Bookwitch bites #4

The week before last at the Unicorn Theatre, I had a long conversation with Sara Whyatt, a friend of Siobhan Dowd’s from International Pen. Or rather, Sara had a lot to tell me. I can’t pretend to know enough about the areas of Pen, except to know they do very worthwhile work. Sara talked a great deal about an Albanian writer, and about plans they have for things to do.

Angels are all the rage, it seems. Lee Weatherly has some Angel books coming out later, but she’s not the only one. Isn’t it strange how things come at the same time? How does it happen? I mean, it’s easy enough to see the copycats once something has taken off. But when it all starts, without prior contact or discussion.

I can’t believe that Penelope’s new novel still isn’t out. And you know I mean Eleanor Updale, don’t you? Her Johnny Swanson still has a few weeks to go before it’s in the shops. P aka E sent me a lovely letter on Random’s special stationery featuring the cover design for Johnny, and it looks so good! Mum Clare did describe the cover design to me, but I can assure you it looks even better when you see it. Looking like an old newspaper, which is relevant to the plot, it’s got a drawing of Penelope, sorry, Eleanor, in full 1920s style clothes. I wonder if she got to dress up?

And Eleanor has a launch party in a couple of weeks’ time, which I can’t go to. It’s in a bookshop in Kew, which is somewhere the witch used to go a lot in the days when you got into the gardens for 10p. Now it’s in the region of £10, and less of a bargain for a green day out. But they do have a nice tearoom. Do you reckon I could persuade Mr Branson to give me a free annual ticket to London?

Nicola Morgan is trying to get some publicity in for her ‘soon out’ book Wasted, in between dealing with plumbing disasters. She says that she will hand out prizes to those who can unblock her kitchen sink the fastest. No, that’s not right. You have to become a follower here. Random prizes to random followers, or something.

New Harry Potter covers

And what’s your opinion of the new covers for Harry Potter? My press release says November, but somewhere else I saw July. Never mind. They’ll be here one day. Do we think they look Harry Potterish enough?

Finally, the young blogging colleague whom I’ve mentioned before, has taken up fiction writing on his blog. I say the adults have to look out. Very carefully, even.


5 responses to “Bookwitch bites #4

  1. Yes, that angel thing is funny. I started an angel novel more than a year ago, but had to set it aside to finish other things and then for a trip into the Slough of Despond, and by the time I came back to it, angels were emerging everywhere. So I’ve dumped it, at least for now – don’t want to look like a follower.

    But why do we all turn to angels at once? I wanted to write something with a supernatural edge, but certainly didn’t want to do vampires or werewolves. I toyed with revenants, but I’d just published a ghost story and it was too close. Angels (whether you make them good or bad) are a bit edgy because you can play with religion (and that didn’t do Pullman any harm). They’re a more grown up choice than vampires, too – and give you more freedom as a writer, since they don’t come pre-packaged with a stake and a bucket of blood or any equivalents. I can quite see that many writers would follow a similar train of thought, and it only takes a few to end up with angels for it to become a new trend. There might well be a few novels about zombies or unicorns or whatever, but unless there is a cluster we don’t notice the writers who chose a different path. Just a thought.

  2. That’s similar to what Siobhan Dowd found when she was halfway through The London Eye Mystery, and The Curious Incident was published. She, too, waited a little. And whereas I can’t have enough aspie books, I can see that some people would just think ‘bandwagon’ and turn off.

    Re angels there was Skellig, of course. Must be ten years ago?

    I’m less worried about authors having similar ideas, than publishers feeling they simply must have more vampires.

  3. Alas, Eleanor didn’t get to dress up in 1920’s garb (well, not that I know about at any rate!). The hat and frock she is wearing are based on those worn by a young lady in an old family wedding photo from 1930. Eleanor did kindly supply me with reference for a load of other things on the cover though.
    Glad you like the cover illustration – it was great fun to do. And the book is a brilliant read too.

  4. Oh well, I quite fancied Penelope dressing up. I suspect I would look ridiculous in a hat like that, so always envy those who can get away with it.

  5. That Chamber of Secrets cover is a bit of a spoiler, isn’t it? Surely, someone, somewhere out there is in the lucky position to read the books for the first time without already knowing the plots?

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