Friday, 23 May 2014

Another contract for Marcia

First things first: you will all be delighted to know that Transworld have offered Marcia another two book contract and I am pretty confident that the next book (which will come out in 2015) will be called The Merchant’s House.

Meanwhile, I am confused. Very confused. It’s all down to the fact that I have far too many characters crawling around inside my head and even remembering which book they belong to is proving a challenge. Meanwhile, Marcia is having a holiday – probably drinking a cup of coffee in the nursery (it isn’t really a “garden centre” I am happy to say) at Staverton, just around the corner from the building that housed the offices of Staverton Construction. Her old dad was one of the directors of the company and was responsible for the Bristol office but would travel down to Staverton once a week to attend meetings. Enough of that – back to the real world.

Yes, I have Sir Mungo and Claude, Evie and Camilla, Archie and Ben, Jemima and Izzy and they are all clamouring for attention. Let me explain.

As you know, for the last few weeks Marcia has been battling with putting the finishing touches to the new book, The Merchant’s House, and I have been reading the revised parts on a nightly basis. We really do live with these people and it comes as a wrench when we have to say farewell and look towards the next bunch to invade our lives. This time, however, before those farewells had been made I (we but I deal with these) received the proofs of Indian Summer which I am working through now (well not now, you understand, because I am now writing to you but I was earlier on). The result is a bit chaotic but I shall survive (although I suspect that is more of a personal challenge than a statement of fact).

From Transworld came the blurb they are putting our with the proof copies. Here is what it says:-

Some memories are best forgotten . . . Some won’t ever go away . . .

For retired actor Sir Mungo, his quiet, home village in Devon provides the perfect retreat. Close by are his brother and his wife, and the rural location makes his home the ideal getaway for his old friends in London.

Among those is Kit, who comes to stay for the summer, bringing with her a letter from her first and only love, Jake, and a heart in turmoil. Years have passed since they last saw each other, and now he has written to Kit asking if they could meet again.

As the summer unfolds, secrets are uncovered that will shatter the sleepy community, and even tear a family apart. But those involved soon realise that the only way to move forward might be to confront the past.

The evocative and moving new novel from the international bestseller Marcia Willett.

Also in the post this week were copies of books from Holland and Poland. 

The covers are so very different, aren’t they? The top one comes from Holland, The Sea Garden, and the second from Poland, The Children's Hour. 

Enough about the vagaries of literature – I want to talk about blue tits. These tiny birds are an ongoing pleasure to us both and we are now back in the business of having a proper bird table which means they are around nearly all day long. In the garden are a number of very old and quite magnificent trees including, alongside the lawn, a couple of wonderful oaks. Some experts estimate that Quercus robur is home to more than four hundred different species of insect and many of these are of great importance to those blue tits when they are feeding their young.
This photograph is not very good (it should have been sharper) but I love the expression on his face. Not that it is an expression, of course, all Blue Tits have the same look.
We have a table with a couple of chairs on that lawn, just under the flight path between the bird tables and these two oaks. It follows that I have been trying to capture some video of a blue tit landing on the tree, find a caterpillar or two and then off, beak bulging bugfully. No chance. None at all. It all happens too quickly so that by the time I have the camera pointing in the right direction they are somewhere completely different. In any event, they have probably disappeared into the foliage long since. I did manage to get a second or two of a blackbird, worms trailing from his bill, but only in very poor light conditions. I have yet to look at it properly but I suspect it will end up in my Zebra file.

And then in came this Great Spotted Woodpecker. We used to see these on a daily basis when we were at The Hermitage and it looks as though it will be the same here.
Another lot we haven't seen since those days is the Nuthatch.
That, since you will have no idea what I am talking about, is a sub-file of “Inputs” which is a sub-file of “Video” and it is called Zebra because these things are arranged alphabetically and I can be pretty certain it will stay at the bottom. It contains a few hundred video clips that I know are really rubbish but which, for no good reason other than sentiment, I can’t delete.
Luna was so intent on her owner that no matter what I did she just wouldn't look at me for long enough to take a decent picture - when she did glance in my direction for a second or two, she closed her eyes.
Well, you can't blame her, can you?