Post-Calabash post

The Calabash International Literary Festival 2014 has been over for going on four days now, and I am not yet quite recovered. From the welcome dinner for authors and press last Thursday night; to the Friday morning boat trip to Pelican Bar; to the opening of the Festival proper that evening with an emotional reading of Maya Angelou’s seminal Still I Rise; to Saturday’s packed programme that featured Zadie Smith, Colum McCann, Salman Rushdie, Karen Lord, and … umm … me; to Sunday’s mellow musical wind-down, followed by another sumptuous farewell meal – it was, in a word, amazing. Calabash accomplishes something that few other literary festivals or genre conventions achieve, or even attempt: a true meeting of creative minds, a bridging of the gap between ‘mainstream’ and ‘genre’, a celebration of the full breadth and depth of literary ambition and experience.

These were just a few of my personal highlights:

  • The prominence of poetry: Scottish poet Rab Wilson brought the house down before reading a single verse, when he opened his set by coming to the front of the seaside stage with a camera and taking a picture of the audience. ‘This,’ he said, in the broadest of Scottish brogues, ‘is to prove to the folks at home that more than ten people came to a poetry reading.’ He wasn’t wrong. The marquee held, by my estimate, over a thousand seats and was at least as packed for poetry as for prose. Co-founded by a poet and a novelist, Calabash values both forms equally. So does its audience.
  • Meeting Marlon James: Some of you out there already know how much I admire this author. Ann Morgan took up my recommendation of his first novel, John Crow’s Devil, as the Jamaican book for her A Year of Reading the World project, and loved it as much as I did. His second, The Book of Night Women, was visceral, searing, and will stay with me forever. But sometimes the people whose work you admire are less than captivating in person; so I’m happy to report that Marlon is every bit as smart, articulate, keenly observant and ruthlessly down to earth as I could have wished.
  • Hanging with Karen Lord: I’d met Karen early in May, for the Women in Science Fiction panel organised by our mutual publisher Jo Fletcher Books. We didn’t manage more than a brief conversation then, followed by another, longer one a week or so later (in the course of recording a podcast on Caribbean science fiction for The Skiffy and Fanty Show) – both of which only made me want to get to know her better. Her award-winning first novel Redemption in Indigo is a genre-bending delight, and The Best of All Possible Worlds one of the more interesting, unusual and thematically ambitious science fiction novels of recent years. She is fiercely intelligent, great fun to be with, and passionate about her work. I’m already looking forward to our next meeting.
  • Hearing Zadie Smith: I don’t know quite what I expected; something a bit cerebral and detached, perhaps? Instead Smith’s reading from The Embassy of Cambodia was surprisingly warm, unexpectedly funny, and quietly tragic.
  • Science fiction by the sea: Chris John Farley read, and then Karen Lord read, and then I read. For almost half an hour each; my longest reading yet, to by far the largest audience I think any of us had ever had. Who were, in a word, wonderful. I somehow managed not to lose my place, glancing up as one does to check that you’ve got their attention, that they’re not trickling out the exits or looking blankly back at you. Instead they were rapt, listening, concentrating – hundreds and hundreds of people, leaving their world behind to travel with you into yours. ‘You can’t have empathy without imagination,’ festival co-founder and impresario Kwame Dawes pointed out when he introduced us, ‘and this is literature of the imagination.’ They got it. You know how rare it is to see imagination working its way through a sea of faces? Rare. Thank you, Calabash, for that very great gift.
  • Listening to Salman Rushdie: Who was warm and witty and wise; who talked about culture and diaspora and conflicting influences; who read a sex scene set, uproariously and appropriately, amid sacks of pepper; who commented on tracks by Elvis Presley and Lou Reed and his own lyrics sung by U2; who described the sea of stories as the Caribbean glinted and shifted behind him; who discussed and dismissed literary pigeonholing; who was, in short, everything you would hope from a literary lion and a speaker of truth.
  • Conversations! With the aforementioned Marlon and Karen; Olivia Cole and Paul Holdengraber; Adam Mansbach and Miasha; Paul Muldoon, Kwame Dawes, Chris John Farley. About concerns both tangible and thematic; personal histories and world affairs; adventures in publishing and the challenges of academia; literary experiments, cultural quirks, conceptual leaps. ‘The conversations,’ festival worker Drew Brennan confided to me, ‘are my favourite part.’ No wonder. Calabash fosters a kind of intellectual yoga: a stretching and strengthening and expansion of the faculties. Utterly brilliant.
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Books and parties and conventions and prizes and … Calabash!

If you’ve been keeping up with me on Twitter you’ll know that I’ve mostly been having a good week. The only real fly in my ointment at the moment has been the discovery that the Scriptopus website is down, and that the company that’s been hosting it is one of the most unprofessional organisations I’ve had the displeasure of encountering in quite some time. It’s frustrating of course, and I’m a bit surprised to find myself not more angry and upset. But while some of the content may be lost, the source code is safely backed up; and if the host can’t restore it I will relaunch it somewhere safer and saner; and I have got so many happier things to think about  

On Tuesday I received my author copies of the Binary trade (TPB) and the Gemsigns mass-market paperback (MMP) editions, both out in the UK on 3rd April. Does ripping open a cardboard box to find bound books with beautiful covers full of the words that you wrote ever get old?

2 weeks to publication!

2 weeks to publication!

 

I doubt it. There are no posted reviews of Binary yet – at least none that I know of – but it’s in the hands of reviewers,  a couple of whom have tweeted their early reactions. I am cautiously optimistic.

Tuesday evening was the Clarke Award shortlist announcement party, which was great fun; many congratulations to the shortlisted authors (and many thanks to the kind folks who tipped me to be one of them – even though I wasn’t, the fact that you thought I might have been meant a great deal).

Still on the subject of prizes: on Thursday Jo Fletcher Books posted a list of their Hugo-award-eligible publications and Campbell-award-eligible authors. To be honest I’d given very little thought to either of these; I tend to think that if your book isn’t out in America (and mine isn’t until May), you don’t have much of a shout. But Gemsigns and I are there for your consideration, along with many other wonderful books and first-time authors, and a reminder that the nomination deadline is 31st March.

I’ve also been communicating with the Satellite4 organisers about panels and readings; there’s going to be some very good stuff at this year’s Eastercon in Glasgow, and I hope to see many of you there. 

But with the Binary TPB and Gemsigns MMP publication date only a couple of weeks away, I’ve been mostly preoccupied with getting ready. That’s meant a long overdue update to this website (cover shots and purchase links in the sidebar! actual descriptions of the novels under the Novels tab!), and to bios and avatars around the web more generally. I’ve been busiest of all with guest posts and interviews: over the next few weeks I’ll be popping up in a variety of places, including Civilian Reader, Upcoming4.Me, SF Signal, Little Red Reviewer, and Tor.com.

And I’ve been waiting on an announcement. Not an award or shortlist this time, but the official launch of the Calabash International Literary Festival in Jamaica in May. It’s been in my Upcoming Events for ages, but I couldn’t pre-empt the organisers by saying more – despite knowing enough to be very excited. So the first of my series of guest posts to go live is the last one I wrote –  SF in’a Calabash, composed this morning on the back of last night’s launch. If you never follow another link from this blog please, follow that one. It’s something I am very very proud to be part of.  

Interview: Science Fiction Reality

At the Gemsigns launch in Kingston I met local blogger, sometime reporter, professional make-up artist and apparent all-round Renaissance woman Tameka Coley, and we agreed to do an interview. Life unpleasantly intervened in the form of a death in Tameka’s family (for which I offer my deepest condolences) but we got there in the end, doing the interview by email after I’d got back to the UK. It went online yesterday.

In a post on her own blog, Tameka talks a bit about how she came to be at the launch and what prompted her to want to do the interview. That post is Introducing: Gemsigns by Stephanie Saulter. The interview itself appears on the New World Cafe Blog as Stephanie Saulter’s Gemsigns … science fiction reality, and is also linked under the press tab above. I’m reposting it here in its entirety as well. In addition to a few of what I’ve come to expect as the ‘usual’ interview topics, Tameka asked some very smart questions about the Caribbean context and contemporary implications of the novel.

Tameka has a Facebook page, writes the Sour Skittles blog, and is on Twitter as @tsansai. Her friend Patrick Fuss writes the New World Cafe blog. Thanks again Tameka and Patrick – it was a pleasure.

INTERVIEW:

When did you know that you wanted to become an author?

There’s no eureka moment when you say, ‘Ah ha! I shall be an author!’ What you know you want to do is write. From that follows the desire to be read. From that, if you’re lucky, comes the opportunity to be published. One day you wake up, and hey presto! You’re an author.

Do you remember the first literary piece you wrote?

I’m not sure what you mean by literary piece, but in any case, no – it would have been an essay or short story from back when I was doing my degree, and I no longer have any of those papers. Around 7-8 years ago I wrote two screenplays, but Gemsigns is the first fully realised piece of long form prose fiction I’ve ever written.

You’ve worked in real estate, the food industry as well as various corporate roles; how have your experiences in these fields translated into or influenced your writing, particularly Gemsigns?

I know a lot about a lot of different things, and I get to incorporate that awareness in a variety of subtle and not-so-subtle ways. One of my early reviewers commented that it was obvious that I understood the way big corporations work, and how they interact with government and the media. She was right. I’ve also worked directly with the public sector, advising government departments and local councils here in the UK, and so I understand the political mindset and the way public policy is developed (or not). And I’ve set up and worked with charities and non-profits, so I understand the way the voluntary sector works as well – that was useful for showing the other side of the religious argument, the United Churches charitable mission that attempts to help the gems.

What makes Gemsigns a gripping tale?

I think it’s gripping because the risks feel real. What’s at stake isn’t distant and unrelatable, it isn’t the destruction of planets or the notion of falling prey to some supernatural evil. It’s the forced labour of human beings. It’s families being torn apart. It’s a mother’s inability to protect her child from harm. It’s women being forced to bear children whether they want to or not. It’s gem-bashing, which is intentionally portrayed as being no different to gay-bashing, or the lynching of black men in the American south. It’s knowing that whether people are protected from, or subject – legally subject – to being treated in this way turns on the whim of a fickle public who are easily swayed by media scare stories, and the moral fibre (or lack thereof) of the politicians who purport to lead them. None of that is far-fetched, it’s well within our collective historical memory – and for some people it’s within their living memory, even their day-to-day reality.

I couldn’t help making a connection between your story and slavery/colonialism, especially with the clashes between the gems, gemtechs and the norms. Would you say this was in any way influenced by race relations in the Caribbean where you were born?

Very much so. But one of the things I’ve learned, sadly, is how widespread that kind of prejudice-driven conflict is. It’s not just reflective of race relations in the Caribbean and Americas, but also the current debates over immigration in the UK and Europe, religious intolerance, discrimination against women, homophobia … the list goes on.

Your novel raises many questions about what it means to be human. What would you say makes us integrally similar and/or different?

I think my answer to that is Gemsigns. One way to read the question it poses is: are we made human because of what is or is not in our DNA, or by the way we treat each other? I know what I think, but it’s a question everyone has to answer for themselves.

I couldn’t help thinking about the idea of  ‘created races’. What’s your take on this, and was there any inspiration in that regard for Gemsigns?

I wanted to put the whole idea of justifying discrimination and abuse under a microscope. So often throughout history the logic for why the dominant group consider it acceptable to treat others as inferior to themselves is founded on the notion of those others being ‘really different’, to the point of thinking of them as not entirely human – as another, lesser species. It was a justification for the enslavement of people from sub-Saharan Africa. It’s been a justification by men for keeping women subservient. Even today it’s often how people manage to excuse or ignore the appalling treatment of gay and trans and disabled people. Science has often had to prove that the ‘really different’ notion is untrue before governments and individuals are prepared to let go of it.

At the same time, one of my ongoing interests is genetic engineering and genetic medicine; the fact is we are already capable of creating people, plants and animals that did not and probably could not have evolved naturally. So I thought I’d put these two ideas together and create a group of people who really are ‘really different’, to test that notion of justified discrimination.

Who conceptualised the artwork for the cover, and what does it represent?

The publishers are responsible for creating the cover; it was briefed to a graphic design firm after consultation with me, and then finished in-house. The red circles and slashes represent a stylised molecule, blown open. I see the woman’s face as being trapped behind it. As for who she represents, there are at least three characters in the book who she could be …

How did you come up with the name Gemsigns for the book?

With a lot of effort and angst! Every gem bears a gemsign, some visible identifier that makes it easy for them to be distinguished from norms. It’s a mark of their difference, and it’s the thing that would make it easy for them to be pulled back into servitude. Two of the storylines hinge on gemsign – one revolves around a character who appears not to have any, and another character’s is hidden so no one can see what it actually is. This is not a situation that most norms are happy with. I thought ‘Gemsigns’ neatly captures much of what the story is about. The working title was ®Evolution, but that became the name of the series.

Your book also forces us to explore the question of how much is too much or what is taboo when it comes to genetic modification. In terms of human experimentations and GMOs, would you say ethics should play a part, or is it strictly a matter of survival? 

We should always be guided by ethics, but it may be necessary for what is considered ethical to be revised when what is at stake is survival. There’s little point in being ethical unto extinction. But one of the things the book points out is that once a taboo is breached – even if for the best of reasons – that situation becomes a new normal, and it’s very hard to re-establish the taboo once the danger has passed.

Gemsigns really allows for readers to think beyond the present day and even push the envelope to imagine the future of humanity … what inspired this intricate tale?

There was no one thing. All of my interests and obsessions are in there somewhere. I will say, though, that a lot of science fiction is set in the very far future, and posits a reality that is radically different from our own; I find it fascinating but it rarely explains how we get from here to there. I wanted to look at the near future, and the kinds of decisions that might or might not lead us down those paths.

What would you say was the hardest part of writing this novel?

Giving myself permission to take seven months off to do it was the hardest part. The technical challenges vary – one day it’s character, another day it’s plot, another day it’s pacing. No one thing is hardest or easiest.

How does it feel to have been offered a trilogy deal by your publisher after submitting your first book?

Fabulous! Slightly intimidating, but mostly fabulous.

Any chance of getting a sneak peek into Binary (book 2)?

Not for a while! It’s in the hands of my publishers, Jo Fletcher Books. I’ll be editing over the summer, as well as starting to work on the next book. Review copies will go out early next year.

Are there plans to make Gemsigns into a TV series/movie in the future?

Not so far. I get asked this a lot, so I suppose I should explain that this is not something I or my publisher or agent can cause to happen. It depends entirely on whether a film or TV production company approaches me about acquiring the rights to adapt the book. I can then accept their offer or reject it; but I can’t cause an offer to be made. Whether I ever get one is in the lap of the gods, but since the book has only been out for three months and won’t be in the US for almost another year, and studios generally only get interested in adapting books when and if they become best sellers, I am not at all surprised not to have been made an offer. It’s early days.

What’s next for you as a writer? Do you plan to continue exploring humanity as a theme or do you have your sights set on other subjects?

I’ve got to finish writing the ®Evolution, then I’ll take stock. I’ve got a few ideas …

What do you enjoy doing when you’re not writing?

Having interesting conversations with smart people. Reading. Going to museums, galleries, and the theatre. Gardening. Hiking.

And finally, where can readers purchase the book and how do they get in contact with you?

In Jamaica it’s available at Bookophilia in Kingston (I believe they will order copies on request if they’re out of stock); other booksellers may or may not have ordered it, I don’t know. It’s available online from multiple websites based in the UK, Commonwealth and Europe including Amazon UK, where you can also purchase copies for Kindle. A good option for print copies is The Book Depository, which ships free to many countries worldwide including Jamaica (and which has it on sale as I write this).

I can be reached via the contact form on my website, www.stephaniesaulter.com. I’m also on Twitter as @scriptopus.

The answer to ‘why?’ is WHY NOT?

Here’s that post I wrote for the Jo Fletcher Books blog, reposted here:

WHY NOT? Crossing Cultures and Shifting Perspectives | Jo Fletcher Books

‘Why?’ The interviewer asked me, sounding intrigued but baffled. ‘Why, why did you want to write a book like this?’

I was appearing on Smile Jamaica, TVJ’s morning television show (think BBC Breakfast format), to talk about Gemsigns a day ahead of its Caribbean launch. What had started out as a much needed and long overdue two-week break to see family and friends was turning into something approaching a promotional tour; and this, or some version of it, was turning out to be the most commonly asked question.

Why do you write science fiction? people wanted to know. You’re from Jamaica – what does that kind of literature have to do with you? With us? Isn’t it a bit – well – odd for you to be writing about things like genetic engineering and social media and the future of humanity?

It wasn’t a negative reaction, exactly; people were genuinely perplexed. And once I explained why it’s my vehicle of choice, what it has to do with the kinds of stories I want to tell, and most importantly that while my Caribbean heritage hugely informs my thinking on issues of ethics, equality and access, I do not and will not consider it a constraint on the breadth of my interests or the extent of my ambition, they got it. And they got behind it. The support and pride were overwhelming. But the fact that so much explanation was so frequently needed really made me think about expectation, and limitation, and how severe the subtle, subconscious constraints we put upon ourselves can be.

I pointed out to another interviewer that no one expects a writer who is from, say, New York or London to write only about New York or London. Natives of the developed world – especially those who are most representative of its dominant hegemony, which is to say white, straight, well-educated and male – are granted automatic licence to think and write about whatever they damn well please. Their horizons are expected to be broad. It’s a telling irony that, even while celebrating the emergence of those from more marginalised backgrounds onto the same stage, the reflexive assumption is that their interests, their imagination, their sense of expertise and entitlement, ought somehow to stay confined within those narrower margins. That they – we – will be less capable of, and less interested in, exploring the same terrain.

But give credit to my people – put it to them in those terms, and boy does that worm turn. I could almost see the lightbulb going on over the heads of my questioners. They understood that not treating where you come from as a constraint is the difference between declaring equality, and practising it. So I’ve been thinking about perspective, about how even small shifts can completely alter the way the same events are perceived.

This is something I already knew, of course – I even talk about it in the opening paragraphs of Gemsigns – but this trip brought it home to me again. And not least for the vastly greater amount of attention, the huge difference in profile, that I enjoyed launching Gemsigns in Jamaica.

Can you imagine an unknown author, devoid of celebrity associations or the frisson of scandal, being interviewed about her debut novel on BBC Breakfast? Having the press release for its London launch event featured in the entertainment section of the Guardian or the Times? No, me neither. By contrast, the level of interest and passion and genuine excitement that Gemsigns generated in Jamaica was truly humbling. Their view was: this woman has already accomplished something amazing, something we can all be proud of. She already deserves our attention, our admiration, our support.

There’s perspective for you. Same event, different perception. Is one more correct than the other? I don’t think so. The Jamaican perception is as true for Jamaica as the UK perception is true for the UK. I’ve been privileged to experience them both, and to learn from them both. And what I’ve learned (again) is this: crossing boundaries, confounding expectations, is mind-expanding in and of itself. We who go from the small to the large and back again, from the margins to the centre of the page, cover more ground than those who sit within the borders of their inherited territory. The need to speak to and for different audiences makes us think about the nature of communication itself; makes us adept at telling our stories in ways that connect.

That may not explain why I wanted to write a book like this. But it explains – to me at least – how I was able to.

Roundups and reflections

I’m not entirely sure how the ten days since I got home from Jamaica have managed to be so hectic, but they have. I suspect it’s partly because the jet lag took longer to clear than usual – and that was probably because I was tired to begin with. The Jamaica trip was great, but not exactly restful. I have to say again, though, how honoured and humbled I am by the reception Gemsigns and I received – I genuinely did not expect to generate as much interest as we did. I’ve got another interview request from the trip sitting in my inbox as I write this, will get on to that next …

Speaking of interviews, and life being hectic, I’ve decided to organise them along with other media bits and pieces that are not specifically reviews under a ‘Press‘ tab, which now appears next to Reviews in the menu. I figure if I add things as they happen I won’t lose track (she said hopefully). I’ve also created a photo album from the Bookophilia launch, and Bookophilia’s album is here.

What else did I bring home from my old home? Lots of thoughts about how place of origin shapes expectations, and how much we learn from the shifting perspective of relocation, or dislocation … and how that altered outlook can be transmitted back, hopefully providing the place of origin with new perspectives on, and expectations of, itself. I talk about this far less cryptically in a blog post I’ve written for Jo Fletcher Books, which should go up on their site next week and which I will repost here when it does.

In the meantime (and speaking of being cryptic), do head over there to read this great post on secret languages from author Ian McDonald. It’s something I play around with myself in my next novel, Binary, and is a subject I find fascinating. Ian’s analysis of the codes of outsider culture is very smart in itself, and his use of Polari (once a secret gay argot) in the Everness series is just brilliant.

On the subject of codes (everything seems tangentially related to everything else in this post), I participated in a fascinating discussion yesterday on the use/over-use/mis-use of violence in fantasy, science fiction and horror. It was for a Skiffy and Fanty Show podcast, which should be posted in about a week; along with myself, fantasy author Brad Beaulieu and writer and editor Julia Rios were moderated by Shaun Duke. We got to talk about who we think does it well and who does it badly, gripe about how frequently it seems just to be a cover for lazy storytelling, and gasp in horror at some of the truly shocking things that writers have done with it, and readers have requested from it. Not that any of us think violence should be excluded from genre (or any) literature; it’s the way the consequences (or the lack thereof) of physical and sexual violence are handled that we found disturbing. It’s the way it codifies stereotypes and tropes, often around gender, in ways that are no less damaging for being repetitive and tedious. I’m always a bit uncertain about how I’m going to sound in these things, but this is one I’m really looking forward to hearing, and sharing.

TALLAWAH Ezine interview

Another interview from the Jamaica trip, this one with Tyrone Reid for TALLAWAH:

Out of This World: Fiction & Family

And that, folks, is it. I’m taking advantage of the free WiFi in the departure lounge at Montego Bay airport to post this; they’ll start pre-boarding any second now, and I’ll have to go offline. I’ve had a great time, and been really overwhelmed by the reception Gemsigns has received in the land of my birth. Thanks to everyone who’s been so interested and enthusiastic, so supportive and positive and kind. I’ll be back next year for Calabash, armed with Binary, and I hope to see you all again.

Susumba.com interview

Here’s that interview I did with Tanya Batson-Savage for Susumba.com:

Debut Novelist Stephanie Saulter Talks Facts & Fiction

Tanya was smart and probing, and I really enjoyed talking to her. She also came to the Bookophilia launch, and the interview is illustrated with photos from the night.

GEMSIGNS Jamaica: TV, print, online, in person

The Gemsigns local launch last night was a great success! Many thanks to the team at Bookophilia for the invitation, promotion and logistics; to The Wine Shop for the libations; to my wonderful brother Storm who did loads of organising and also got the word out to his extensive list, and my equally wonderful dad who provided equipment and setup; and of course to everyone who came. I saw lots of old friends, and met even more new ones. I read the prologue and first chapter, to an audience that told me to keep going when I suggested a wine break; discussed the themes and inspiration of the book; and answered some very smart questions. A wonderful audience, I hope to see them again for Binary, and am pleased to report that they very nearly bought all the books available on the night. I’m delighted for Bookophilia, who had a waiting list and so probably will be sold out over the next day or so. I’ll post pictures here when I can; a few are already up on the Facebook page.

In the meantime, here are links to some of the other cool stuff that’s happened this week. My spot on Wednesday morning television is here:
http://televisionjamaica.com/Programmes/SmileJamaica.aspx/Videos/27076

The launch and a description of the novel were also featured in Wednesday’s Daily Gleaner:

20130614-083616.jpg

… and Tanya Batson-Savage of Susumba.com posted this lovely intro to the book and invitation to the launch, and will be following up with a full interview soon. I’ve also had two other interview requests, will be fitting those in around travel over the next few days!

Smile Jamaica: Gemsigns is world literature

Came out of my first ever interview on live television to another great review of Gemsigns! Many thanks to Claudette Robinson, Neville Bell, Yendi Phillips and everyone else at TVJ for inviting me on to the Smile Jamaica morning magazine programme. I got to talk about Gemsigns, dispel the notion that SF isn’t really a Caribbean ‘thing’ by mentioning Karen Lord and Tobias Buckell, and plug tomorrow’s reading and launch at Bookophilia (6:30pm, 92 Hope Road, Kingston 6). They were charming and kind, and I think it went really well. I’m told the clip should be online in a day or two, I’ll post the link here if and when.

Back at my sister’s house, in amongst the congratulatory texts and tweets, came a tweeted link from Abhinav Jain, who has written a phenomenal review under his Shadowhawk persona over at The Founding Fields. I knew he liked the book, but wow. And I love – love – the fact that it doesn’t seem to matter where people are in the world; Dubai or downtown Kingston, Canberra or Canada. Gemsigns connects.

GEMSIGNS Jamaica

I’ve been back in Jamaica for a full 24 hours now, and while the jet-lag doesn’t feel markedly diminished yet I can no longer cite travel as a reason for online absentia. Plus I’ve just had my first Caribbean plunge in a year and a half, and I’m now in hammock with iPad, and it seemed cruel not to share.

Besides, things are happening. This time next week I’ll be at Bookophilia in Kingston for the Jamaican launch of Gemsigns, and I’m really looking forward to it. I’ll do a reading, there’ll be a discussion and/or Q&A session, and of course I’ll sign all the books people want. My rather amazing brother Storm has worked with the team at Bookophilia to take care of pretty much all the arrangements, including reaching out to the press; it feels like neither I nor Jo Fletcher Books have had to lift much of a finger. It made me realise how unaccustomed I am to other people taking care of things; that’s usually my job. It’s a lovely feeling (if a little odd) and I’m very grateful. It’s going to be a great event (with wine!), and I’m hoping lots of people will come. It also looks like there might be some other cool press stuff while I’m here; nothing confirmed yet so I can’t say, but watch this space. (And Twitter where I’m @scriptopus, and my Facebook author page).

So I’m on holiday but not idle … Though if you’ll excuse me a moment … I do need to adjust this hammock.

(P.S. Also – new review! Civilian Reader has said very nice things about Gemsigns.)

  • I love stories.
    My new novel, Sacred, is all about them. Publication info will be posted as soon as I have it.

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