make you feel like you’re cosied up around a fire listening to a friend spinning a great yarn.

And, the last question: What would you rank as the most ludicrous moment in your life?
Oh my… so many to choose from-

  • The time I was working as a news presenter for an NBC regional television station and a moth flew into my mouth. I spewed a half-digested bagel and cream cheese onto the news desk during a live broadcast.

  • The time I was playing a seduction scene on stage, accidentally fell into a pickle barrel and got stuck.

Terri, thanks for sharing - especially about the pickle barrel - and good luck with Carry Me Home.