Saturday, 25 April 2009

I love Holt Library!

As I said in a previous post, I gave a talk on Kindred Sprits at Holt Library last Wednesday evening. I just received this wonderful email from the library manager, Meg Starling, who organised it so beautifully:

Dear Lucy
Thank you so much for your visit to Holt Library on Wednesday. I really enjoyed your talk and I know that the writing group in particular found your honesty about being a writer very interesting and I'm sure inspirational.

One of the ladies has written to the local papers letter page summing up the event rather well - I'm sure she wouldn't mind you reading it (copy below).

"Author Lucy McCarraher visited Holt Library on the evening of Wednesday, 22 April and held the audience enthralled as she shared her varied writing career as a journalist, presenter and business consultant, spanning both Australia and Britain. Lucy then went on to describe, events leading up to the publishing of her first novel, Blood and Water, including a visitation from the spirit world, and her research into the background of the spirit character which gave rise to her second novel Kindred Spirits.

"Lucy read passages from Kindred Spirits, a continuation of the story of the Mozart family, first met in Blood and Water, as they move from metropolitan Crystal Palace to rural Norfolk and find their move to an idyllic farmhouse places them in the midst of dark family secrets which date back decades.

"Lucy generously shared the process of her novel writing, how she wove her research into her novels and the route to publishing her books. After a break for refreshments Lucy answered a wide range of questions from the audience. At the close of the evening there was an enthusiastic round of applause and everyone agreed it had been a most enjoyable event."

Thanks once again and I'm looking forward to experiencing Mr Mikey's Ladies this weekend.
Meg Starling
Library Manager

Thursday, 23 April 2009

BlogNor09: The Halo Effect

Now writing about The Halo Effect for the self-help audio book "The Simpler Life" I'm writing with Annabel Shaw. It's really about first impressions - the traits you first recognise in people tend to colour your impression of the whole person. This is why attractive people are often believed to have attractive personalities and you believe that people who come over as competent in one area, the first time you assess their competence, to be competent in general.

Not always true, by any means. But what might it mean for bloggers? If the Halo Effect applies to blogs, how you come over in the first post people read will characterise your whole blog for them. But do we care? Probably not.

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

BlogNor09: Blogging from Bunwell

Driving from Bunwell to Holt yesterday evening to give a talk on Kindred Spirits at Holt Library, I couldn't have had a better reminder of how beautiful the Norfolk countryside is. It was a glorious sunny evening, and the gently undulating fields of rape and early wheat, angular pine forests and traditionally pretty villages looked simply stunning in the soft summer light.

Holt itself is an exceptionally attractive town and provided me with an interested and interesting audience of readers and writers who listened attentively and asked stimulating questions after the delicious snacks that Meg and Tilly at the Library had laid on.

The evening before I had had an equally enjoyable time talking at Long Stratton Library. The first time I spoke there was nearly three years ago when my first novel, Blood and Water came out. I mentioned then that I was thinking of writing a novel set locally during the Second World War, and a gentleman gave me some useful information about James Stewart and Walter Matthau, who both served as members of the USA Air Force based at Old Buckenham Air Base. I incorporated some of this material into Kindred Spirits, so I was very pleased to see the same man at my second talk, and thank him for his contribution.

Kindred Spirits got a very nice review from Keith Skipper in the EDP Sunday Magazine the weekend before last. He called me "An exciting new talent" and said the book was "...a telling fusion of teasing fiction and local history." Keith also commended me for setting "a perfect example to colleagues in (the tv) medium by employing plenty of authentic Norfolk dialect words and phrases. Perhaps she can pass on a few tips to the cast of Kingdom." What Keith didn't say was that I'd listed his own book, Larn Yourself Norfolk: a comprehensive guide to the Norfolk dialect, amongst my source material in the Bibliography of KS !

He did email me, though, to repeat how much he'd enjoyed the book and suggest that I submit it for this year's East Anglian Book Awards (sponsored my Jarrolds and the EDP) - which I have now done.

Today (23rd April) is BBC Norfolk's Blogging Norfolk Day, when they hope to create a snapshot of Norfolk life across the East Anglian blogosphere. I was in the Radio Norfolk studio on Tuesday, talking about my third novel, Mr Mikey's Ladies. Mr Mikey has his own blog - perhaps he should make a contribution, though he's hardly a Norfolk boy. A South Londoner, his current home is in Sydney, from where he dispenses Agony Aunt advice to any of his Ladies visiting his e-salon, and other celebrities besides.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Bunwell Book Launch, and more....

So much has been happening in the last few weeks I haven't even had time to update the blog.

First there was another appearance (well, an audio one) on BBC Radio Norfolk - this time as part of the Lunchtime Ladies discussion on Friday 13th March - Comic Relief day.

Then I gave a talk on Kindred Spirits at Diss Library on the 18th. A small group, but a very interested and interesting one - who would have talked on till late, had not the poor librarian finally managed to bring the dicussion to a close. It's amazing how talk of ghosts and spirits (kindred or otherwise) brings out all manner of experiences and opinions that people want to debate and share.

The Bunwell Book Launch of Kindred Spirits took place on Monday 23rd March at Bunwell Village Hall. There was a great turnout, despite hail, wind and rain, and I had a fabulous evening because it looked as if everyone else was enjoying it too. I was able to add all the local information to my normal talk, and I had the brilliant idea a couple of days beforehand, of asking the friends who I'd based characters on to read in their own dialogue as I read the excerpts. Kathy and Babs were brilliant - and Tony got double extra brownie points for appearing in costume, including fake moustache, as Henry Tinker!

The nephew of my ghost came to the Launch! I'd sent him an invitation, but he's a very old man now and I didn't know if he'd make it. At one point he hijacked my talk, telling us more about his uncle than I'd discovered before. Amazingly -- spookily? -- he said a couple of things about his uncle which I hadn't known before, and yet had written into Henry Tinker's story. One was that he came to Norfolk to buy local produce and sell it in rationed London on the black market; and the other that when "Henry's" father-in-law had died intestate, his property was broken into and money stolen. I thought I'd made up these elements of Kindred Spirits - but they were true anyway!

Then last Saturday I joined the North Norfolk Writers' Group to talk about all three of my novels - another very congenial evening!