York Writers’ Festival

Have been very tardy in blogging about this event, but I gadded off to another book-related social happening just a few days after York and have only now – a week later – recovered from the resultant hangover.

First, York…
This was a great event – made all the more so because I met up with Authonomy writing friends, some of whom I hadn’t met before. Between workshops, speakers, one-to-ones with agents and the bar, we hardly stopped for the whole weekend. Very tiring, but informative and great fun too.
On the Friday evening I took part in the Authonomy Live! competition. This consisted of standing on stage in front of 300+ people and reading an extract from my book. Given I’ve never read any of my work to another human being in person before (late-night, drink-fuelled film-making in my shed and reading out loud to the dogs don’t count) it was quite a nerve-wracking prospect.
But… I did it! And without making fool of myself too – which, given the amount of vodka and wine I’d consumed before taking to the stage, was a minor miracle in itself.
You can watch it here, along with the judge’s verdict:

Killing Darlings

I changed the title of my novel at last. It’s now called The Sky is Not Blue.

I think it’s a massive improvement on the old title (The Tipping Point) but several weeks on and I’m still instinctively thinking of my book under its old name. What can I say? I’m a creature of habit at the best of times. Eventually I’ll get used to this new, improved and relevant title.
It comes from a line in the book…
I’m not now sure whether I see Alice as a higher being, a person of such moral strength she can face Truth and look it in the eye without fear; or someone who’s just blind to her predicament, who occupies the same vacuous space as anyone else and finds meaning in each ingrained repetition and never contemplates what her purpose might have been, what anybody’s purpose might have been.

Or perhaps she just craves pain. Some people do.

She said she was rested, we could carry on. She said the view further along was breathtaking. She sounded like an advertisement. She looks across that void and only counts colours, shapes, the lack of concrete. She doesn’t hear the ancient screams lingering in the wind, doesn’t feel the water’s icy shock, the vile suck as Life is dragged down into darkness. The water is not blue. The sky is not blue. I’m not even sure the hills are green.

… but also reflects the novel’s key themes of perception, memory and how these deceive, as well as fitting with the ongoing artistic imagery throughout the story.
I’m happy with it – I just need to get used to it now!