Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Gill Arbuthnott: The hectic life of a writer

Gill Arbuthnott has just launched her latest novel The Keepers' Daughter. She takes a moment out of her very busy schedule to give us an insight into just how hectic her life has been lately...

Goodness me, what a week! I feel as if I’ve been living about three people’s lives simultaneously recently, and unfortunately, what’s left of my brain seems to cope by keeping me awake so that I can go over and over where and when I need to be. Of course, this leaves me sleep deprived and slightly hysterical, so if what you’re reading doesn’t make sense, that’s probably why.

I’m about to launch my first novel for four years (four years – how did that happen?), and I’ve been a bit nervous about talking about it; I feel as if I’ve forgotten how to just talk about a book, rather that having an interactive show, which is what I do for my non-fiction. So, it is with an empty stomach (much too nervous to eat lunch), and an over-filled brain (see previous paragraph), that I approach the schools’ launch of The Keepers’ Daughter… I wish I was as brave as my characters.

Two Hours Later

Hooray! I’m feeling completely elated, because things have gone so well. Scottish Book Trust put together a fantastic event (thanks everyone, especially Jasmine, Chris and Heather) with pupils from a number of schools in Edinburgh and Glasgow. I managed to find some readings that didn’t give away any of the surprises in the plot, and once I got going, I loved talking about the book. The real revelation was the questions I was asked: so many, and so perceptive! There were a good number I’d never heard before, and I’m still thinking about the answers to some of them. In particular:
Which other author would I like to collaborate with? I think the final answer is Terry Pratchett. (I should be so lucky.)
Which character would I like to play in a film of any of my books? On reflection, I think one of the modern day witches in Winterbringers, and not just because they’re the only characters who are old enough for me to play them…

I’ve also done an interview for Teen Titles with a completely bonkers (and I mean that in a totally positive way) group of pupils from Holy Rood High School. We got talking about the fact that I use music to get me in the right frame of mind for writing, and Kimberley (I think) suggested I put a playlist on my website. I certainly will, once I work out how to do it. I must thank them too for their amazingly generous present of a Smart Car. It will be very, very easy to park, as it is only about 4cm long… It is now sitting on the desk where I do a lot of my writing, ready to inspire me.

And now, I have to change writing gear completely, and get ready to go to Melrose for Borders Book Festival to talk about a completely different book, and next week I’m in Dundee, and then it’s London… and it would be nice to think I might fit in some writing as well.
I need to find out how to clone myself. But that’s another book.
Other news:

Harris Finds His Feet by Catherine Rayner wins the CILIP Carnegie & Kate Greenaway Medal 2009.

Nicola Morgan's Deathwatch Dash sets a new record for the greatest number of separate school talks by one author in one day!

Ayr Academy Library's brilliant blog - Juist bletherin’ an’ guid craic! - is definitely worth a read! Check out what they have to say about SBT's events with Sophie McKenzie and Anthony Horowitz.


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