Archive for category The time Traveller’ sWife

Carol’s black dress – deleted scene

This is a scene I wanted to include in My Memories of a Future Life. Briefly, the narrator is a musician who is injured, and is clinging to the hope that rest will cure her. In the early part of the novel she is making bargains with fate—if she rests, the universe will give her back her playing and her life.

I didn’t want to delete this from the book, but I had other scenes that made the same point. When I’m in final revisions I cut ruthlessly. I frequently ditch material that is perfectly good, and that includes scenes that I’m in love with. It takes discipline and soul-searching, but by that stage the story has a will of its own that overrides my ego. It doesn’t listen to me wail that I liked a scene. It is ruled by an overall rhythm of event, event, event; onwards, onwards, onwards. If a scene circles over already trodden ground, something must go.

So this is a scene I cut reluctantly. I liked its simplicity, the tiny slice it showed of a musician’s life and the totemic responsibility Carol put into one garment. In real life it was inspired by a family heirloom—another tug for the heartstrings, although that matters to no one but me. Even though it didn’t make it to the page, I like to think she still did it, off screen in the moments we didn’t see.

~~*~~

The house was quiet. On the coat rack next to the door was a dress in dry-cleaner’s wrappers. A Post-it note was stuck to the cellophane, scrawled with Jerry’s flamboyant script.

Picked this up for you. The dry cleaners were about to give it to Oxfam.

The dress was black velvet, three-quarter length. A performance dress. Classical musicians have a bizarre working wardrobe; you wear what you like for rehearsals, but performances demand formal wear. For the women it had to be black, with a modest neckline, a skirt at least nine inches below the knee. It was a constant battle to find clothes that obeyed those rules and weren’t funereal.

I’d found this dress in Camden Lock market three weeks ago. I wouldn’t have been there if I’d been playing, but I was out roaming London on another tour of nothing. The dress was on a rail between pseudo-Victorian nightgowns and mangy fur tippets. It was unloved—the seam split on one side; the other side fastened only by ancient press studs which left an alarming glimpse of flesh underneath. But the other seams were tough enough for a performance. The velvet was silk and the pile so fine it hung from my shoulders like liquid. I took it to the cleaners and discussed repairing it and putting in a zip. They warned me it would take a few weeks. That was fine, I said.

I left it there. It would count the days for me. I imagined picking it up on my way back from the hospital and carrying it over the threshold. I’d try it on; we’d nod at each other in the mirror. New start.

Now I didn’t even lift the cellophane to see if they’d done a good job. I threw it straight in the wardrobe and shut the door.

Thanks for the pic doctoring Terre Britton at The Creative Flux/Terrabyte.

Find the novel here. Read the first page here. Try the page 99 test here.

Want a signed copy? This way.

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‘Ambitious and mostly enthralling – reminded me at times of Robert Silverberg’

Rather excited about this review from Don DaMassa’s site Critical Mass. Interestingly he classed it as fantasy, not just ‘fiction’ – but if he’s comparing it to Silverberg I don’t mind!

‘The theme of reincarnation is not among my favorites, either in fantasy or in horror. I’m not sure why that is, probably because the mechanism seems totally random and implausible, but I have no problem with other random and sometimes implausible speculations. Given the existence of reincarnation, however, we have some interesting situations for exploring human character and it’s not surprising that most reincarnation novels are very much involved with psychology rather than overt action, which is the case here as well. The author turns the idea on its head a bit here. The protagonist doesn’t remember a past life, she recognizes that she is the past life of something who has yet to be born. The novel is almost entirely inner directed, as the protagonist suffers an injury which prevents her from playing the music that is the focus of her life, forcing her to seek new anchors for her thoughts and ambitions.  An ambitious and mostly enthralling novel that reminded me at times of Robert Silverberg’s Dying Inside.  1022/11′

 

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Coming on Saturday: video and podcast with Joanna Penn

This Saturday, October 1 if scheduling works according to plan, I’m guesting at The Creative Penn.  In glorious grainy Skype video, you’ll be able to see me scrunching my writerly brow as Joanna – a thriller writer – quizzes me about writing literary novels and developing a literary style. If TV on your monitor is too weird, the post will also be available as more portable text and audio.

I’ve also been out and about on other websites. You might have already seen some of these, but as this is the book’s official online home it seems incomplete not to mention them.

A Journey of Souls : Why Novels Tell The Deepest Truth – this post at Women Writers was inspired by your feedback while the book was releasing. For which – thank you.

My book is like a TARDIS – or bigger on the inside than the out. Or the impossible job of squashing 100,000 words into a few paragraphs for a blurb, as explained in my monthly column on Do Authors Dream of Electric Books.

The Making Of… Really meaty questions about the novel, its themes and the choices I made in the writing. As explained to uber-editor fiction vixen Victoria Mixon.

My Memories of a Future Life was also featured on this post by Matt Kelland, where he was very complimentary but ticked me off for chopping the book in four. Point taken,Matt; not everyone appreciated the episode format and the novel is now available in one handy shot on Kindle.

I have to thank Gary Swaby for honouring me with the first author interview ever to feature on his newly-minted blog. And finally, I have to thank my husband, the writer Dave Morris. Not because I’ve become Oscarishly soppy (although he does say some nice things in this post), but because he reveals how if I’d followed his advice and that of most editors who saw the book, My Memories of a Future Life would have been a genre potboiler.

The paperback is now on Amazon.com and they’ve even been nice enough to discount it. I don’t know how long this will last but you can get the 366-page paperback at USD$10.76, saving more than USD$4.

The price of the individual episodes will stay at the launch offer of 0.99c until 15 October, and will then go to their full price of USD$2.99. They’ll always be available, but if you want to complete your collection at the launch price, hie on over to your Amazon of choice (UK, DE, rest of world) now.

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Coming Monday… the last episode AND The Making Of…

The finale episode, The Storm, is out on Monday. To coincide with its release I’m being grilled by the inimitable, formidable and flamboyantly wondrous Victoria Mixon, writer and editor. Through a ghostly cross-Atlantic splice she stuck me in the interview chair and asked me probing questions about the stories behind the story. No spoilers, though – so if you haven’t caught up you can read without fear of unsuitable premonitions.

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Like Ruby – Episode 3 nearly here

‘Compelling, well told and hugely entertaining’

‘Beautiful, simple, evocative’

‘Delves into the dangerous powers of mind over matter’

‘Part 2 was even better than part 1’ – Andrew Rollings, Facebook

‘Is it the 12th yet?’ Rebecca Allan, Facebook

‘What do I have to do to get parts 3 and 4 NOW?!’ Matt Kelland, Facebook

Tomorrow. Or just a few ticks after midnight, you can download episode 3, Like Ruby.

You can find episode 1 here, episode 2 here and you can try the first four chapters on a free audio here

 

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Rachmaninov and Ruin – episode 2 up tomorrow

Written like a poet, with the depth of a well-glazed canvas Terre Britton on Twitter

Damn you can write well!! Didn’t look up once on my hour-long bus ride home! Amanda Glass-Watson, Facebook

I ended up reading it through in one sitting and found myself wanting immediately to know what happened next upon reaching the end of the episode. Andrew Rollings, Amazon review

Roll on September 5 and Episode #2 Matt Kelland, Amazon review

It’s been a heady week, letting my book fend for itself in the wilds at long last. And not a little nail-biting. I can’t tell you how delighted I am by the postive vibes you’ve been sending me, in comments, tweets, blog mentions, emails and reviews. Thank you.

My idea to release the novel as four episodes attracted the attention of a publisher… because they’d been cooking up the same idea. We had a good laugh about great minds thinking alike and decided to celebrate with a joint post on their blog. My novel also had a spot on Dorothy Dreyer’s blog We Do Write, where she asked about my inspirations, what part of the writing was easiest and what was hardest.

So Episode 2, Rachmaninov and Ruin, is limbering up for release on Amazon at midnight tonight. You can find episode 1 here and you can try the first four chapters on a free audio here

Have fun, and wear your white gloves

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The Red Season

Part of the fun of releasing My Memories of a Future Life as a series is creating a title for each episode. And so, with one week to go, it’s time to reveal the title of episode 1:

The Red Season.

Available August 30

 

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I don’t believe in reincarnation

I don’t believe in reincarnation. I’ve spent my whole life making up entire worlds, knowing exactly where they came from and knowing how to make other people believe them – myself included.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t see the phenomenon of reincarnation as a wonder. Certainly it is. It is an unlocking of the imagination, the fabled 90 percent of our incredible brains that we can’t explain, that lies unused and gives us immense capacities for art, music, love, endeavours like going to the moon, harming each other (unfortunately), healing each other.

Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveller’s Wife, says she doesn’t believe in the supernatural, but she believes it makes great stories. Reincarnation is one of the ways we try to understand this unkillable sense that we all contain something far more than what is already explained. And I think that makes terrific stories.

 

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