Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Odds and Ends

On the 1st of November, I went down to London to meet some independent publishers. Despite a bit of a mix-up over the destination, everything went well and it was heartening, after such a long time in the wilderness, to meet so many people who were so clearly 100% behind Sebastian Darke. Also there was Markus Zusak, author of the truly heartbreaking The Book Thief, which I was lucky enough to read in proof form, some time ago. I couldn't get over how young he was. His book speaks with such authority about the war years, and I'd expected some crusty old fellow in tweeds but it transpires, its all based on the stories he was told as a child, by his parents. Read it if you get the chance, it's quite simply brilliant.

I'm still working on A Buffalope's Tale, which is Max's story in his own words. It's going very well (I think!) I'm currently reading The Kite Runner (another heartbreaking story) and meanwhile, a copy of Powder Monkey by Paul Dowswell is waiting patiently at the top of the pile beside my bed. I sometimes think that we writers actually begrudge time reading other people's work, but it's important to do it, all the same.

Any spare moments involve me messing around with GarageBand (which I've had for ages but have only recently discovered) and watching movies. I finally got to see The Departed, the new Martin Scorcese, which was certainly blistering stuff and shows him back at the top of his game. I was entranced by one of the songs on the soundtrack which sounded like The Pogues only more so. The band in question is The Dropkick Murphys (great name!) who it turns out have been around for a long time and have amassed an extensive back catalogue, much of which is available on itunes. Shipping Out To Boston is a good place to start. Cracking track, really raw, great stuff.

Publication for Sebastian Darke is now set for January 4th - oh yes and Waterstones have just placed an order for 3000 hardbacks. So clearly, that new cover was worth all the effort...