Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Mulled wine, mince pies and lots of tasty book sales

In two days' time, I should have my mits on the first few copies of The Manx Giant: The Amazing Story of Arthur Caley, as it's been christened. I've been in that weird pre-publication limbo for the last few weeks, during which you experience two emotioins - first, you can't quite believe that something that has been a huge part of your life is finally over; second, you look back at what you've done and can't seem to remember writing huge sections of it.

For those of you chomping at the bit to read the book - wife, mum and dad, maybe the odd sibling and aunt and uncle - there are two signings arranged, the first at The Lexicon on Saturday, December 5 (2.00pm-4.00pm) and the second on December 12 at Waterstones (1.00pm-3.00pm), a few doors along Strand Street in Douglas.

With town full of Christmas shoppers unsure of what to spend their hard-earned on, Mrs Q is pulling out all the stops for the Lexicon and putting on mulled wine and mince pies. Now, I'm not for one minute suggesting that the only people who are going to get their hands on wine and pies are those who put their hands in their pockets and buy the book. I'd never stoop to that sort of tactic. Mrs Q might, but not me. I'll just keep my head down and scribble away. Best just to nod and do as she says, so let that be a warning to you.

We might have the mulled wine and mince pies for Waterstones as well, just need to run it past the store. Not sure what their policy is on such things...

I'm also hoping to set something up at the Manx Museum before Christmas, but not sure what format that will be yet. Just so long as I don't have to spend too long down in that National Folk Gallery, where Caley's boots and the casts of his hand are on show. Always was a damn spooky place down there. All those mannequins, and not one of them Kim Cattrall.

One final note - if you are really stuck for something to do on December 5 and 12, and fancy stopping by to keep me company, don't all come down on the same day; spread yourselves out a little. Otherwise I'll be sat there like a spare part talking to myself.

Oh, and another final note - if you can't make it, and need to buy a load of copies as Christmas presents, the book should be available online from the Manx Heritage Foundation website in a week or so.


Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Drawing inspiration from evil buttons

Earlier this evening, I read the last page of a book, closed the cover and sat back, unsure of what to do next. There was plenty to get on with - emails to send, stories to edit, design and layout to finish for Vertigo, website text to sort for Nemesis Publishing - but all I wanted to do was write.

I've read two books this last week, while Mrs Q and I and the kids have been on a week's break at Center Parcs. The first was John Connolly's new one for kids - The Gates - and the second, the one I finished this evening, was Coraline, by Neil Gaiman, which has been around for several years.

Both books are superb - I'll post a review of The Gates soon on this blog - but it was Coraline which left me perched on the end of the couch, unable to do all those things that needed doing.

It's one of those books that can't help but inspire a writer to, well, write. It is simplistically brilliant, and that's not a backhanded compliment.

As someone who is working through several ideas for children's books, it is one of the most inspiring books I've read in a long time. Man, those buttons. Creepy is not the word. I really must get round to reading The Graveyard Book. It's even better, so I'm told.

In other news, the publisher of the Manx Giant biography emailed tonight to say the book should be in our hands by the end of next week, which is cool, and an email came in while I was running around, trying to protect Center Parcs from Junior Q and Baby Q, inviting me to give a talk at the Celtic Congress season of winter talks, for March. I don't know much about the Celtic Congress, but it's always nice to be asked to such events, and a chance to promote the book.

But that's one for the future. Right now I'm off to try and forget about those bloody buttons.