Claire King

Author

Posts Tagged ‘Thinking’

Back to Life

Posted on: August 15th, 2016 by Claire - 2 Comments

It’s been a whirlwind few weeks as Everything Love Is made its way out into the world. The hardback, ebook and audio CD are now available, and I’ve been whizzing around the country doing a few events to mark the occasion as well as keeping all my other balls up in the air.

I’m not doing a grand tour, of course, but have been fortunate enough to visit bookshops in places that are special to me, where people that are particularly important to me might be able to come along. What makes these kinds of events is the people who are there on the day – the welcoming booksellers who do their best to showcase your book and your event, and all the people who come along to have a chat and buy a book.  It was so lovely to have such a brilliant turn out over the last few weeks, from new friends and neighbours here in Gloucestershire, to old friends, neighbours and even school teachers in Yorkshire and everyone in between. At every event there were also lovely people I’d ‘met’ on twitter and have been chatting to about bookish things for years, who I finally got to meet face to face, as well as curious passing book-lovers willing to give my writing a try (THANK YOU!). Thank you so much to everyone who made the effort to come and support me, it was amazing to see you all. Special thanks also to Stroud Bookshop and The Little Ripon Bookshop who made so much effort setting things up. I’ll be doing one last Hurrah in Suffolk in the autumn so do stay tuned for more details on my events page.

I feel I can let go a little now my book has its wings. The first few reviews for Everything Love Is are online and are (JOY!) good. What a relief. There was also an excellent write-up in the Yorkshire Post, which said, “Really good literary fiction is a difficult trick to pull off…but Claire King has succeeded magnificently.” There’s not much else I can do at my end to help this book along at this stage, and I have already made quite a lot of noise on Twitter and Facebook, in fact you’re probably fed up of hearing me bang on by now. However, my books are what are fondly known as ‘word-of-mouth’ books, certainly that’s how The Night Rainbow grew its readership, and so if you’ve read Everything Love Is and feel you could share your thoughts with others by leaving a review I would be very grateful indeed. While you are always going to get the best service, book chat and experience in your local bookshop there are those people who don’t have that option and it helps them choose wisely where they don’t have a lovely Anna or Gill to help out. I also hope that some people read reviews online and then go and shop local…

By the way, Gill, at Little Ripon Bookshop suggests you get a book buddy to read Everything Love Is with, because there will be things you want to discuss afterwards that (hopefully) you won’t find in online reviews. I think that’s a excellent idea. We had a great and rather surprising little chat in Ripon about one plot aspect she wasn’t sure about… I’m also always more than happy to chat to reading groups, and to answer questions sent via the contact page here, so do feel free to give me a shout.

We are already halfway through the summer holidays. In three weeks time my girls will be back at school and I can’t believe how fast it’s gone. The summer holidays have felt so short this year now we are back in England and especially since I’ve been so busy. They were ten weeks long in France, and one of the things we gave up to move back here was our ability to take an extended summer break and enjoy the time together. The change has been worth it, but how I re-apportion my time is still taking a bit of getting used to.

The day-job calls. The pull of the next novel is strong. My kids want me to take them swimming.

In 2010, in my very first blog post – It’s Wrangly –  I talked about how I manage conflicting priorities. What I wrote then is still relevant two books and six years later. I’m feeling pretty stretched right now, so I’m going to take my own advice, switch off social media for a while, and split my time over the next couple of weeks between just three priorities – my family, my day job and getting some new writing down on paper.

I’ll be back again in September and keen to catch up. Until then, I hope you enjoy the rest of the summer.

Child leading donkey

Other posts on this topic you might like:

Gone Fishing

Gone Fishing Again

Prepare for Re-entry

Gone Fishing

Posted on: September 16th, 2010 by Claire - 11 Comments

I realised today that most of the thinking that went into formulating the plot and characters of my last novel took place years ago, before my brain was hijacked by small people (children, not pixies). In the Before Time I would walk in the mountains for miles and miles every day, letting ideas float in and out, picking up a few of them and playing with them as I walked. I would usually get home with a couple of well developed ideas or images as well as a few random phrases or questions to jot down and pick up later.

I finally sat down to write the novel at the end of last year. I wrote when the children were sleeping (by which time my brain was usually quite frazzled), and on trains on the way to my day job (when I was also trying to get my head around the complicated problems I had to help people tackle when I got there). I was lucky to average a quality hour of writing a day. But as you will know, the hours quickly add up. And all that thinking time and note taking and upfront preparation was a great springboard into the first draft.

This summer, with the submission packages posted and the waiting game begun, I started to think about my next novel. As per my recent routine I used the kids sleeping time (in the summer holidays, this is slim pickings indeed) but despite my very scenic garret my thoughts seemed hemmed in. Where was the spark of creativity?  I decided that I was just too tired by the time the house went quiet. I should try during the day. Big mistake (I already knew this, I blogged about it here). I found myself actually using the phrase ‘I can’t hear myself think!’

Thank goodness, then, for ‘La rentrée des classes’. This month my youngest started école maternelle. The first thing I did with my rediscovered me-time wasn’t sit down to write solidly all morning, but to take my dog yomps back up with a vengeance. That’s an hour an a half, four times a week, with no-one to talk to, just tromping around the scenery and thinking thoughts. And oh, the thoughts you can think when no-one needs your urgent attention.

I had forgotten how much my brain needed airing. All of this exercise and time to think is doing me and Novel #2 the power of good.

I do know I’m lucky to have the mountains to yomp in, and a sporadic day job that allows me my yomping time. So I’m curious, how do you fit it in? Do you have distinct thinking time when you are not actually putting pen to  paper? How does it work for you?

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