Friday, 6 September 2013

The four dimensions

As I write, Marcia and – by extension – I are living in four dimensions. This has never happened before: astrology speak you might call this conjunction. I understand that the planets Venus and Jupiter are about to be (or have just been – this is not my subject) in conjunction and that this is terribly important. It seems it has something to do with being a gift from heaven so from where I sit it obviously applies to my spouse.

Our conjunction comes from a different place – a very different one. It is all to do with timing, of course, which is, I suppose, self-evident. Anyway, the four dimensions are Postcards from the Past (down on Bodmin moor with meanders off to Peneglos on the north Cornwall coast), The Sea Garden (set mainly on the banks of the River Tamar with trips to Tavistock), Indian Summer (I’ll come back to that one in a minute) and Untitled.
We are on Bodmin moor in Postcards from the Past.
This was the closest we got to the "feel" of Mellinpons,
home to Edmund and Wilhelmina St Enedoc.
As I said, it is all to do with timing. In a few weeks time Marcia will be carrying out the annual book-signing tour (see schedule below). Two books will be involved: the paperback of TSG and the hardback of PFTP. The first was written in 2010/11 and the second in 2011/12. Readers will want Marcia to talk about those books but those two worlds are, to her, a distant memory. Both of these dimensions will need some intense exploration before those signings if Marcia is to be able to deal reasonably intelligently with questions.
The River Tamar, the setting for The Sea Garden.
There is a nice story here about trying to remember books about which you are going to talk. Marcia was to be interviewed by Judi Spiers on Radio BBC Devon to discuss, or so she had been told, The Way We Were. She spent a few days boning up on the book and arrived at the studio at the appropriate time. Almost every room in the Exeter studios is fitted with a loudspeaker which keeps everyone aware of what is being broadcast. As usual, when one discussion ends, an announcement is made regarding the next talk and then a piece of music is played. So it was that moments before being live on air, Marcia heard the announcement, “Next we talk to one of our favourite authors Marcia Willett about her new book The Prodigal Wife.

Marcia told me afterwards that her mind went completely blank – Prodigal Wife? – what Prodigal Wife? Needless to say she was the only one to know that she was in a state of panic: by the time the microphones were switched on she had pulled herself together. I have a feeling that this experience is one of the reasons she prepares so hard before these signings.
Here we are on Dartmoor again but not up on the open moors
but in the farmland  that adjoins them.
The third dimension was given a title earlier this week: Indian Summer. Finding titles for books is oddly extremely difficult. We have seen before that Marcia gives her books a “working title” that the marketing department rejects. This is fair enough: it is their job to sell books and they don’t want the title to turn people away but to attract them. Often Marcia is more than happy with the suggestions that are made although there are a couple of times when she has been less so. She always felt that the working title Stony Sanctuary was better that the published title Forgotten Laughter. The book, after all, was set in a granite long house on Dartmoor – a long house in which quite a few of the characters took sanctuary at critical moments in their lives. Anyway, the last couple of weeks have been somewhat overshadowed by the need to title the book that is now in production – and which I will be telling you all about next autumn.
This is in The Dandelion, a coffee shop that is attached to the Moorland Hotel at Haytor.
You will have to wait until 2014 to know why this is important.
Then, of course, there is the book now in the planning stage – dimension the fourth. This is when Marcia drifts away from everything else and enters almost completely into the world that she is about to create, as I have often described.

I suppose four should be five. Somewhere, usually on the periphery, there is a thing called “real life”. It tends to be considered of little importance although there are the usual requirements – food, clean clothes, etc – which do need a certain amount of attention.

This week’s blog dog lives in the United States of America and belongs to one of Marcia’s readers. Sally Gingerbread, as she is called is a cross between a Sheltie and a Chow.

Signings as of today (all signings last 1 hour):

Friday, October 11: Totnes Bookshop 2 pm
Saturday, October 12: The Harbour Bookshop, Kingsbridge 11 am
Friday, October 18: Bookstop, Tavistock 10.30 am
Saturday, October 19: The Torbay Bookshop, Paignton 10.30 am
Saturday, October 26: Waterstone’s, Plymouth 11 am
Saturday, October 26: Waterstone’s,, Roman Gate, Exeter 2 pm

To be scheduled: Waterstone’s. Truro and The Bookshop, Liskeard.