Every year around this time I promise myself I will do more blogging during the coming year. Professionals, I read everywhere, insist that blogging is one of the most effective promotional tools for a writer. Despite the advice, I must have one of the worst records of any writer anywhere. I know how bad I do because of some of the blogs and vlogs I follow. I am amazed at the output of some people. I don’t how they do it. Have I an explanation or excuse for this sorry neglect? I do – perhaps an unconvincing one.
You see, I get so tied up in my writing I barely have time for anything else. And the subjects of my writing demand a lot of research. I am presently writing a book about Tony Abbott’s student time. That required an enormous amount of reading before I could get started. In addition, this year (2017) I completed a thorough revision of the two Winterbine titles for new paperback editions. Both books are long. Then there’s my contribution to the Edmund Burke Society website. I just can’t find the time normally.
I will make the same undertaking at the beginning of 2018. More attention to the promotion of my books. Let’s see how I go.
To usher in the new year, I am posting photos of my ‘operations room’ – where I do my writing – to persuade you I am doing what I say, that is, spend most of my time on my writing. On the monitor is text of my Tony Abbott book. If you look closely I am beyond 72,000 words and pushing ahead strongly.
You’ll notice on the table beside my desk a copy of Jane Austen’s Persuasion, a map of Bath (UK) and a copy of The Bestseller Code. The Bestseller Code was a Christmas present. An utterly fascinating book that attempts to explain what makes a bestseller. The map of Bath and the copy of Persuasion are a demonstration that I have continual difficulty in remaining with the one project.
Around three years ago I suddenly had an idea for a novel. I thought it interesting. So I would not forget it, I began writing. I got to 30,000 words before I shelved it. Since then I’ve been back to it several times when bored with what I was doing. I am now at 42,000 words. This morning was another moment of distraction. The map of Bath, and Jane Austen’s novel have to do with the setting and theme of the novel.
I wish you all a Happy New Year.
PS The photos are sharper on my FB page
Television or film productions of books – especially your favourite novels – can be disappointing. There are bad – even appalling – productions of Jane Austen’s novels. I am not too keen on the 1995 version of Pride and Prejudice that appears to be the favourite of most Jane Austen lovers. Colin Firth’s Darcy is not the Darcy of the novel, and Mr Collins is such a farcical caricature of the novel’s clergyman that all the satire of Austen’s pompous hypocritical cleric is lost. That’s to start with. In the class of the appalling, I put the 2008 production of Persuasion, my favourite Austen novel. Whatever possessed the screenwriter to change a crucial part of the story is beyond me.
On the other hand, the most recent production of Sense and Sensibility (2008) with with Hattie Morahan and Charity Wakefield as Elinor and Marianne Dashwood is the best production of any of Jane Austen novels. It is very true to the novel. Hattie Morahan’s performance is pitch perfect.
I have recently been introduced to Elizabeth Gaskell’s novels. I find them almost as good and engaging as Jane Austen’s – at least the two I have so far read: Cranford and North and South. The television productions of these two books are first class, although Cranford is actually a combination of the novellas Cranford, Mr Harrison’s Confessions, and My Lady Ludlow.
I’m tempted to say that the television production of North and South (2004) is even better than the novel in bringing out the intense relationship between leads Margaret Hale played Daniela Denby-Ashe, and John Thornton played by Richard Armitage. Richard Armitage said in an interview the part was one of a lifetime. Indeed, he played it as one of a lifetime – a rough. smouldering, tormented mill owner who finds it difficult to control his passion for the cultivated girl from Hampshire who rejects him. Below is the link to a review on the tenth anniversary of the production:
10 Years Later, ‘North & South’ Remains the Greatest Period-Drama Miniseries of All Time
Postscript: It has nothing to do with the quality of the production, but Daniela Denby-Ashe has the most perfectly formed lips of any actress I have seen. The opening scenes display them in mesmerising closeup. I’m sure the producers knew what they were doing here. The reviewer claims the kiss at the end was the best television kiss ever. Women sent the BBC switchboard into meltdown. I was not particularly moved by the scene, although I imagine Daniela Denby-Ashe’s lips were an important motivation for Richard Armitage.
The revised 2018 paperback edition of THE CASTLE OF HEAVENLY BLISS, the first book in the Winterbine Trilogy, is now available. Go to here for all the details. The third book in the trilogy is scheduled for late 2018.