The traditional image of a writer is of someone scribbling away with pen and paper, on their own, in a garret, by guttering candlelight. Possibly there’s a resident rat – Jo March, in Little Women, had one she called Scrabble in her garret.
The updated image has someone sitting at a desk in rather more congenial, rodent-free, surroundings.
Now, as then, writing is a solitary occupation while you’re actually doing it – but these days there are all sorts of lovely ways in which writers can get together.
I had lunch in an Italian restaurant a couple of weeks ago with around twenty other members of a very supportive Facebook group called Authors and Book Bloggers in Scotland, organised by Joanne Baird of Portobello Book Blog. Joanne has deservedly been shortlisted for a bloggers award and while you're checking that out (and voting for her ... ) have a look at how many book blogs there are – I’ve had to restrain myself for the moment from investigating them all.
I sat opposite prolific writer in various genres Caroline Dunford and crime writers Wendy H. Jones and Chris Longmuir who both wore slightly unnerving noose necklaces! And I sat beside romantic novelist Daisy James – look out for a cover reveal of her latest book on this very blog next week.
Then a week later there was a get-together of the Scottish Chapter of the Romantic Novelists Association at a French restaurant in Edinburgh. It was lovely to chat to other writers over lemon and lavender chicken – which sounds just what you'd expect romantic novelists to eat, don't you think?
In other news, not involving lunch …
Last night I left the proverbial garret to see an amazing production of Jane Eyre at the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh. It really was 'theatre at its most imaginative' while remaining true to the book. Catch it wherever you can ...
My third People’s Friend serial A Time to Reap is just out in a large-print edition for libraries.
Elizabeth Duncan, widowed with two small daughters, is farm manager on a Scottish Highlands estate. It’s April 1963; it’s been a hard winter and someone is trying to make trouble for her. She enjoys support from family and friends in the small community but, following the troubling death of her husband, a new relationship has been the last thing on her mind. However, as she dances at the annual estate ball in September, that may be about to change …
I am planning to publish a Kindle edition myself soon – watch this space.