Postcards from the Edge

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It’s May 16th and even with my rather limited mathematical skills, I can still confidently say that there are less days left in May 2014 than those I’ve managed to survive so far. I am awarding myself a medal for managing to make it to this point relatively unscathed, and by “medal” I actually mean, “large glass of Rioja.” It’s been a hectic 16 days with some highs and very many lows and more late night bowls of comfort Coco Pops than I was intending. The first physical copies of Malcolm Orange Disappears arrived back from the printer today. I’ve yet to see it but just to know there is an actual, real life, print and paper, Malcolm out there somewhere is both a reassuring and equally terrifying thought. For the first time today I began to feel just a little excited about next month’s book launch and all the kerfuffle that goes around birthing a book. It is impossible to take it back now.

I wanted to give you all a quick update on the highlights of the month so far and reassure you that I’m still standing. I’ve been reading quite a lot with my fellow ACES. Last Saturday we read to a lovely crowd in Clements’ Coffee Shop as part of the One City One Book initiative. However, I have to say that I actually preferred last Thursday’s long distance trip to Derry, (battling against the Giro D’Italia traffic in a 3 hour driving marathon with nothing but wine gums for sustenance). We had a small crowd of fantastic fledgling writers turn out to hear five ACES read in the romance section of Derry Central Library, right next to the largest collection of Mills and Boon paperbacks I’ve ever seen. Afterwards we drank tea, ate buns and had some fantastic conversations with the Derry crowd. They were wonderful encouraging people and it was a real privilege to get to spend some time with them. It was the first time I’ve felt like a proper writer with anything worth passing on to others and this was both a fabulous and very humbling feeling. Sometimes, I’m learning, a small crowd of the right people is preferable to an enormous audience.

I’ve also been scribbling away at every opportunity, prepping interviews, articles and even a couple of new short stories ready to release around the time of the launch date. It’s been a little hectic working full time and coming home to eat quickly and get back in front of a computer. I’m definitely itching to make a return to writing fiction, having had to put Roundabouts on the back burner for the next few weeks. However, I am so grateful for Ailish at Liberties, a lovely lady I have yet to meet. She’s been stirring up a PR storm for me, making contacts with magazines and websites and I am looking forward to sharing lots of different articles and interviews with you in the coming weeks. Also, keep an eye on here for a blog swap with my fellow Liberties novelist, Daniel Seery and with Karen Vaughan, the incredibly talented illustrator and designer who worked her magic on the Malcolm Orange Disappears cover.

My final highlight of the month has been the opportunity to rediscover radio. As a young person I was really involved in local radio and enjoyed presenting my own show and learning the technical side of running a functional radio station. As a medium I much prefer radio to television. I enjoy the fact that radio requires concentration and a fair amount of imagination and have, over the last few years, become one of those dreadful people who linger in the car after they’ve already arrived home, waiting to catch the last part of a Radio 4 drama. I’ve been invited on to 3 different radio shows in the last month and particularly enjoyed chatting with Frank Mitchell on U105 on Wednesday past. To be allowed to talk about my writing, my travels AND also be offered the opportunity to pick a Bob Dylan song was almost too self-indulgent. I’m  looking forward to more radio in the next few weeks and already have a few more Dylan tunes up my sleeve should the opportunity present itself again.

It’s not been the easiest few weeks. I’m just as tired as I predicted I would be. There have been occasional tears, a few incidences of frayed temper, (mostly Giro-related), and a very frustrating incident with a cracked IPhone screen. However, I’m still standing and I’m looking at the rest of May with more excitement than trepidation, looking forward to further adventures. There are only fifteen days left in the month, what’s the worst that could happen?

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