Friday, 9 November 2012

Taking a well earned rest

Another Friday and Marcia is absolutely shattered. This is not really so surprising as she does tend to give of her all when she is with readers. Anyway, I persuaded her to take a couple of days off and I am please to report that (for once) she agreed.
All the photos here are associated with The Sea Garden.
The Royal Albert Railway Bridge (Wikipedia).
However, I can also report that she has had a great time with two pretty unusual events in the last week. First up was an afternoon talk in Liskeard library after which she – and all who attended – trooped across the road for tea, cakes and a signing in the bookshop on the other side of the road. ‟It was really lovely,″ she said, ‟such fun and such wonderful people.″

Then, on Wednesday, to Saltash bookshop in the evening for a talk and (of course) a book signing. This one was special because, for the sake of those who don’t already know, Saltash is near the mouth of the River Tamar on the Cornwall side – and The Sea Garden is set just up river from there. In the prologue to the book Kate is on a train from Cornwall bound for London and actually crossing the famous Brunel railway bridge that links Saltash to Plymouth.

Marcia explained how she had found the setting for this book – which those of you who follow this blog will know about already – and that was followed by a lively question and answer session. Marcia was delighted to catch up with some of those who had been to her talk at Trematon (arrange by the Saltash Bookshop) last year.

Tomorrow she will be in Paignton and that is the end of the signings for this year apart from the one in Waterstones of Exeter which will take place in December. It is clear that bookshops are really struggling and we feel very sorry for them facing both on-line outlets (Amazon and so forth) as well as cut-price books being sold in supermarkets (notably Tesco). Having huge negotiating powers, these giants are able to have a very serious impact on publishers too who are finding their profit margins cut to the bone. Having said that, most of the evidence points to the fact that more people are reading more books (whether in paper form or as ebooks) and that must be a good thing.

Modern technology has its advantages. Not long ago it would have been impossible for me to talk to you all every Friday and I have horrid memories of writing on my old portable typewriter. One particular chapter has lived with me for over twenty-five years: I had to retype it thirteen times before I felt it was right. The computer makes life so much easier. There is, of course, a downside – there is always a downside. In this case it is that there is a tendency to write too much and that has to be curbed. In writing (but not all writers would agree with this) both Marcia and I feel that ‛less is more’. Trimming back, using less words but never losing the message is hard and time consuming work but can result in some superb and economical writing.