Wednesday, 21 November 2012

TELLING THE SEA by Pauline Fisk


'Telling the Sea' by Pauline Fisk
Three weeks ago I went down to Pembrokeshire complete with film crew to make a film about my writing life in general, and one book in particular – ‘Telling the Sea.’ We moved into the same cottage in which the book was set, and spent two and a half days filming it and its surroundings, which included boggy marshland, pot-holed tracks, muddy cliff-paths and beaches that might be fabulous in the summer - and relatively easy to pick a way down to - but were perilously inaccessible in November at the end of a rainy summer. 

Even so, we managed to get down to them [though it has to be admitted that the film crew weren’t quite as healthy by the end of the shoot as they were when it began] and the results were worth it. Looking at the footage afterwards, I was thrilled by the view it presented of a wild and rugged coastline faced with remorselessly grey days - which is exactly how Nona, the heroine of ‘Telling the Sea’, experienced it.

'Telling the Sea’ is the story of Nona and her family, who escape to the wild Welsh coast in the hope of hiding from abusive Uncle Brady, who beats Mum up. Here in a cottage which I know well and love [it's always been an escape for my family too - though more of the holiday sort], Nona tries to save her mum and hold the family together. She's helped and hindered in equal measure by a rag-bag collection of new friends, but the only one she  entrusts her secrets to is the sea - which ends up being a big mistake.  

Pembrokeshire is a place that’s embedded in my heart, especially the area between Fishguard and Newport.  I chose to write about it at a time when my publishers expected me to write something else, and I think I did that because it was my way of making that very special place my own. 

Much was said at the time of publication about the way the sea became a character in the book. Certainly the footage shot by R & A Collaborations brings it to life. But then I’ve always had a special feeling for the sea. Perhaps it comes from my mother’s Guernsey roots and the fact that my grandfather, like Nona, was lured by the sea into a sense of false security - which in his case came unstuck when he escaped the island during the Second World War and came to the UK as a refugee. 

Our final day in Pembrokeshire was spent filming inside the cottage where Nona's mother’s downward spiral into despair and depression was dramatically played out. After everything else was done, I sat at the kitchen table  [where I’ve sat so many times before, often with my computer for company] with an interviewer, and we talked about my life as an author and the writing of ‘Telling the Sea.’ 

I hope you’ll be able to see the film soon.  I hope I’ll be able to see it soon – AND the finished book. I’d intended this AE slot to mark its launch in e-book format, but I’m sure the authors among you will understand my seizing the chance of one final edit.  How often, after all, do we get this chance?  

Jibes get made from time to time about the ebook market being flooded with sub-standard work.  Well, I don't buy that, not least because the chance is there for authors to republish their work to a higher standard - and that’s what this final brush-down of my text is aiming to achieve. 

I hope, too, that you’ll like the cover, which I’ve featured above. And if you enjoy ‘Telling the Sea’ I hope you’ll pass on the word it [not least on Amazon, where the reviews really count]. You'll hear all about it once the book is out.  Same too with the film. News about them, along with links, will be all over Facebook/my website/Twitter/anywhere else where I regularly write. The book will be out in time for Christmas, I can promise you that, ready to download on the beautiful new Kindle Fire. 

On the subject of which - I went out and bought it the first day it was for sale, and I LOVE my new Kindle Fire.  Dare I admit that I found the old Kindle rectangular, flat and monotonously grey?  Well the new one is fabulous.  It’s transformed my reading experience. ‘Midnight Blue’ looks great, its stunning blue cover no longer subdued into greyscale.  And the vibrant cover of ‘Telling the Sea’ looks great too - so keep an eye out for it over the next few weeks.


SOME REVIEWS FOR ‘TELLING THE SEA’

‘A tough book with a moving story which doesn’t pull its punches abut the strange dynamics of family life.  This is high quality writing full of excitement and atmosphere and not afraid to tackle difficult issues.’  The Western Mail 
'A teenage novel set in the real world with real characters of strength and depth... A powerful story of coming through, with no punches pulled.' The Daily Mail.
'A gripping novel, hard to put down.’ The Children’s Book Foundation
'A superb novel which deserves a place in school libraries and book boxes.The School Librarian.  

PAULINE FISK IS CHANCELLOR OF THE CHILDREN’S UNIVERSITY OF SHROPSHIRE



4 comments:

Lydia Bennet said...

the Pen Caer peninsula on the pembs coast path was very important to me for a long time Paulne. Fishguard was our nearest 'big town'! The sea is at the heart of most of my plays, some of my poetry, and my crime novel which is half my qualification for being in AE! I live near it and feel claustrophobic away from it. Good luck with the novel, and your ongoing relationship with the area and the sea.

Pauline Fisk said...

What a nice introduction to your work. It's now getting on for forty years since I first went down there and I can't say how much it means to me. And this book as well. It's wonderful to be reading through it again. Sometimes revisiting old work can be a disappointing business - but not this time.

madwippitt said...

I haven't got a Kindle Fire, but do love that stunning cover for Midnight Blue!
And as far as jibes at ebooks are concerned, there is a vast amount of rubbish out there in paper format too, but which anti-ebookists seem to overlook!

julia jones said...

Look forward to the book - and the film as well. Keep us posted, won't you