Thursday, 18 September 2008

Oh, and I forgot to say...

I'm definitely a tad short in brain space at the moment. One of the things I meant to announce in today's earlier post was the launch of the third print edition of The View From Here. Now available to preview and buy.

Pics more than words

Bit of a photo blog this week --- a phlog --- because I've run out of hours and brain space to string too many decent sentences together. So here are some pics of recent happenings.

The whales are back in town. Three or four Southern Right Whales have been off the coast this winter. Captured this image of mother and calf off Logans Beach at end of August. Very special visitors.

Port Fairy Book Fair, and yours truly introduces and discusses the excellent memoir Mother Land with its author Dmetri Kakmi.

Book Reading at Cape Nelson Lighthouse cafe in Portland. Thanks to an 'interesting' postal system and the presence of only one copy of The Snowing and Greening of Thomas Passmore, the book signing became a book reading. Regardless of this, it was great to catch up with old friends on a beautiful and warm moonlit night to celebrate the novel's UK release (and a very appropriate venue for the selected reading). Lots of eating, drinking and laughter.

This is what the lighthouse looks like at night, according to my camera, but I thought I should include a daytime shot too.

Friday, 12 September 2008

BlogTalkRadio with Magdalena Ball and Mike French

8:00--8:30 am: interview via conference call for The Compulsive Reader on BlogTalkRadio. Magdalena Ball interviewing Mike French and myself about The View From Here, The Dandelion Tree and The Snowing and Greening of Thomas Passmore.

7:52¾ am: dial number and receive Telstra error message advising me to use a different overseas code.

7:54½ am: inadvertently phone New Zealand. No one answers. All the same, begin wondering what sort of conversation I might have if the Kiwi I'm phoning picks up. It seems a good idea to phone Australia-based Maggie Bell as if phoning from overseas.

7:56 am: dial number and receive Telstra error message advising me to use a different overseas code, or contact their Helpline.

7:56½ am: dial Telstra Helpline. Listen to menu.

7:57am: still listening to menu.

7:57¾ am: no option on menu for difficulties with conference calls, but plenty of options for reporting different sorts of faults. Never knew there were so many different sorts of fault. Fascinating really.

7:59 am: staring at telephone in disbelief.

7:59¼ am: phone rings! It's Maggie Bell and Mike, and a quick countdown into the show. Very quick.

It was great fun doing this interview, even though the call quality on my phone was poor and I couldn't quite hear everything; this just ensured my responses were even a little more random than normal. I sound like I'm standing at the bottom of a pit with the telephone receiver at the top, which is much the way it is. And whilst the evil cackle I produced at the start of the interview doesn't reflect my normal melodic laugh, I do get to sound like this when no one's thrown food into the pit for a few days.

I was going to read a longer extract from the book, but as I started each new sentence, the previous sentence was still coming back at me, which was a little trippy and reminded me of singing London's Burning as a 'round' when I was at school once. Kept expecting the altos and sopranos to kick in with the previous line and found myself beginning to listen for it.

Listen to the interview here.

Tuesday, 2 September 2008

Everything's happening

There's a fair bit happening at the moment.

Have just posted Part One of an interview with Gary Davison over at The View From Here, in preparation for the release of his novel Fat Tuesday on 27th September. Since meeting Gary through our involvement with PaperBooks, we've trod parallel paths --- with similar high points and low points --- in our journey towards publication. It's much easier when you can share moments of insanity with someone else!

The Ex Libris Port Fairy Book Fair & Literary Weekend is coming up. On Saturday, I'll be hosting a discussion with Dmetri Kakmi, author of Mother Land (Giramondo, 2008, ISBN 978-1920882433), which is described as 'a vivid portrayal of Greek-Turkish life on the Aegean island of Bozcaada, in all its beauty, poverty, and ignorance.' It's a stunning piece of writing---a powerful memoir. Lots of superlatives spring to mind, but for the moment I'll just say that his story-telling has a compelling tug to it and his prose is quite simply exciting. As you can tell, I'm loving it.

We'll be talking about his journey as a writer and the process by which Mother Land revealed itself, as well as exploring the overlap between memoir and fiction, and what it's like for an editor (Dmetri is a senior editor for Penguin) to be edited.

This is one of a number of events that'll take place across the weekend (art exhibition by illustrator Shaun Tan, talk by author Alice Pung, second hand book sales, etc), but one of my favourite annual events is the Barbara Cartland Hurl. Visitors are invited to dress up in something pink, read an excerpt from one of Barbara Cartland's romances and then see how far they can hurl it across the town green. This is a slightly less demanding activity than tossing the caber, but there are prizes for the best reading and the best hurl.

Was feeling a little out of things on Sunday, being so far from British book shops, but then some excellent news, accompanied by pics, arrived. A big thanks to Gary, who let me know that Borders, Newcastle, had The Snowing and Greening of Thomas Passmore on the shelves and in the 3-for-2 displays. This was followed by pics from Paola and Joel, proving (because seeing is believing) that the book really did exist and was on the shelves in Borders, Swindon. Thanks Paola and Joel. And then yesterday, Mrs T absolutely knocked my socks off by dedicating a whole post to her sighting (and capture) of The Snowing and Greening in Waterstones, Milton Keynes (which town incidentally rates a mention on p.164). See her pics, read her post.
And today my copies of the book arrived!

I pick them up, I prod them and turn them over... and they don't vanish. Wow!