Saturday, 28 January 2012

DRAGONCATS AND KINDLES by Enid Richemont

TWICE TIMES DANGER Enid Richemont



Here's my latest ebook, originally published by Walker Books. It's a thriller, involving two girls who are doubles, a crazy mongrel called Dracula, a fashion designer who's in deep trouble - and some very scary people. The book's set in West Cornwall, in the little coves and inlets around St Just.






To celebrate Chinese New Year - the Year of the Dragon - here are the opening lines of DRAGONCAT, my as-yet unpublished junior novel about a kitten born with extra flaps of skin under its front paws which enable it to glide (a bit like a flying squirrel). The story takes place in and around a small Chinese supermarket in North London.



The kittens were born in a cardboard box.
Ma showed them to Wing-Yu after breakfast.
Wing-Yu tried to pick one up, but Ma wouldn't let him. "They're much too new," said Ma.
"You let me hold Mei-Ling," grumbled Wing-Yu.
"Mei-Ling was your sister,' said Ma. "Not the same thing."
Wing-Yu noticed the dried garlic husks and the needles of straw stuck in Lulu's black fur. He said, "I could have made Lulu a proper bed."
"She wouldn't have used it." Ma smiled. "Mother cats have to choose. Lulu chose the garlic box. She must have liked the smell."

Wing-Yu ran his fingers along Lulu's back. She was lying on her side under a jumble of fur. There were black bits and white bits and speckled brown and ginger bits. Wing-Yu touched them, trying to sort them all out.
He asked Ma, "How many babies has she got?" He could hear Mei-Ling starting to yell again.
"Five," said Ma, already moving away.
Wing-Yu was glad Ma hadn't had five babies. One howling sister was enough for him.

I was given a Kindle for Christmas, and I've been reading GREAT EXPECTATIONS on it, after watching the recent TV film. On meeting Miss Havisham for the first time in the original text, I wanted to scream at the producer: but she's old! Old and decaying - read the book!! Since then I've been pondering on Miss Havisham. I love Dickens's image of her sitting for decades in her yellowing wedding dress, and the cobwebbed wedding cake on the long table, and the insects (shudder!) but a more prosaic and practical me has begun asking things like: did she take it off to go to bed? And how did she manage the loo? She's described as frail, and wedding dresses aren't the most practical of garments, but no one seemed to be on hand to help her physically. Was Pip the only person to walk her round and round that immense table? But look - here I am, deeply concerned about an imaginary person. This is what good writing does (and I haven't yet finished the book).

On the Kindle itself - using it still feels strange. Real books aren't flat, like that - it's so flat it almost feels convex. It's great to read at breakfast. Paperbacks are notorious for springy pages, and if you're reading with a coffee in one hand, the Kindle's good. It's also good for loo reading, but a bit losable for bed reading, but then mine hasn't yet acquired a cover, so it's just a flat, anonymous rectangle. I'll report back when I've acquired some appropriate accessories.

Before I finish, I must mention Vigo. Vigo's the grandchild of an author friend. He's three years old, and has cerebral palsy. He'd love to be able to walk, run and play football, and a specialist operation in America could make some of that possible, but it costs. His family's trying to raise enough money to fund it, and to quote Mr Tesco - every little helps. If you'd like to learn more, go to: http://www.vigoswishtowalk.co.uk 

Enid Richemont  www. enidrichemont.org.uk  Follow me on Twitter @enidrichemont

2 comments:

madwippitt said...

The Kindle grows better with use. It is odd at first, but you do get used to it!

Dennis Hamley said...

Enid, I was fascinated by your comments on Miss Havisham. Yes, how indeed does she go to the loo in that wedding dress? Perhaps Estella helps her. I think we should be told. But it made me think of other points in Great Expectations and, following from that, the whole question of what first-person narratives actually ARE. What does the author think they are? How did the author envisage them being produced by a fictional character? Are they supposed to be actually written by the narrator? Are they supposed to be dictated to a convenient and very overworked typist? Are they put together by a ghost writer? Are they supposed to be transcribed from a tape-recorder (in this case a Victorian model)? I came to this question through the remark of a literary critic writing about Dickens. He asked why it is that, when we never see Pip even lift up a pen throughout the whole novel, the only thing we can say with absolute confidence about him is that he is a suoperlative novelist?

Think about it. It's worried me for years - and about every other first-person narrative, including my own because I often use the convention.