Not Celia Rees, anyway. She’s made of stronger stuff, and we’re only slightly scared of her. Celia’s event with Nicola Morgan was full of not worrying about anachronisms, and how you can become a historical novelist despite being rubbish at history at school. (That’s Nicola. Celia did history at uni.)
They know that you must occasionally include Johnny Depp types in your books, and performing operations without anaesthetics might be required. Nicola has been known to stroke old newspapers for period ‘feel’, while Celia told of the decline of ‘lunch with the editor’. These days you meet up for coffee.
Both are into cross-dressing (for their characters, and only for practical purposes), and they keep track of wars and things in order not to ruin timelines in their books. Nicola is too impatient for research, while Celia starts writing and finds out what she must find out. And just as you’d not explain McDonalds in a modern novel, you mustn’t explain too much in historical writing either, since the characters will already know.
After the signing after the event, we were treated to tea in the author’s yurt, where we stood around sharing deep thoughts on blogging. Also got to see the cover of Celia’s new book, out early next year. Very different!
Kurdo Baksi kept running around in the background, so post-tea we went out to see if we could run him down. We succeeded just as he was about to take a big lick at an ice cream, but he was happy to pose for a photo, and the ice cream only started to drip a very little.
Generally it was a day for dragons and ducks, which are much bigger than last year. But then so is the mud. Much bigger. With jaunty little hats. The ducks, that is.
We actually arrived in time to partake of press brekkies, with the most wonderful herby, cheesy scones, and croissants and other pastries. I blame the Guardian. They clearly have needs for proper feeds. Also worked out that the old bit of the yurt is larger than before. The better to accommodate the pastry filled press, I suppose.
Ran into Egmont’s Vicki and Bloomsbury’s Flora, which is a most appropriate name! After the bookshop and before the tea (mentioned about four paragraphs ago), Celia and Nicola, along with Linda Strachan agreed to a private photocall by the willows. They’re a good-looking bunch of authors, whether shot singly or grouply.
Did I mention that it’s warm and sunny? It is. Two lovely days we’ve had. After all, we’re in Scotland. Neil Gaiman did an extra event, after which he needed a drink before signing. Understandable when the man has a queue all over Charlotte Square and back. And did you know he can shrug out of his jacket and place it on the back of the chair, and sign? We caught Nick Sharratt again, doing his resident illustrator bit with little children in the bookshop. Bet they didn’t understand quite what a great deal they got. While still in the shop we saw Patrick Ness again, alongside Moira Young.
And I might just have to take a break here and get some sleep… Back soon.