Saturday, 31 May 2014

Information about Word Factory

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The Word Factory #24

The intimate short story salon

Enjoy a warm welcome at our June salon in the company of three inspirational authors: Val McDermid, entertaining with story and song, with readings from poet, novelist and storyteller Vanessa Gebbie (she’s also taking this month’s Saturday Masterclass) and rising star Carys Bray. All will join Cathy Galvin in conversation about their writing lives. Book early to secure your place and a free glass of wine at Waterstones’ flagship store in Piccadilly.

To ensure you get in, please buy your ticket online in advance. Prices include all booking and transaction costs and a glass of wine.

Val McDermidVal McDermid

Award-winning crime writer Val McDermid has been translated into more than 30 languages, with over two million copies sold in the UK and over 10 million worldwide. She has written 27 bestselling novels;The Skeleton Road – her 28th – will be published by Little, Brown in September. In March she published her retelling of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey.

Vanessa GebbieVanessa Gebbie

Vanessa Gebbie has won awards for her novel, short stories, flash fiction and poetry, including a Bridport Prize and The Troubadour Prize. She is author of two short fiction collections, Words from a Glass Bubble and Storm Warning and a poetry collection,The Half-life of Fathers. She is contributing editor to the text bookShort Circuit: Guide to the Art of the Short Story, editions 1 and 2.

Carys Bray
Carys Bray
Carys Bray’s debut short story collection Sweet Home won the Scott Prize in 2012. Her debut novel A Song for Issy Bradley is published by Hutchison this month. Carys teaches at Edge Hill University where she is completing a Creative Writing PhD. She lives in Southport with her husband and four children.

Cathy GalvinCathy Galvin

Word Factory director Cathy Galvin is a journalist and writer. She co-founded the Sunday Times EFG short story award and sits on the advisory panel of the Charleston-Chichester award for a lifetimes' excellence in short fiction. She is associate editor of Newsweek magazine.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Robert Shearman: Horror and Humanity

My essay on the short fiction of Robert Shearman is now up at the Thresholds website. Below is a small excerpt. You can read the rest of the essay at the link above.
BOOK_Shearman_Shy-and-CynicalThe first time I met Robert Shearman he was collecting a prize for his second collection, Love Songs for the Shy and Cynical. He was affable and friendly and he talked quickly, as if ideas were sliding straight from his brain to his throat. I hadn’t read any of his stories and I hadn’t met many writers, so I looked for clues to his fiction in his manner, and I came to the erroneous conclusion that his stories were jolly. I imagined page after page of ebullience and cheer; I wasn’t expecting horror. In fact, if anyone had asked before I read Shearman’s stories, I would have said horror wasn’t for me...

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Good Morning Sunday

A Song for Issy Bradley was reviewed on Clare Balding's Good Morning Sunday show on BBC Radio 2 this morning by the Rev Ruth Scott.

I wasn't planning to listen (because I'm not a masochist) but Neil brought the tablet upstairs and tuned in to Radio 2 online, so I had no choice (although I did hide under the covers). Fortunately, it went well - *huge sigh of relief*

This weekend I've been reading through the final, final, final version of the American manuscript which has to be sent back to New York first thing on Tuesday morning. I will be *so* glad to send it back. I'm itching to write something new.

Monday, 19 May 2014

The Reading Agency

The Reading Agency is giving away 10 reading group sets (10 copies per set) of A Song for Issy Bradley. Each set will contain posters, review cards, a reading guide, author Q&A and a letter from the author - me! If you'd like to apply for a set of books, you can do so at The Reading Agency website

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Signing first editions

I've been in London this week. I did lots of fun things including media training, a celebratory dinner with my agent and editor (better late than never!) and breakfast at the Wolseley with the lovely Cathy Rentzenbrink. I signed my way through a big old stack of first editions before travelling back to Southport. I arrived home just in time to receive a big box of author copies from the postman. I got slightly carried away and complimented him on his 'lovely package.' Ooops. 

This afternoon son 1 announced that he needs a particular poetry book for his A Level exam TOMORROW. Argh. Fortunately, my local bookshop had a copy in stock. They also had Southport author Rachael Lucas' novel Sealed With a Kiss which I bought (I think I got the last one!). 

Rachael and I are having coffee tomorrow so I'm really pleased to have a copy in time for her to sign it. You can read about Rachael's amazing publication journey here.

While I was at Broadhursts Jo who works there gave me a copy of Book Time which has a lovely feature on A Song for Issy Bradley

Monday, 12 May 2014

Lovely stuff

I bought these lovely prints on Etsy last week. They're printed on old dictionary pages which works brilliantly as many of the images are taken from famous books and/or stories. 

You can browse the store here.

Saturday, 10 May 2014

It's here!

A copy of my book arrived today. It was really exciting to finally see it.

Here it is all wrapped up.

Here's a postcard from my lovely editor.


Inside front cover.

Inside back cover.

How fortunate am I? Not only is A Song for Issy Bradley a beautiful, carefully designed book, underneath the cover it's red - my favourite colour (and it matches my red sofa - perfect!). 

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Gone Reading...

This month I will be marking essays, attending hospital appointments with my children (who have managed to develop an interesting array of conditions that require surgical intervention), writing 'feature' pieces in which I try to appear interesting (an introvert's nightmare), worrying about novel number 2, and trying to avoid reviews of A Song for Issy Bradley.

When I get a spare moment I will be reading, which will be the BEST BIT of the month. I'll probably eat some chocolate and help myself to an occasional gingerbread latte, too.

In fact, I may start now...

Friday, 2 May 2014

Thresholds Feature Writing Competition

My essay about Robert Shearman's stories has been shortlisted for the Thresholds International Feature Writing Competition. Robert is an incredibly inventive writer and he's also a lovely person who was really generous to me when I first started writing. 


As ever, the shortlist sounds really interesting and I'm looking forward to reading all of the essays and learning more about some brilliant writers and short stories. 
Here's the list:
Carys Bray: The Short Stories of Robert Shearman: Horror and Humanity
Stephen Devereux: Where are you Helen Harris?
Dan Powell: Yoshihiro Tatsumi’s The Push Man and Other Stories
Angela Readman: What We Talk About When We Talk About Editing
Gill Thompson: A Woman of Words
Claire Thurlow: on Alice Munro
I was shortlisted in 2012 with this piece on Helen Simpson's short stories in 2012 and with this piece on Adam Marek's short stories in 2013. Check out the Thresholds site, it's a great resource for short story writers and readers. 

* Congratulations to Sharon Telfer who won this year's competition, and to runners-up Dan Powell and Gill Thompson.