A quick shout-out to Cheryl Morgan, who has very kindly invited me to join her on Bristol’s Ujima Radio 98fm Women’s Outlook programme from 12 – 2pm on Wednesday 27th March (podcast to follow). This is not at all coincidentally the day before Gemsigns is officially released into the wild, so we get to talk about books in general and that one in particular. It should be interesting – Ujima is largely aimed at Bristol’s Afro-Caribbean community, and I’m originally from Jamaica, so there’s an obvious link. But I don’t look or sound like what most people think a Jamaican ‘ought’ to look and sound like. Half the characters in my novel are people who are marginalised and discriminated against because of their origins, but those origins are not national, racial, religious or indeed anything else that we have experience with out here in the real world. Gender issues concern me, but only to the extent that I believe ALL issues of inequality and prejudice and presumption, ALL constraints and limitations and denials of freedom, should be of grave concern to ALL of us – whether they are constructed (or excused!) on the basis of gender, ethnicity, appearance, sexuality, religion, disability, or any of the other myriad stupid reasons we find to repress and abuse each other. So I tend not to place myself in niches because frankly, with so much nonsense to contend with on so many fronts, you need room to swing.
Then I’m at Eastercon (or EightSquaredCon as it’s known this year) in Bradford. I’m not sure exactly what (if anything) I’ll be doing as the programme isn’t out yet, but I’m told there’ll be a launch event for me and other Jo Fletcher Books authors who have novels out this spring. Anyway, if you’re there you can’t miss me; I’ll be the one floating three inches above the ground, grinning from ear to ear. And a couple of weeks later, on Thursday 11th April there’ll be what I’m grandly referring to as the London launch – basically a party in a pub with books, because with the best will in the world it’s a little too much to expect all my friends, fans, colleagues and alpha-readers to decamp to Bradford for Easter weekend (although some of them did volunteer, and I love them dearly for it). I’ll post the location once it’s confirmed; anyone who wants to come along will be very, very welcome.
Between now and the start of all that I will mostly be in Leeds, working on a very intense but short-term project to combat fuel poverty that will have me criss-crossing the Yorkshire countryside. I will be living in cheap-and-not-that-cheerful business hotels (unless I run into Lenny Henry in the lobby), which means that I should have no distractions and therefore no excuses not to write at night (I would so love to have the draft of Binary finished by the time Gemsigns is published). I will definitely be online daily (if not all day), and starting next Thursday I’ll be giving away a fantastic book every week. So it’ll be a busy-busy-busy couple of months, but it’ll be fun. Stick with me.