Thursday, 14 February 2013
Sunday, 6 January 2013
It's always good to get back to my desk after the festivities are over, even if the first task is to clear away the mess and prepare for the year ahead.
I have made a start with a new diary and I have started on a new book (actually two new books, and several other ideas are trying hard to push themselves forward) but I am determined to be more disciplined and so have made a few resolutions.
I found last year that too many days slipped by when I was not actually doing any writing. I was asked at a school at the end of the year if I wrote every day and I mumbled and then had to admit that recently I have found days/weeks going by when I have not actually written anything other than a blog such as this or for either of the two collaborative blogs I write for, ABBA (Awfully Big Blog Adventure) and Picturebook Den .
SO these are my resolutions....
1 To make sure that each and every day I will write for at the very least 30 minutes! More of course would be better, and I will naturally write for much longer if I have a deadline, but this is the absolute minimum.
2 To make sure I am not writing more than one thing at a time (or two possibly- sigh, seems discipline is slipping already and I can't make myself keep to just one after all!)
3 Not to take on too many things that interfere with writing.....
4 To keep those above (because making any more resolutions will just mean I won't keep to them!)
Meanwhile there have been a some lovely comments coming in about Don't Judge Me now that people have got their copies. It seems I may have succeeded in keeping them guessing, which is great. You can read The Bookwitch review on the link on the right. Below are a couple of comments left on Facebook for me, thanks for these - makes it all worth while!
From Gerry (the Mole) 'I'm reading "Don't Judge Me" by Linda Strachan and writing the review in my head already... ' (Looking forward to reading it, Gerry!)
'Last night I was up until 3.30am because I couldn't put down Don't Judge Me. If ever there was an award winning book, this is it. I'll acknowledge up front I know and like Linda and generally admire all her work, but I can honestly say this is an extraordinary book. From the breathless opening to the satisfying conclusion piece after piece of a puzzle drops into place examining how easy and how dangerous it is to misjudge one another. Excellent Y A book that will also appeal to adults.'
'Hi, just wanted you to know I really enjoyed Don't Judge Me! So many twists and so many complex, difficult social issues addressed. Really entertaining and I had to keep reading as the characters get under your skin and you want to know who did what. Thank you :)'
Tuesday, 1 January 2013
Sunday, 25 November 2012
I find delight in the initial idea, which is greeted with a quiet bubbling excitement that grows as I begin to see it take shape in my head. The cast of characters emerge, warts and all, as if coming out of the mist and gradually taking shape. Showing me their true nature as I slowly learn more about them.
The dismay usually comes in about half or three quarters of the way through the book when I become convinced that it is terrible and should be consigned to the bin. Thankfully it is usually soon after that when I begin to see the end and the delight creeps back. I get all excited about the story again because I can see how it is all going to come together.
It is a real emotional rollercoaster.
I don't really plan, at least not much. I prefer to see where the book takes me.
I knew what I wanted to do with Don't Judge Me. I wanted to look at the way we all make judgements about people around us, our friends, our family, even people we meet in the street.
I wanted to look at how these judgements can affect the way we react to people. How even family or friends will underestimate each other, or have preconceived ideas about what someone is capable of - good or bad.
These ideas people have about us might be so different to the way we feel inside; who we feel we are or could be, given the chance. It is a 'whodunnit', but for a long time while I was writing it I could not decide exactly who had done it. I kept changing my mind.
So the book took a bit longer than I had expected, that is when you need a patient publisher. My thanks to Keith at Strident for believing in it, and me!
Once I did get to the end the next thing was to make sure I didn't give away too much too soon- that the suspense is kept up, and basically that the book works! That is when you need a good editor who understands what you are trying to do and keeps a clear and calm head when you are losing the plot, figuratively as well as literally!
So, my thanks to Alison, whose voice is always smiling, as she is here, standing at the back of this photo!
I often need to do research for the books I write and I always enjoy that part of it. When I discover just how much I don't know about the subject I am writing about, that is when I start to ask people. I go out and about, and try to find experts.
|Members of the Fire Service checking up on me!|
I have to say at this point no one is responsible for the way I use the information they give me, because it is after all a work of fiction! And sometimes writers have to use a bit of creative licence in interpreting reality to make it fit the plot.
The hope is that if I do my job well enough most people- aside from the aforementioned experts - will not notice or realise where I have been economical with the facts.
Also I hope that where I have cut corners it is not something that will misinform my young readers in any to any great extent.
I feel there is a responsibility to give them a reasonably accurate view of the world, but most of all I hope to give them a great story that they will not want to put down, one that they will want to read, and tell their friends about.
The book is finally ready and the cover design has to be finalised. Despite the fact that I have had some great book covers over the years, I still get nervous until I see the finished version.
With Don't Judge Me I loved the cover images the designer came up with and then it was only the choice between two or three that were similar but had slight differences.
I was absolutely delighted with the finished cover. It is really dramatic!
The lovely thing about having a book launch is that you can have a party and CAKE and you can share the excitement of launching a new book into the world with friends and readers.
I was especially delighted that we had so many young readers at the book launch from library and school reading groups, along with their teachers and librarians. Some had travelled quite a distance to be there. These are the readers the book was written for and hopefully they will find something in it to interest, intrigue and engage them.
Thank you to all the lovely readers, writers, teachers, librarians, members of the fire Service, also family, friends and neighbours, who came along to share this great evening with me - it would not have been as much fun without you!
|The youngest person at the launch|
Holding the finished book in my hand it always seems as if it is a familiar stranger. The ideas that began this journey tossing about in the seas of my imagination have finally reached land and in doing so transformed themselves from intangibles to the physical, tactile thing that is a book.
Now you can hold it in your hand, turn the pages and read the words, hopefully turning it back into those intangible emotions and ideas.
Dip into the book and you will find out about Suzie, Jack, Jenna and Malky and the people in their lives. But they would each ask of you - DON'T JUDGE ME!
Tuesday, 20 November 2012
|DON'T JUDGE ME Launch cake -|
I think a celebration deserves a cake.
A book launch is a celebration so there needs to be cake, at least I think so.
With the launch of DON'T JUDGE ME last week I thought it was time for another celebration cake and the lovely people who came along seemed to agree with me!
The first book launch I ever had was in 2003, for my picture book
WHAT COLOUR IS LOVE?
I was keen to have the front of the book on the cake and the only way I could think of doing it was to ask a good friend of mine, who made wedding cakes, to make me a cake and paint the cover on the cake,(in edible food colour of course)
.I think she made a great job of it.
|What colour is Love? Cake and some of the cuddly toys I use for school visits..|
When I had my book launch for SPIDER in 2008 I discovered a great on line company (Caketoppers) who send you an exact copy of a photo printed on icing, It comes through the post and works wonderfully!
We had a few laughs messing about in the kitchen but thankfully the cake was ready in time for the launch party and quite delicious!
The same year saw the launch of a new Hamish McHaggis. The Hamish books have been launched in various great venues such as the Falkirk Wheel, Edinburgh Castle, Glamis Castle and also Stirling Castle. But in 2008 we had the launch of The Lost Prince, in the grounds of Balmoral, on a beautifully sunny day. Back at home we also had a small launch party at Waterstones in Edinburgh and it was time for another cake!
Dead Boy Talking was launched at North Berwick High School in 2010 - by the great team of Platinum Pages Publication Promotions and their teacher who organised and promoted the launch, wrote reviews and even wrote and performed a short scene from the book. So once more a cake was the order of the day and was enjoyed by all.
BOOKS and CAKES - I think they go together really well!
Wednesday, 10 October 2012
UPDATE - GIVEAWAY WINNERS!!
Thanks to all those who entered the giveaway.
The winner of the English Version of What Colour is Love? is - CLAIRE F
The winner of the two Portuguese versions of What Colour is Love? (Qual e a Cor Do Amor?) are
- lAURA S and NATASCHA BIEBOW
Could the winners please contact me on
firstname.lastname@example.org with their full names and addresses, also who they would like the books to be dedicated to (or if you simply want it signed let me know that, too.
Monday, 17 September 2012
Excitement because after spending all that time writing it it is going to be great to see someone else's vision of what the book is about.
Dread because this is your baby and you want it to be right, even if you don't really know what 'right' should look like!
SO what is the book about? DON'T JUDGE ME is about just that. We all make snap judgements about people we meet or see in the street.
We even make judgements about our friends. But do we really know them and do they know us as well as they think they do?
Among other things DON'T JUDGE ME is about Arson, sometimes called Fire Setting. It is about a group of teenagers and an arsonist. It's about lots of different kinds of people and how we make sometimes make judgements about them.
I really like the way the flames continue over the spine and onto the back cover.
The title font works really well, too. It is the same as on the titles on SPIDER and DEAD BOY TALKING
I like the way the font looks so different on each book, but still links them together.
There's a great poster, too.
And as it says on the poster
DON'T JUDGE ME published by STRIDENT
comes out in OCTOBER 2012